Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wimps, Bullies, and Warriors

I spent a lot of years on active duty in the military where you kept your politics to yourself (mostly), or at least not to express your political views publicaly. Being retired has been liberating in a number of ways, but perhaps one of the most liberating is feeling like I can freely express my political opinion in a public forum. Now I know that the readership of this blog is pretty limited, but it is the internet so that makes it the equivalent of getting up on the proverbial soapbox in the public square. This is my public forum, so I get to express my opinion on politics or anything else I want to talk about. Now that’s liberating.

Like a responsible citizen, I’ve been paying attention to the Presidential race. I want to be an informed and educated voter, who will vote for the candidate that best represents my views, values, and interests. I don’t want to vote based on party-affiliation, identity-politics, or emotion. I have to tell you, what I’ve learned about Barrack Obama scares me.

I’ve had a theory for sometime that how people respond to fear will tell you a lot about their makeup. I’ve emphasized here before that I’m no mental health professional, but as I see it, how someone responds to real fear or periods of great stress is difficult to fake. For us lawyers, it’s the theory behind why there is an “excited utterance” exception to the hearsay rule in the law of evidence. Normally, one person cannot testify what another person said. That would be hearsay, and hearsay is not admissible. But, there is an exception when a person testifies that another person said something during a startling event or while under stress. These out-of-court statements are considered inherently reliable because the excitement and the spontaneity that goes with the event or stress removed any chance that the statement was fabricated. So, under my theory people will show who they really are in how they react to fear or great stress, they won’t have time to fabricate or run opinion polls on how their response will be viewed in order to tailor their actions. They’ll react according to their makeup.

Under my (rather simplified) theory people will respond to fear or great stress in one of three ways, depending on what type of person they are. A warrior will stand and fight to protect what is threatened from the threat. A bully will use excessive force or other tactics, such as collateral attacks, to try to eliminate the threat. And a wimp will appease or ignore the threat and hope it goes away.

Let me give you some examples. I see Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and the lemmings blindly following him, as bullies. Rep. Kucinich, for some reason, will not let the idea of impeaching President Bush go. Perhaps he sees it as a way to further his own political career. It certainly keeps his name in the press. Perhaps he has a fear of losing his notoriety and just being the Congressman from Ohio, so he’s responding by attacking. It doesn’t matter that the impeachment won’t fly or that his party leadership didn’t want it. He’s as much a bully as the big kid who demands lunch money from the smaller kid. He does it because he can. President Clinton is another example of a bully. When the roosters of his philandering were finally coming home to roost, instead of facing the music he stepped up a crisis with Iraq, or the Sudan, or terrorist training camps, or whatever he had to shoot missiles at to deflect the missiles being aimed at him. He deflected those impeachment missiles by being a bully.

I think President Carter was a good example of a wimp. Look at how he handled the entire Iran hostage crisis. He dithered, he talked, he postured, and he tried to get everyone else to act. When he finally did actually take action, by sending in a team to try to rescue the hostages, he tried to micromanage every stage of the process and pulled them out when things inevitability started to go wrong. Then, instead of regrouping, fixing what went wrong, and getting the job done, he sat on his hands and said “too hard.” In contrast, President Bush (whatever you think of the Iraq War) is a warrior. When we were attacked, he acted to protect. Who can ever forget his speech to Congress on September 20, 2001?

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done . . . After all that has passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that dies with them -- it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world. . . . I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.

Those are the words of a warrior, and his actions since have supported those words. President Bush reacted to the fear and stress of the attacks of September 11th with decisive leadership. He acted to protect our country and her citizens from further attacks. That is the measure of a warrior.

I don’t think we’ve seen Mr. Obama in a situation where he’s really been placed in great fear, except fear of not reaching his goal of becoming President, but I do think we’ve seen his reaction in periods of stress. From the glimpses we’ve seen, I tend to think Mr. Obama is either a bully or a wimp. Neither of which is the type of person we want as the leader of our Nation. That’s what scares me. I see Mr. Obama as a bully when he reacts to negative statement by challenging the person making the statement, as when Ms Ferraro was called a racist for saying Mr. Obama wouldn’t have gotten where he was if he was white. I see Mr. Obama as a bully when I hear him making statements that he would have intervened militarily in Pakistan to quell internal riots. I see Mr. Obama as a wimp when he proposes negotiating with rogue nations like Iran without preconditions; appeasement by any other name. I see Mr. Obama’s proposal to withdraw funding from important military programs as wimpy pandering to those who also want to appease. But whether wimp or bully, Mr. Obama scares me because in no way do I see him as suited to be a leader. Wimps and bullies do no make good leaders. Not in the long run. Not when it’s important. That’s my opinion, and now I feel liberated by expressing it.

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