The Respect of the American Left

I wish I had, and feel I may have once, written this letter to Andrew Sullivan regarding the position liberals have found themselves in these past six years, angry at what Bush Etc. has done but unable to be taken seriously. Perhaps tarnished by extremists that became the face of the Left to some (incorrectly), but still correct then and now in as to what has become the Iraq War debacle. Sullivan does finally admit now what has been apparent for quite some time, that the betrayal of the Left and Right are no less of each other:

But many, many others on the left were right about these people in power; and I was wrong. I threw some smug invective their way and, in retrospect, I am ashamed of it. Sure, I recognized my error before the last election, but that doesn’t excuse it. Sure, some of it was just misunderstanding each other, in a climate of great fear, and some of it was just my arrogance that I was right. But that doesn’t excuse it all either.

I have not read Andrew’s book yet, but plan on it when I can once again afford something so luxurious as a new book. But even as I have struggled to understand someone so seemingly naive at times about these politicians who have brought this country to its current depths (in Iraq and in general), I still have read his blog regularly and respect his slow, lumbering turn-around to the good side.

His battles with religion and politics are fascinating to me because they don’t make any sense. That’s why he wrote a book, I would assume without having read it, to reclaim these parts that don’t fit right with each other: the Catholic church and Conservatism; Conservatism and homosexuality; homosexuality and the Catholic church. Talk about square pegs…

But he insists and implores, and so I certainly have no problem with that. I just wish people could maintain calm and perspective instead of jumping to instant conclusions, as the American Right did with the WMD claims. It was obvious from listening to smarter men like Hans Blix that this was all a farce, and yet so many were ready to believe, and so easy to mislead. They were all wrong. Now, as the dead U.S. soldiers nearly equals the dead on 9/11, they are still wrong. Everyone should be mad. But for some reason the anger of the liberal is reduced to an issue of patriotism instead of being given its proper venting. As Sullivan’s reader puts it:

Do I blame you for being mad? Not a bit. But keep in mind that those of us on the left who saw this coming – and saw a hundred other issues coming, from abrogation of the wall between church and state to the ballooning deficit – we have spent the last five years being called every ugly, vicious name in the book because we tried to stop this, because we tried to warn the American people: haters, traitors, pussies, weenies, liars, partisans, hacks, wacks, radicals, commies, atheists, morally confused, mentally challenged and anything, anything except patriots who love this country and everything it stands for – or ought to stand for.


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