The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bill Kumbier Letter 9/11/04

Dear Editor,
While watching the Republican National Convention a couple of weeks ago I became so frustrated and irritated with the spectacle of conventioneers’ flapping their plastic footwear and chanting "Flip flop" that I almost threw a sandal at the television.
Bush supporters, it seems, are quick to pounce on any instance of what they see as their opponent’s opportunistic changes of mind and vote or as an unprincipled weakness and willingness to go whichever way the political winds blows. They fail to realize—or, more likely, wish us to forget to realize—that there are often very sound reasons for changing one’s position or acting in a way that may at first seem inconsistent but actually is not.
Consider how the Republicans characterize John Kerry’s "record" on Iraq. They are fond of appearing "puzzled" by the fact that Kerry voted to authorize the President to take military action against Iraq yet later wasn’t quick to vote for President Bush’s request for $87 billion more to fight the war. They are even more "confused" at Kerry’s willingness to vote for the money if the funds were taken from Bush’s $400 billion in tax cuts but not if that spending would simply add to the burden of the deficit all Americans bear.
The Republicans want us to forget that almost everyone in Congress voted for the authority Bush wanted to go after Saddam Hussein and that many, once they saw how undiplomatically and recklessly he did that, regretted that vote. They want us to forget that a war begun on the pretense of eliminating weapons of mass destruction doesn’t seem so justifiable when it turns out there are no such weapons. They want us to forget that the war costs money that might better be spent on improving the quality of Americans’ lives.
The Republicans’ criticism of what they call "flip flopping" reflects a simplistic world view that wants to see everything as black or white, that doesn’t make room for responding to new information and that sticks stubbornly to a position even when it makes perfect sense to change it. I for one would rather have a leader who was flexible enough to respond to changes, who is open to new possibilities and strategies, and who can appreciate the complexity of some situations, all qualities that I see in John Kerry but, sadly, not in President Bush.
William Kumbier


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