Disagreement and Hate
The Difference Between Disagreement and Hate
Rejection of Bush is based on policy, not politics
by Byron Williams
This may not come as a surprise, but I have received a plethora of e-mails accusing me of hating President Bush.
First, I hate no one. Second, I don't know President Bush, but he appears to be an affable individual. After all, any person whose favorite baseball player is Willie Mays cannot be all bad.
However, if hate is a loose euphemism for my profound disagreements with the president's policies the argument may have merit.
As a disciple of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, I do believe there are instances where military action may be warranted. I supported, as did many Americans, the president's action in Afghanistan post 9/11.
It was Niebuhr who greatly answered my moral uncertainty of America's use of force against Afghanistan when he wrote: "Whatever may be the moral ambiguities of the so-called democratic nations, and however serious may their failure to conform perfectly to their democratic ideals, it is sheer moral perversity to equate the inconsistencies of a democratic civilization with the brutalities which modern tyrannical states practice."
But Iraq was a different matter that took a serious departure from what I believe to be fundamentally American.
It is no longer debatable whether or not the president was wrong on the central notions for going to war. There were no WMDs.
There was no link between Saddam and al-Qaida.
In December 2002, at the height of the conflict in Afghanistan, the administration was already ordering Gen. Tommy Franks to shift resources in preparation for war.
I cannot think of a greater error in foreign policy rationale in U.S. history. Using flawed reasoning, we invaded and occupied a foreign country.
It is misleading to opine that the senators who voted for war had the same intelligence as the president. The President of the United States has access to intelligence that is not shared with the Senate. Moreover, the decision to go to war rests solely with the president.
The case for war was wrong, and the plan to win the peace remains insufficient.
Furthering my disagreements with this administration is the use of propaganda that morphs nationalism into patriotism. Historically, the "you're either with us or against us" rhetoric has been a favorite of dictators and despots alike.
Once the war commenced, the president's surrogates told us that we should not question the president and to do so was unpatriotic. Why? Should war be the asterisks we place by freedom of speech?
To follow that line of thinking is to suggest to Thomas Jefferson that he sit on his hands in deafening silence. It would further suggest that it was Vietnam protestors, and not policies, that prevented Lyndon Johnson from seeking re-election in 1968.
Meanwhile, we have a president who bears no responsibility.
During the second debate, citizen Linda Grabel simply asked: "Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it." Sadly, the president could only think of one.
Supporters of the president like to stress that should he acquiesce and answer such a question, Democrats would use it against him for political purposes. Sure they would, but I believe the American people have a successful history of distinguishing authentic leadership from politics.
My disagreements with the policies by the current administration are not based on party affiliation. I could not support any president, regardless of party, who was guilty of the infractions that have occurred on this administration's watch.
It is the opinion of this writer that in order to support the president, one must place being a Republican above being an American.
Byron Williams writes a weekly political/social commentary at Byronspeaks.com. Byron serves as pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, California.
© 2004 Byron Speaks.Com