Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cindy Sheehan and Company:
The left needs a smaller tent

Cindy Sheehan serves as a daily reminder of the left's inability to find guidance or choose its friends wisely. She met today with John McCain. Apparently they exchanged viewpoints, after which which McCain said of Sheehan: "She's entitled to her opinion," and "We just have fundamental disagreements." Sheehan then called one of our nation's most popular and respected leaders a "warmonger." The Democrat leadership may now be wishing the Secret Service had run her over back in Crawford. If there's a way she can do more damage to her cause, it will take some effort. Perhaps she could fly to Damascus and publicly kiss the ass of the tyrant behind the "insurgency" that killed her son. That's what George Galloway did.

As Sheehan completes her transformation from grieving mother to pathetic media tool, the Democrats have wisely opted to cut her loose. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry declined to attend last weekend's anti-war rally in Washington, D.C.--a decision that apparently woke the pacifists up to the fact that they have no useful friends in the party and no chance of having anyone to vote for in 2008 unless they learn to give war a chance. Sheehan's hammy behavior before the cameras, combined with her deepening addiction to the spotlight, has put off so many that her blather elicits more derision than applause even over at Huffpo. (One of the few positive comments in response to her latest post came from a member of the "Guns and Dope Party," whose web site is either dull satire or frighteningly wacko anarchism.) Her anti-Israel rant and lame attempts at denial made her fatally toxic to moderate Democrats. And her friends didn't always made a good impression at anti-war demonstrations around the nation on Sunday: the crowds were lousy with conspiracy crackpots, muddle-headed ex-hippies arm-in-arm with Starbucks multiculturalists, and masked vulgarians being lead around by unrepentant Communists. (To see some of Cindy Sheehan's fellow travelers, check out Zombie's collection of photos from the recent rally.)

I'm not hopeful that the left in America can get its act together. Its members seem caught between paradigms they won't abandon (no war, hate Bush, hate America) and reality they won't see (Saddam was not going away on his own, Hamas is not a force for good, sometimes America is). Zombie points out a perfect example of the cognitive dissonance straining the minds of the left today: a group in San Francisco called QUIT, which is apparently a U.N.-style acronym for Queers for Palestine. They march for the creation of a Palestinian state that would undoubtedly persecute gays. Baffling. Christopher Hitchens gives us an even better example of the disconnect among the left, pointing out that Communists in Iraq are bewildered by the support American leftists are voicing for the "freedom fighters" who are trying to silence or kill them.

In an interview in early July, Salam Ali, a member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, addressed the betrayal of the Iraqi left by the American left. The interviewer asked him to comment on the idea that the nascent government in Iraq is a fraud and the ICP would be better off siding with the "insurgency":

Some on the Western left insist that participation in the political process is a form of collaboration and that the insurgency represents a sort of national liberation movement like that in Vietnam or the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Ali's response to my question on this comparison was mixed with anger and sarcasm. "This perception has nothing to support it in the real situation in Iraq," he replies. "It doesn’t exist. It's a myth. It's dangerous as well," he added. Such a comparison is based on a lack of understanding of the specific situation in Iraq and "makes a mockery" of the national liberation movements in other countries. He suggested that these views were made by folks, however well-intentioned, without any real contacts with Iraqis on the ground.

Bear in mind that the ICP opposed the invasion and occupation, and as Communists they certainly have no love for the Bush administration. But they know a good thing when they see it (like an open and democratic political process instead of groveling before a tyrant) and they know a bad thing when they see it (like an unholy alliance between scheming Baathists and bloodthirsty jihadis). The left in America, however, just isn't listening.

A democracy dominated by a single party is not desirable from anyone's perspective (even members of that party). Meaningful debate and the existence of choice are vital to the health of such a government. If the left is to have any place in the political process, they'll have to move away from the theatrics and back into the realm of thought. Anti-Semites, loons who see politics as an opportunity to dress funny or not at all, and those who just instinctively hate America should be visibly ostracized from the Democrat Party. The Democrats need a "good left," or their identity will shrivel away--already they're losing African Americans, Latinos, and labor unions because they're so damn vague about what precisely they plan to do. To be of any use to the Democrats, that good left needs to get its bearings, get rid of the baggage, and get serious.


Blogger Curzon said...

Beautiful. Hit the nail on the head perfectly.

9:57 PM  

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