What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Please Don't Send Me a Bumper Sticker, But...

Dear Rush,

As a liberal I guess I'm not supposed to listen to your show. But during my lunch half hour I find that the other radio is nothing but crappy top 40 music and commercials. So I find myself sitting in my classroom or car with the radio turned to the talk radio station with a perpetual sneer on my face. Mostly saying things like, "No, no, no." Or, "You're such a jerk." or perhaps making hand gestures to the radio that in my solitude are only seen by myself and God, who takes that moment to remind me that I'm a nice person and shouldn't be making these gestures and to pity you, Rush, instead. So I end up pitying you.

But every now and then, like today, I do something that, as a liberal, I really shouldn't be doing and that is, agreeing with you. Yes, Rush, I sometimes agree with what you say. I may not agree with the reasoning behind it or the way you say it, or even the implications, but I agree with probably 20% of the words that come out of your mouth. For instance, when you said that Howard Dean was the last bastion of passion and purpose in the Democratic party, and when he dropped out we had lost our chance to win the election, I sort of had to hang my head and agree with you. You said something the other day that I also found myself going "Dang it, he's right." I can't remember what it was. Probably, "Ice cream is really good," or "Puppies are cute" or something like that. Today as I was listening to you, Rush and disagreeing with everything you were saying, you eventually said something that I agreed with. What you said in your trademark glottal slurp that sounds like Kermit the frog's older, fatter brother chasing down a Route 44, was this (I couldn't find the transcript online, so this is a paraphrase):

These liberals, these people on the left who blame America first say that Iraq is an unjust war. Of course they think every war is an unjust war. These people are so liberal that even mainstream Democrats want to distance themselves from this fringe left group. Mainstream liberals aren't the one's out there with Cindy Sheehan. Now, there are some former Democrat office holders out there in Crawford, Texas, but there aren't any current senators or congressmen out there. And why? Because they would like to distance themselves. This fringe left says that it is unjust because those in the senate and congress don't have sons or daughters fighting in Iraq. They say that if George Bush thought that dying for this cause was so important why aren't his daughters out there doing something for the war, and volunteering for the war. First of all, there are men and women in office who have kids in Iraq, it's not many but some. But to say that they should be signing their children up for war? It's volunteer. Cindy Sheehan's son volunteered, there is no draft. George Bush can't make anyone volunteer. [And then you went back to being a tool.] And what Sheehan is doing out there in Crawford is a complete disgrace [you may have said "dishonorable" or "disservice"]to her son's memory and service to this country.

(The part in italics is the part I agreed with, but I wanted to put it in context. I think I got most of it right, or at least got the basic gist. I apologize if I misrepresent what was said.)

First of all, I think most true liberals and even office holding Democrats feel that this is an unjust war and that we've never been dealt a true representation of why we went in the first place. I even have a student in one of my classes who thinks we went for oil, an idea he got from his conservative father. But, he thinks that this is a good thing and can't understand that with all this control over the Iraqi oil why gas prices are rocketing. I can't explain, because I'm not an economist. Even many of those who consider themselves conservatives would agree that we haven't been given a real reason for being there in the first place. One part of the show that I left out was when you said that we can't leave now because of the rampant terrorism that exists in Iraq now. I agree with this also, but would like to point out that under Saddam's regime, while he was one of many horrible dictators in the world, he kept the kind of terrorism that destroyed the twin towers out of his country. My point to all of this is that I don't think that there is any fringe, uber-liberal part of the Democratic base. I think any true liberal would realize that the war shouldn't have happened. Not that I think we should abandon the people of Iraq at this point, but I think liberals and many conservatives simply are having some serious 20/20 hindsight.

Second, I'm getting sick of hearing people complain that liberals "blame" America and hate America. If any liberal hated America why would we work so hard to try and change things. Why would liberals walk the streets in protest, risking certain criticism and possible violence set upon them? I disagree with Michael Moore on a lot of things, (more on that later) but why would he risk all that he did and put so much into his work if he hated the very place he is trying to make better. Movies like Moore's are certainly not sure fire blockbusters, so if you think it's for the money, ask any production company if Moore was someone they wanted publicity from and you'd have a tough time finding a yes. Liberals feel like we should be accountable for ourselves first. Just like I love myself, if something is going wrong I'm probably going to wonder what I could do or change to fix the problem before I go blaming others. It's very juvenile to go blaming and creating scapegoats, which is what it seems the right like to do. Ironically, it's a very Christ-like philosophy to find and remove the plank in your own eye than to try and remove your brother's speck.

Finally, Rush, I did agree with your assertion that it is ludicrous to ask senators or congressmen or even Bush himself to send their own children to Iraq for the simple fact that it isn't their decision to make. In his movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore approached representatives outside the capital giving them literature, seemingly trying to recruit their children for the service. This was my least favorite part of the movie and did not support Moore's point in any reasonable way. I know there are many people who thought the whole movie was a sham, and to those people I would say to do some more research. (It is my understanding that Moore twisted one or two truths or took some things out of context, but no fact can be refuted.)I put myself in the position of someone being asked by Moore about this and decided that I would take the literature and say that I would give it to my kid, even if I knew full well that my son or daughter wouldn't want to go to war.

When it comes to Cindy Sheehan, Rush, I don't agree with you. I don't think that she is contaminating the memory or service of her son at all. Let's just say for arguments sake that we shouldn't have gone over there. Let's imagine a war that was unjust and was wiping out soldier after soldier and while it would be very difficult to leave, the mothers and fathers of the dead can't shake the feeling that these young men and women are dying for nothing. Do we then go in there with the attitude that we must make it about something, simply to honor the dead? All the while we are only creating more dead. It only makes sense that this woman wants some answers from a man who she feels sent her son to his grave for an unknown reason. If her son truly died for a noble cause, she wants to know what Bush feels the cause was. If he didn't she wants some explanation.

I'm racked with this question, Rush of should Bush see Sheehan? Should he let her in the ranch and sit down with her and allow her to ask him questions in a secure environment with cup of coffee and smile? On the one hand you could assume that her motives are simply selfish and she only wants to "catch" President Bush in a sling so that she can exploit her cause and further dishonor the President. If this is her motive I certainly understand Bush's reluctance to meet with her. But, it seems that he would give this poor woman who has been through so much and has given so much of herself to speak with him the benefit of the doubt by acting like any other civil person and say, "Okay, you've waited long enough. Come on in and let's talk." If then, it is true that all she wanted was to lambast the President and poor guilt over him, I would agree that she was in the wrong. But as the president, the highest office in the country, I would hope that we elected a person who would be able to answer her irrational ranting and name-calling and blaming in a compassionate, diplomatic, straightforward and truthful way. But, we all know why he doesn't let her in. It's for the same reason that he screened the attendees to his town-hall meetings during his re-election campaign. If he looks bad as the guy who won't let a grieving mother interrupt his vacation for a little chat, how bad is he going to look as the President who couldn't answer her questions, fumbled around with logic and proved her point for her without opening his mouth? We all know that's what would happen if he were to meet with Sheehan. He knows that she'd come across as getting one over on him whether she is in the right or not. He's a diplomatic train wreck at the end of the day and he knows it. So, to answer the question that started this paragraph, no, Bush should not meet with Sheehan if he knows what's good for him.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on some of the things that were said in your show today. I hope you weren't too offended that I called you Kermit the Frog's older, fatter brother. You know I only meant that in the kindest of ways. Hey, I could certainly use to cut a few pounds myself. Why don't we do it together, Rush. Meet me for racquetball once a week? Then we'll go get a salad or maybe we'll do the Jared thing and walk to Subway afterward. We'll talk politics, sports, whatever you want. I'm confident you're not nearly the ass that you seem on the air. It's all for ratings, right? Right?

Sincerely, Kyle Martin


J.D. Tatum said...

Bravo. Excellent post.

Jason said...

I think the longest I've ever been able to listen to Rush without turning the channel in disgust is 20 minutes. I try him out every now and then, but it doesn't take long for him to completely wish I didn't have ears.

I try the same thing with Sean Hannity and Michael Savage. I generally have more success with Hannity, and much less with Savage.

Also, I've grown somewhat tired of many of the liberal radio talk show hosts. It's basically the same style and tactics, the only difference being that I usually agree with their points. They all still attack the other side, even when the attack may be unwarrented or exaggerated. They both seem to despise everything the other side says and does, even if it's good. They both look for every opporunity to drag the other side through the mud, and they are rarely self-reflective or self-critical.

When I listen to talk radio, I've lately stuck to sports talk and anything on NPR (weekdays; their weekend shows are unbearable).

About Sheehan, I think she is taking this a bit far. I sympathize with her, and I agree with her, but when I heard she released a statement about the recent Isreali withdraw from Gaza, I began to question whether she had lost her focus. I think she, by way of the media, has turned this whole thing into a political statement and political struggle. In my opinion, it shouldn't be that. It should simply be about a grieving mother wanting answers about her son's death. It looks to me as if that is no longer the point.

Nathan Bruhn said...

You are now officially insane. Congratulations.

marcus said...

wow, kyle. for some reason, i never pegged you as a liberal. i don't know why not. it makes sense. and now that i know this, i won't hold it against you. you're still a great guy.

i wanted to take some time to share my opinions with you, but i knew my comment would wind up being extremely long and i also wanted to address these subjects on my blog: marcusellis.blogspot.com

check it out.

Paige Robins said...

Hey Kyle! This is the first time I've read your blog and, may I say, I find you right on the money on this one. Way to go!

Paige (Fagala) Robins

Diggs the Dude said...

This is Diggs (even if you don't remember me that's fine; I live in Japan for the time being shockingly enough,) Great blog and very well written. I'm a conservative, brother. The blog isn't too indulgent but it's close. (Ha-Ha, right?)The piece is well-written because it is sort of open to opinions that you don't share. I love that. There should be more of that. I don't mind any of the opinions either. They're opinions and that's all they are. Before I cop out on the controversy, however, the part that was silly was the Christ-like part. Plank in my eye or something, huh? I don't buy it. Do Christians hate other people for not taking the plank out of thier own eyes? Sorry, brother--that ain't biblical. We should dislike ourselves--you're right about that. If you want to twist this argument in a certain way then you might have something. America is bad (Democrat or Republican) at relating to the rest of the world, and democrats could blast the Bush Administration (somewhat justifiably) for not seeing themselves from an entire world perspective. I'll give you assistance, and asteric, and kudos for that one but to involve Christ? Christ is no where in these kind of political issues. Moore? He's a democrat, man. That's just the party he's for. He is simply a staunch democrat. It's all so much more about what party you're for rather than what is right and wrong. That's my opinion and I hope you know I'm right to an extent. Hate the war and hate Bush. That's fine. I think the war kind of sucks myself actually so....but please realize that Christ has no place in political arguments. Politics are politics and that's it. If the democrats were for war then Moore would have made a pro-war documentary and somebody right would have made a video on the how the war sucks. You know this is true. I love political talk but only if it plays as what it should play as--marginally important fodder. Don't involve Christ. He's too good for it. Yeah, it's quite a really big deal about the lives lost. Probably a bigger deal than conservatives make it. But as far as people who interject on the war publicly, most of these people will simply give support to thier party regardless of thier party's actions. Rarely (very rarely) does a person actually change party's over this stuff because of right and wrong issues. You know this, right? Anyways, good blog