I have a lot to talk about, but I didn’t want to post anything political just before leaving for Gulf Wars, and I have more to talk about, but this just came up.

I’m a big believer of freedom of choice, and as such I’m against government because it by definition reduces choices. If something governs you, it takes away your choices.

So I can’t argue with a friend’s choice. It is their right to make the choice that they did. However, I too have the right to make a choice, and my choice is to disagree with theirs.

So clarification. This person and my politics are very different. That difference does not affect the fact that I think they are smart, intelligent and worthy of respect.

Sadly, in a political conversation, I made a point that referenced both the point they had made in the discussion and a point they had made some months ago and in so doing I have aggravated them. I have aggravated them to the point that they have said they will no longer comment on political matters.

It was never my intent to aggravate them. Let me make that clear. I respect them and their opinion, but just as I do not expect people who disagree with me to let me slide, I felt they had essentially proved the point in question and I used their own words to support my argument.

The point is this. If you hold one party or another to a different standard of expectations simply because of the party affiliation then that is inherently hypocrisy. Sure, we all do that to a certain extent by trying and hoping to find the reason for misbehavior by the side that we identify with, but that does not excuse it. The only exception to this is if you hold your *own* side to a higher level of expectations. For example, I hold fyrdmen to a higher level of expectations than I do men-at-arms or those who have attained greater rank.

Anyway, if you did not think Bush should have gone into Iraq because he was led by the influence of oil and did not have enough world-wide support, that is perfectly within your rights and is a reasonably defensible argument.

However, if you do so, then you *must* at least question Obama who used military force in a nation with more oil reserves but with less international support.

My opinion is that freedom is worth fighting for, and freedom is not simply the province of Americans. People in Third World countries should be supported in their attempts to attain freedom. The United States will *never* truly be at peace until *everyone* in the world has the right to choose their own faith, speak their opinion, influence their government, and has the chance to feed and clothe their families. Anyone who believes that we should not attempt to at least influence places that treat their women like second-class citizens or who execute gays because of their gayness simply because they’re not living in America should, in my opinion, reconsider what it is to be pro-gay or feminist. A gay person is deserving of the same respect as a human being whether they’re from San Francisco or Teheran.

Because of this I was in favor of action of some sort in all of the places where the population stood up to a dictator, be it in Egypt, Iran, Libya, or now as it seems, Syria.

But I digress from the main point. I’m not sure I agree with Obama’s tactics in Libya, nor do I agree with the timing, but I agree with the intent. Please note that I do so despite not being a fan of Obama.

Don’t like violence in the political sphere? I agree. Stand up and yell at all those who threaten politicians, especially if they are in your own party threatening a political opponent. Yes, Democrats, this means chastising those labor unions supporters who have issued death threats against Wisconsin Republicans, especially after making such a big deal out of the Giffords’ shooting when there did not seem to be anything other than a random idiot.

Don’t like rallies that include bigots and bullying? I agree. Yet, if you ever said or thought that the Tea Parties were bigoted and violent and chastised them, then you *must* chastise the labor union activists in Wisconsin who acted in a violent and bigoted fashion. By the way, there’s visual proof of Wisconsin rally misbehavior while there is none that I’m aware of from the Tea Parties (please point me at some video if I’m not correct).

Imagine the outcry if a Republican had said in multiple political speeches that the Democrats should go to the “back of the bus.” Obama said that about Republicans just before the election. Where was the outcry? I was insulted on a variety of levels, not least of which was the lack of objection by my liberal friends. By not commenting, they essentially accepted the idea that I, their supposed friend, was a second-class citizen. I don’t think that they actually think so, but it bothered me nonetheless. I certainly don’t think that this person who prompted this post or anyone who disagrees with my political opinion are second-class citizens, and I will have words, and more than words if need be, with anyone who says that they are.

As part of this, though, you *must* consider the choices that shape your opinions. I don’t care what your opinions are. They’re just as valid as mine. However, all that I ask is that you are consistent in your expectations.

So while I hope my friend continues to discuss politics because I value their opinion, more importantly I hope they take a moment to reflect on why they make the choices that they do and avoid choosing a position simply because of the D or the R.

Because whether or not they voice their opinion anymore, their opinion matters, which is why I choose to disagree with their stated position to not comment on politics anymore. More importantly, however, if they make choices in the future to hold Republicans to higher standard their own Democratic Party, even if they don’t voice it, then they have allowed politics to make themselves a lesser person.

This is true for anyone who chooses to let their own side slide, including myself, and though we all have the right to make that choice, I consider such choices tragic.

9 thoughts on “Choice”

  1. What I really find rather irritating of the whole Wisconsin thing is, most of the people I have personally heard rallying to the support of the Unions are people who have never actually worked a Union Job.

    They run off the party line, and the expectation of what a Union is supposed to do, while having zero experience with how Unions tend to actually operate with regards to their membership. Having spent ten years being screwed by a Union as hard and more often than by a big bad corporation, I’m a little less inclined to sympathy.

    1. As a quick note, I worked a union job and never joined the union. (I never figured out why being a part of the union for a postal data entry person was important to me.)

      On the other hand, my dad works on a railroad, and so did my grandfather. I’m a big fan of the UTU.

      As always, it depends on the union.

      1. CWA.
        I could write a laundry list of things I witnessed, but that would just be dredging up things that are realistically of no consequence to the discussion.
        The one thing that does stick out was the instance about a year ago when the company was offering a very hefty incentive for early retirement and the Union refused to accept the offer. The official statement was that it was insufficient to support the needs of the membership. The only thing that we could figure that statement to mean was, the Union would be collecting $12.2million less in dues over the following year.
        After enough people complained, the Union re-entered negotiations for a incentivised separation and the company made a slightly less robust, but still tantalizing offer. Union Leadership accepted and there was much rejoicing.

    2. There are those of us who generally suppport unions, have joined a union and worked a union job, and who’ve been indelicately handled by a big bad corporation.

      And some of us have mixed opinions about what’s going on in Wisconsin, have varied observations about work and unions garnered after nearly three decades of work, and are not being vocal about it.

      1. I did not mean to say the corporation never had it’s fist in places said fist would not belong without willful consent, nor that everyone was making such statements without ever working a Union Job.

        I would suppose it fair to say that my experience may have been with a less than stellar union, however it would also be wrong to assume that it was alone in being the only one that acted in such a way.

        1. In all fairness, I suspect the more powerful a human organization becomes, and the tinier its number of leaders becomes, the more prone to corrupting or undue/disproportionate influences it becomes. This appears to be true whether the organization is a government, a union, a church, or some other group.

          (Human group dynamics are interesting, though sometimes disturbing or downright alarming.)

  2. First: if your friend posts an opinion in a venue that encourages comments, being comment-shy is silly. (Meaning: I’m agreeing with Pavel.)

    Some of your logic is sloppy and your rhetoric seems deliberately confusing. It is true, arguendo, that Government can and sometimes does restrict choice. If it were the only mechanism that restricted personal choice, we could still debate if some of those restrictions are overall beneficial, or whether the net benefits outweigh the overall costs. But since there are many mechanisms out there that naturally restrict choices that are NOT Governments, it is possible (and often, in fact, the case) that Government’s actions to restrict THEIR freedom of choices overrides their ability to unduly restrict the choices of others. In those cases, these restrictive powers can be an overall benefit. Your analysis is too microscopic, I think.

    You draw quite the false equivalence between Libya and Iraq. While there are some surface similarities, there are also stark differences.

    There is no doubt that the US President has the right to use the Military, as Commander in Chief. He cannot start a war, but he can take military action. There is no stark definition of the difference of war and simple military action: nevertheless, some things are clearly more like wars (WW-II, Vietnam) and others are not (Panama).

    One can debate these things: but it seems clear to me that the invasion of Iraq was far closer to a war, was in fact a war. And also that there was less in the way of international consensus for Iraq, and the evidence used to justify the intervention was more speculative, more tenuous (and, in the long run, obviously faked…)

    You may debate the international consensus thing, I suppose. It comes down to the value you place on UN resolutions, and how closely you look at the strong-arm tactics in the formation of the Iraqi “Coalition of the Willing”. In any event, there seems to be little gainsaying what is happening in Libya, as opposed to the “might happen” in Iraq.

    I’m curious about the differences between Libya and Bahrain… but at least I understand the US interests in NOT getting all active in Bahrain…

    (I also think your discussion of “death threats” in Wisconsin is sloppy. Just because many people share an opinion with a person who issues death threats, does not make them responsible for the death threat. You seem to be pointing the arrow of responsibility in the wrong direction. Crazy assholes who issue death threats are crazy assholes: their political opinions are distinct. People who share a political opinion with a crazy asshole, are not necessarily crazy assholes. False equivalence: and the entire “Tea Party neener neener” false equivalence is more of the same.)

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