Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Character flaw? Admirable quality?

Is stubbornness a character flaw or an admirable quality? I guess that depends on who possesses it and what they do with it. George Bush is proudly bullheaded when he takes a stance on particular issues. For example, the war in Iraq is necessary, and thus the sacrifice of human (2000 US citizens and over 27,000 Iraqi citizens) is necessary. No matter that many of those around him, including the military hierarchy, believe this was a battle lost before we started it.

Bush values stubbornness in part because he believes that changing ones mind is a sign of weakness. How do we know this? Remember his statement about Harriet Miers? He said "I know her well enough to be able to say she's not going to change . . . . Twenty years from now . . . . her philosophy won't change."

Bush views hanging on to stsances as a catankerous bulldog considers latching on to a meaty bone: intelligent and necessary to the cause. Even if that stance itself no longer makes sense as the war in Iraq seems nonsensical to so many of us now.

This viewpoint also explains his obstinate continuation of the obsequious Harriet Miers' nomination. The nomination is in the tank. Is his administration preparing a Plan B. His
response? "Harriet Miers is a fine person, and I expect her to have a good, fair hearing."

Bush's stubbornness is unregenerate, hopelessly reactionary in its mulishness. It ignores reality for looks, trading on the masquerade of a tough guy stance that hides intellectual and ethical weakness.

There was another stubborn public figure in the news today. One that makes strong-minded, determined behavior sparkle: Rosa Parks, bless her soul, died yesterday. Mrs Parks' determined refusal to relinquish her seat on the bus to a white man sparked the Civil Rights movement. Her courageous actions (and it was, indeed, courageous to stand up to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1950s) epitomize all that is good and right in hanging doggedly to a principle.

Mrs. Parks didn't merely act the part of a tough guy. She was the tough guy. She didn't hide from reality. She challenged it--and changed it, with the help of many, many others.

What is so sad about George Bush and his tenacious hold on various issues is the waste of energy and effort. Think of the good that can be done with the power of the Presidency. How could he have so squandered it? How does he sleep at night?

Had George Bush been a strong-minded, ethical person, rather than an unregenerate bulldog, think of the good that could have been done. Think of what Bush could have accomplished during his years in the White House (continuation of no national debt, better and more practical support for the poor, cleaner water and air, stronger national defense, to name a few).

Then look at what the unregenerate bulldog did accomplish (hired cronies that weakened our defense, stripped money from the poor while heavily lining the pockets of the rich, heaped billions of dollars of debt on our children, laid bare our environment to rich industrialists, to name a few).

And weep for what might have been,

Until tomorrow,


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