The intellectually stunted practice of Bush-bashing
By Frank Salvato
To put it bluntly, I have little use for Bush-bashers. Their song is old and tired. Their mordantly indignant tirades serve to degrade, not only the office of the president, but the intellectual stature of Americans in the eyes of the world. While there is always room for genuine, thoughtful, intellectual debate, debate that supposes solutions over rhetoric, Americans have grown tolerant to the small-minded practice of Bush-bashing. If there is anything that reduces the image of Americans around the globe it is the stunted, acerbic, bullhorn mentality of America's Fifth Column and those who join in their caustic idiom.
For the record, while I agree with much of what the president has proposed and accomplished, I disagree with him on some issues as well. So, for those who dwell amongst the unwashed masses of the Progressive-Left, for those of you who routinely condemn and label those of my opinion "Bush-bots," I say "talk to the hand."
I believe that not only should border security and immigration reform be approached as separate issues, they need to be approached as separate issues, border security being the priority. Where in the past most came to the United States in search of the American dream, today some among these pilgrims masquerade as such while harboring an agenda of ill-will and a lust for killing Americans of all political ideologies.
In this post 9/11 age, it is incomprehensible that one of the wealthiest countries in the world and certainly the one with the most to lose doesn't have a physical delineated border and state-of-the-art border surveillance system. While the construction of a security fence on the Southern border has commenced, it wouldn't be out of line to say that it took damn near a revolution in this country to get to this point. It cannot be stressed strongly enough; only after the borders are secure can meaningful immigration reform be effective.
I also join in the frustration that so many feel regarding the degradation of American citizenship by a majority of our elected officials. It is unconscionable that they continue to dole out "rights" to those who have broken our laws to get here. As taxpaying citizens bear the burden of their political generosity – and opportunism – it is undeniable that our nation is in need of meaningful immigration reform that reflects the realities of the 21st Century while also protecting the status of citizen, no matter what.
To that end, I had suggested in a previous column that those who broke the law to get here be given only one path to citizenship, a path with real economic, legal and social penalties. Illegals should be given one choice: a) pay back taxes for the time they illegally worked here, agree to accept a felony conviction (the penalty being an extended period of probation), agree to master the English language, assimilate and forfeit the right to vote in all elections, local, state and federal, or b) be detained and summarily deported. But I digress.
Even though I disagree with President Bush on several issues, including the fact that he – in an act of reconciliation after the 2000 election – allowed members of the Clinton Administration to stay on in key governmental roles, I do not stoop to personal attacks. I refuse to break Reagan's Rule as others of my own political affiliations have done and continue to do. I do not cry out that Bush has betrayed the country. I don't chant "Bush lied. People died." I don't excoriate him for not clamping down on the borders and I don't eviscerate the man because he is not clairvoyant and therefore unable to accurately see into the future where the war against radical Islamist aggression is concerned.
I refrain from attacking George W. Bush, from calling him names, from attacking his intellect and from personally degrading the man because it is the honorable, civil and right thing to do. Instead, I engage in the intellectually superior exercise of civil debate and discourse, just as I did when President Clinton was in office. Stated plainly, it is correct to honor the office, if not the man.
Taking into account the incredible events that George W. Bush has had to contend with during his presidency – not to mention the unimaginable amount of irrational and politically cultivated hatred that has been foisted upon him and a mainstream media that facilitates it – I find it hard to believe that either Al Gore or John Kerry could have done any better given the exact set of circumstances. In fact, in the shadow of Harry Reid's cowardly comment that he and his congressional colleagues don't have a responsibility to engage in crafting a battle plan for victory in Iraq – or any other battlefield in the war against radical Islamist aggression – I would advance the notion that few could have performed as well.
Great statesmen and good politicians are measured by their accomplishments. Their stature is garnered through the advancement of solutions over rhetoric, good government over politics, not in their political longevity or the health of their political parties. Today there are few statesmen left in Washington and each year that number dwindles. We have turned away from electing statesmen like Barry Goldwater, Adlai Stevenson, Zell Miller and Henry Hyde only to saddle ourselves with the jaded political opportunism of Harry Reid, Chuck Hagel, Nancy Pelsoi, Arlen Specter and Dick Durbin.
In the post Cultural Revolution/Social Enlightenment Era in which we find ourselves it would appear that many among us who are unwilling to read beyond the first paragraph believe that their opinion counts for something. As our education system and progressive "it takes a village" culture invents self-esteem for those who haven't taken the time to earn it, we see a society that, increasingly, values the "free speech" of hollow, destructive rhetoric over any semblance of civility, respect, intellect or honor.
I refuse to abandon the dignity of civil discourse for the blathering of the manufactured outrage utilized by the Bush-bashers. In the end I am adult enough to realize that he is doing what he believes is best for the country. And while I may disagree with his course of action on several issues, he is my president, he is our president, and the office, if not the man, deserves respect.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!