Pride and Repentance
I have heard from many a Republican that one reason they like Bush is that he is firm about his convictions; that he doesn't "flip flop" the way Kerry did.
Those people, then, must admire the likes of Hitler, Mao, Mussolini and Stalin because they too never flip-flopped. Regardless of what existed in reality, they persevered with their plans to rule the world because their ideology was the "right" one. No one can ever accuse Hitler of being unclear or unambiguous about what he hoped to accomplish. Nope. Mao did not mince words about his grand vision of remoulding China. Nope. Mad men are usually crystal clear about where they are going and what they are doing.
But, I digress. Today, I want to talk about repentance and the glowing pride of Republicans who say that their wonderful Emperor Bush is firm in his convictions and is not a flip-flopper. I want to talk about it because it is simply untrue. The war in Iraq was first justified because of Saddam Hussein's refusal to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into the country. Then the justification was because Mr. Hussein didn't let the inspectors into enough places. We then heard from Condi & Co. that Iraq was trying to buy enriched uranium from Niger in order to build a nuclear bomb. Remember all those warnings about a "mushroom cloud" over America? When that lie was revealed, the administration punished the truth-teller by exposing his wife's status as a CIA operative.
Never mind that Iraq had been destroyed after 10 years of economic sanctions. Never mind that Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 was met with no military response from an already militarily impotent Iraq.
After exhausting the list of non-existent threats to America, the popular lie that has since stuck is that the war was necessary to rid Iraq of a murderous dictator and to spread "freedom" and "democracy" in the Semitic World. Sure, Saddam wasn't a nice guy, but that didn't stop the U.S. from arming him for over two decades. The Turks gas the Kurds with American-provided biological weapons worse than Saddam ever did, but that hasn't been a reason to bomb Turkey. And, there are other regimes that are far more deserving of an ass-kicking than Iraq (Read up on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Burma and Sudan, to name a few).
Which brings me to the concept of repentance. In a nutshell, repentance is the act of saying "I screwed up and I am sorry." It is the genuine feeling of sorrow for having done something wrong and owning up to it. In religious terms, one cannot obtain god's forgiveness without repenting one's sins. Which makes sense. How can anyone forgive you if you are not sincerely sorry for a wrong you have done?
You would think that a devoted Christian would respect this concept and repent when he causes the deaths of 1,800 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, when he creates a civil war in an otherwise semi-stable country, when he trades one former CIA-favorite dictator with a group of current CIA-favorite dictators (this isn't conspiracy theory - the administration is surprisingly candid about the CIA connection to Ahmed Chalabi and Iyad Alawi), when he takes the post-Clinton surplus and turns it into a staggering deficit that hurts America's economy, and when he lies to the American public time and time again.
Bush, the alleged Christian, has never once said "oops, I may have messed up somewhere." "Oops, I am sorry for the damage this has caused." Nope. He is unrepentant and continues to ask Americans to send their children into harm's way. Spare me the bullshit about bad intelligence. Repentance means saying sorry - not blaming others for your missteps. When you are caught in a lie you have two options - you can either tell a further lie to cover up the first or repent and apologize. The former is the path of evil and the latter is of a saved, godly person. The Karl Rove scandal illustrates which path the Bush administration prefers.
Pride, one of the so-called seven deadly sins, is fundamentally the belief in your own perfection. Bush and his people are so convinced of their messianic role as rulers of the world, that they cannot comprehend their own imperfections (even though their alleged Christianity would teach them that all people are sinners) or the necessity of apologizing for their lies. And the false pride of their followers of being on the winning team only emboldens them further. Proud people do not repent. Listen to the million and one excuses the proud invent as to why the U.S. is spending billions to "bring democracy" to Iraq, when they won't spend $10 to bring healthcare to America.
Even Clinton, the big sleaze, apologized to America for lying about Monica.
This post was inspired by a friend's comment about "giving points" to Howard Dean for calling out the Demoracts about their lack of convictions. While I am not a Democrat and do not particularly care much for their politics, the Republicans certainly do not provide a palatable alternative. Those who deserve "points" for their leadership are the men and women who had the guts to speak truth to power, to those who use their brains to see past the never-ending string of lies and cliches, and to those who are able to admit when they were wrong and say sorry. That is true leadership.
"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished."
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
"Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor."