Conciliatory challenges

Mark Hemingway and Ramesh at NRO today linked “from 52 to 48 with love,” a cam-shot project reminiscent of that one site that came up after GWB’s 2004 victory. It’s treacly, and the gesture I am sure is well-meant, considering the propensity of youthful participants. Mark, bless his heart, has been receiving grief.

Judging by the torrent of email, my post below seems to have struck a nerve. By linking to such a shiny happy display, I wasn’t suggesting anyone immediately make peace with an Obama administration. Especially since most liberal attempts at reconciliation during the Bush years amounted to “Oh, hey — would you mind picking up the soap?” As one reader put it, “I’m more inclined to dress my wounds, restring my bow, and plan my counterattack than I am to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.”Fair enough. But I do think that after eight years of “He’s not my President” bumper stickers and trying to put Karl Rove under citizens’ arrest for his role in unconstitutional mattress tag removal, it’s probably necessary that we be the adults here. And that includes acknowledging when overtures are made to make things less rancorous.

Many of us are graceful to the other side in defeat, because we have seen what it has cost them to be so acrimonious for years. I can not live my life like that. I am a patient, incremental political thinker and advocate, but I am not immortal. So in defeat, be gracious. In conflict, be ruthless. In victory, retain one’s soul.

I want to give these kids the benefit of the doubt. They have been led to believe that this has been a disgusting, hateful campaign and that they have spent the past eight years of their lives in a climate of hate. But the seventh photo down has a classy challenge to the 52, and features a photo of the greatest American president ever:

When free speech rights of conservative voices on the radio are stomped on by Obama & Pelosi, will the “52” object?When secret ballots of prospective union members are done away with by Obama & Pelose, will the “52” say anything?If a conservative president is elected in 2012, will today’s “52” be as gracious as the “48” today?Cute photographs and catchy sloganse are nice but what really counts is whether you’ll walk your talk. There’s a word for those who won’t: Hypocrisy!

Yes, we are all rooting for the same team, and that is the success of America. I want the 52 to know that our opposition isn’t mean to lead the country to its failure. It’s because we believe that when the President is about to lead us down to a dangerous path we will not sit idly by and be quiet.

But beyond the small reprimand, I, too have a message for the 52.

When you were less than 52, and you called upon the assassination of the President, did we demand a government reprisal for your political speech? When McCain/Palin supporters marched the streets of NYC to express themselves, were you there to shout them down? Were you there offering the middle finger? When you, as one of the 52 who supported Obama, wore a shirt calling Governor Palin a “c__t,” were you aware of the irony in your behavior?

Do you offer your hands in reconciliation merely because you are victorious? Had we been the 48, but still won the electoral college, and your Dear Leader offered words of conciliation, would you have followed his lead? When we offer No Cover in the House for Pelosi’s overreaches, so much so that we can present her largesse for you to judge, will you give us the benefit of the doubt?

We share certain common goals:

  • You may want a more educated public. I do, too, but not if it means that our students and their parents will not have the choice through school vouchers, among other things. Not if it means that our children will be indoctrinated by Leftist teachers. Not if it means that when one of our children go to school carrying our family values and beliefs, they will be publicly humiliated by their teachers. Not if it means that we will need a teacher’s license to home-school our children, as if working from home weren’t sacrifice enough.
  • You may want “universal” health care. I do, too, but not if it means that the government will have a massive say in how we treat our bodies. Not if it means that we may lose our jobs for eating unhealthy food, or smoking, or drinking. Not if it means that our choice of doctors will be limited. Not if it means that our doctors themselves will have to have the means they recommend pre-approved by some pencil-pusher who thinks they know what is better for a patient.
  • You may want a “greener environment.” I do, too, but not if it means regulating to death aspects of our personal lives. Not if it means that our choices of energy solutions are hobbled by an “if it isn’t perfect, it isn’t good enough” approach.
  • Finally, you may want peace on earth and mercy mild. I do, too, but not if it means that we will bring our soldiers home in shame and defeat. Not if it means that we will not finish the job in Afghanistan. Not if it means that we will leave the relatively free nations of Eastern Europe defenseless against a resugent Russia. Not if it means that we will leave G-d’s children in Israel to fend for themselves against Iran.

To the 52: we are not that different. We share common goals. But if you ever care to listen about how you and the 48 differ, it’s in the means. It’s in the methods. Our respective sides will always believe our methods are better. This is life.