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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Upchucking the koolaid 

Glenn Greenwald has a great post quoting conservative columnist Rod Dreher about how he grew up while watching Bush's speech:
As I sat in my office last night watching President Bush deliver his big speech, I seethed over the waste, the folly, the stupidity of this war.
I had a heretical thought for a conservative - that I have got to teach my kids that they must never, ever take Presidents and Generals at their word - that their government will send them to kill and die for noble-sounding rot - that they have to question authority.
On the walk to the parking garage, it hit me. Hadn't the hippies tried to tell my generation that? Why had we scorned them so blithely?
Will my children, too small now to understand Iraq, take me seriously when I tell them one day what powerful men, whom their father once believed in, did to this country.
Yes, nothing like a stupid war to convince Americans that the hippies were right!
Greenwald also links to Mahablog describing how we are all influenced, perhaps overly so, by the political events of our teenage years in determining whether we are "liberal" or "conservative".
Too often, I think, we pick one point of view when we are young, then we spend the rest of our lives editing reality to fit.
Easier, I guess, or more comfortable, or something.
But sometimes, as Dreher has now realized, there is a limit to how much we can ignore, how far we can stretch. Sometimes, reality just crashes through.
The political experience of Iraq may well produce a new generation of Americans who will rediscover "liberalism".
Maybe they'll start singing Kumbaya and wearing flowers in their hair. Maybe they'll even start supporting health insurance.
And when I think about my own background and the political events which shaped me, I guess one of the key events in my young life was the Doctor's Strike in 1962, which showed me the importance of people acting together to implement what we believe in. When an aroused public supports something as much as we supported Medicare in 1962, well then, we shall overcome. I saw it happen and I have never forgotten it.

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