You Want W on that Wall!

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As we approach the election, I'm finding the polls very interesting. A whole slew of polls on things such as the economy, other domestic items, and even building relationships with foreign nations show Bush trailing and having a generally unfavorable rating. Yet overall and overwhelmingly (including many sources that would do nearly anything to have this not be the case), Bush has a narrow but clear edge.

Why? Comfort. Safety. Trust. On anything having to do with the war on terror, being Commander-in-Chief, handling Iraq going forward, etc., etc., Bush comes out way ahead. In stark contrast to Kerry's constant waffling and double-talk, Bush says what he means and does what he says. And he means to defend America.

For all the talk of peace, and relationships with other countries, and how "badly" things are going in Iraq, at the end of the day Mr. & Mrs. Citizen park their two cars in the garage, have supper in their comfortable home, put their healthy children to bed and realize that they'd rather have France hate us than to have anything blemish their comfortable lives.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but I am pointing out once again that this paradox exists. We have it good in this country, yet we've been conditioned to hate ourselves for having it so good. We have and use the means to defend what we have, yet we hate ourselves when we come face to face with the cost of our good life.

I've blogged on this before, but I refer again to "A Few Good Men," to illustrate this. In contrast to the SuperEgo Daniel Kaffey (Tom Cruise), Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson) is the crusty Id. Cruise is set up to be the hero, taking pot-shots at the military and the establishment. But in the end, for my money, Nicholson's character was the honest one. Jessup is real and represents what is hiding in all of us.
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. ... I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. ...You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.

A key exchange earlier in the movie between Sam (Kevin Pollack) and Jo (Demi Moore) crystalizes this tension:

Jo:      Why do you hate them so much?

Sam:   They beat up on a weakling, and that's all they did. The rest is just smoke-filled coffee-house crap...

Sam:   Why do you like them so much?

Jo:      'Cause they stand on a wall. And they say, "Nothing's gonna hurt you tonight. Not on my watch."

There it is ... everything has a price. If you want the freedoms that can be enjoyed in this country you must recognize that they were purchased with blood, and from time to time blood must be spilled to maintain them. If you don't like that, you'd better be ready to sacrifice. And let's face it, Americans don't have sacrifice in them any more - if someone can't be troubled to wait in line, do you really think they'd be willing to part with their Escalade on principle?

I have no quarrel with anyone who has analyzed the equation and taken their stand. My quarrel is with the Michael Moore's and the Al Gore's who can afford to embark on crackpot crusades that make them feel morally proud of themselves ... they can buy their way around the consequences. And my quarrel is with the naive who follow them thoughtlessly, thinking they can have their cake and eat it too.

Oh to have a magic wand that would force the airhead elite to deal with the consequences of their own actions and that would let the sheep experience for just one day the world they think and say that they want.


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