Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It seems to me. . .

Enough with the break--it's time to talk!!!

The motivation from this piece is from several sources, not the least of which is Sec. Rumsfeld's remarks from last week.

So yesterday I was watching Fox News (a day off from work--gotta love Federal holidays!), and Major Garrett was doing a live piece from up in Detroit. He was asked about campaign strategies for the two major parties, and he noted how the GOP seems to be putting all their eggs in the "National Security" basket again while the Dems are hammering away with domestic themes. He made it sound so one-dimensional for the GOP that I almost started yelling at the TV.

"What about Social Security?", I would have said aloud had I been slightly more devoted to the TV at the time. That topic had, after all, been a major part of a critical debate between Senate candidates in Pennsylvania just the day before.

"What about the economy?" are also words that might have escaped my lips. THAT topic, after all, was the overriding theme of the President's Labor Day activities. 4.7 % unemployment. . .fuel prices dropping ahead of the typical post-summer schedule. . .some good news on that front that every GOP candidate should be touting 'til the cows come home.

But then as I sat watching the FSU-Miami football game (Go 'Noles!), it hit me: actually, it IS all about national security. ALL of it.

While smart men and women from all walks of life can debate the best economic policies to pursue in the future, there's one thing that would NOT continue our economic boost: a terror attack. Tax cuts, fuel prices, unemployment numbers--these issues all become "beyond argument" in a post-terrorist attack landscape. The economy would suffer--period. To even debate about the different possible solutions for economic issues you need to assume a "peaceful" workplace across the board--and that just wouldn't exist in the wake of another successful attack.

Is your blood boiling about the morality-based issues of same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research and abortion rights? The loss of innocent life that would accompany a successful terrorist attack in this country would push these issues to the margin of mainstream America's conscience. Some would argue to take the fight to the enemy, some would argue to open a dialogue and to try to understand the attackers--but NOBODY (well, nobody serious at least) would tell you that the REAL threat to America is the morality police/immorality ushers. Or at least they wouldn't try to make that argument again for a long long time. . .

I can see some "issues" sharing a teensy-weensy bit of limelight with a successful terrorist attack as a backdrop: the courts (the battle over "executive power" with a line drawn between the supporters of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on one side and those favoring a more Executive-friendly interpretation of the Constitution on the other), the war in Iraq (well, that wouldn't be teensy-weensy; one of the most compelling reasons the troops are over there, after all, is to keep us from having numerous attacks staged here in America. It's worked at least once, by the way) and border security (ESPECIALLY if it is shown that the attackers had any benefit to their planning and/or execution from porous national borders) to name a few. And the economy would be a hot hot HOT topic soon after the attacks. . .but with much more of a "stop the bleeding and recover" tone than what our current economy requires.

But really, the importance of every issue OTHER THAN national security assumes that our country and our institutions continue to operate as they have been for the last many many many years. A country under attack (and it doesn't have to be PHYSICAL attack, by the way) has to make some exceptions to "business as usual". Sometimes those exceptions are small; sometimes they are noticeable and inconvenient. (I'd actually put the long security lines at airports in the former category, and those are both noticeable AND inconvenient--but in the grand scheme of things it's actually quite insignificant) Keeping us away from being attacked--so that we can even have debates about such vital things as illegal-but-not-prosecuted (aliens) and dying-but-not-dead (social security)--is truly the issue of our time. And it will continue to be the issue of our time as long as there are people out there that not only hate America, but have such a hatred of Americans that they are willing to kill themselves in order to bloody some of us in the process.

SO while I totally disagree with Major Garrett's assertion that the GOP is putting all of it's eggs in the same basket again, I do believe that if you had to choose a basket in which to put all of your eggs, the GOP couldn't have chose better.

And to be sure, I'm willing to listen to any Dem's ideas of how to better this country. But those ideas best include a hearty helping of solid ideas about protecting our citizens. I'll even give you an entering argument: you can't fight hate with reason. There are many tools in our arsenal to fight hatred, but I am convinced that reason is not one of them--so don't even try to tell me that new rhetoric is going to make a difference to our enemies.

I hate it when people try to make it sound so simple!


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