:: Sic Transit Gloria ::

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:: Monday, June 30, 2003 ::

This Is Who I Am

I had a bit of an epiphany over the weekend. I was arguing with a friend who thought that I shouldn't use the "big" words that come naturally to my vocabulary when trying to talk to women. He said I should dumb it down, not try to seem like I'm so smart, thaty women wouldn't like that. I asked him what he meant. Did he think that women enjoyed hearing dumb banter instead of, you know, REAL conversation? He said it worked for him. I pointed out that he tries to pick up first year Hill interns and that most girls he's dated were, in all honesty, not that smart. In essense, he said that to successfully pick up women, I had to present a flase front. I was appalled by this. For one thing, it suggests that when I do use a "big" word, I sound fake(I was significantly upset by this that I asked friends if I come off as too wordy, and they said it was just the way I was). Second, he suggested that women really like dumb guys. I refused to believe this. I would not dumb myself down. It would be a betrayal of myself. I could not live with a me who would do that.

That wasn't the epiphany. What the breakthrough was is that I realized that I had been selling myself short for a long time in Washington in order to not rock the vote. Let's face facts. I am a Republican. I am not a "true believer" type, and will criticize my party when I think it acts foolishly, but against unfair attacks, I always thought I would defend it. However, when dealing with my Democratic friends, except in certain instances, I dial myself back. I allow myself to let what I believe to be untrue in order to keep the vote steady. I am no longer willing to do this. If I'm in a conversation with a girl I find attractive, and she says something negative about the Republican party, I'm gonna challenge her on it. Why? Because I can't be true to myself if I don't. Is the possibility that I might hook up more important to me than my deeply held principles. A more cynical person would say of course, swallow your pride, and try to get some. I now say screw that. Shakepere once wrote "to thine own self be true", and I will, least I end up a hypocrite.

So here's what I believe. It's not PC, it's been said by others, but I'm hiding behind my "nice guy" persona any longer. First of all, I don't think we were lied to about WMD. I think they were there. Where are they now? Possibly Syria. But I think they were there, and for the record, I think it could take a long time to find them if they are(people who started getting antsy after the first 4 weeks never wanted us to succeed in the first place)

I believe that even if no WMD are found, they were just a part of the reason we went after Saddam. I think his being gone is a good thing, and I think it has exerted positive pressure on the Palestinians, the Iranians, and our dubious "ally" Saudia Arabia. The world is not, as a ranting Howard Dean would put it, a less safe place with Saddam gone, and anyone who says this is in my mind an idiot(I'm looking at you, Salon.com)

I think that the Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action last week was one of the worst decisions in the court's history. Not only does it make descrimination constitutional, it makes it virtually impossible for a University to set up a coherent system. No guidelines were laid down. The majority opinion by Sandra Day O'Conner was bizzare and seemed to me, a person who has only taken one Constitutional Law class, to be insipidly stupid. I think that the party atmosphere that surrounded the decision at the University of Michigan was bizzare. Who celebrates descrimination like that? I think Martin Luther King's dream died a bit last week. What happened to being judged on the content of character? That was a sad day for America. Even worse was Maureen Dowd's truly racist column that said that Clarence Thomas wasn't showing enough appreciation for the preferential treatment he got by voting against AA. I don't have the link here, but I've read enough feedback by angry liberals who don't agree with Thomas and generally like Down to know that any fair minded person, right ot left, cannot doubt the sincerity of his beliefs.

On the other hand, I think the court did a good think striking down the anti-sodomy statute. I mean, what was the point? Blatant discrimination gets thumbs up one day, and thumbs down the next. Makes no sense, but hey, who ever said they had to make sense. I also think it's funny about how liberals who were, just two weeks ago, still convinced that a judicial conspiracy within the court put Dubya in office now praise it for it's "fairmindedness". I'll give them credit for not being partisan, sure, but I also think they make really wierd decisions sometimes and have a tendency to invent rights that never existed in the first place. But not on the sodomy statute. That was just good law at work by the Supremes that day.

I belive that George W. Bush is not evil, nor is he dumb. I've been around public speakers enough in my time to know that not everyone who is a great public speaker is a genius, and that not everyone who stumbles over words is a moron. I don't think Bush is a genius, but he shows considerable political savvy and he is not, as someone I talked to this weekend suggested, controlled by Big Oil, Dick Cheney, or any other outside influence. You think Dick Cheney wanted Medicare reform?

I also do not belive that corporations are inherentley evil. A corporation exists to make money, to innovate and to provide services for a cost. Just because they have a lot of money does not make them bad. Do people in corporations abuse their power? obviously they do, but backing them or being in favor of a free market does not make you evil or anything else. It makes you a capitalist, and while I'm all for regulation, I think some of the more "poulist(read socialist)" ideas regarding corporations pushed by the left are just plain wrong.

I support the rights of workers to unionize, but I do not beleive that unions should be above critisizism, espeically teachers unions. Many on the left think it's the GOP's fault that so many states have had education funding problems. Gary Truedeau, who now seems more bitter than clever, heeped the blame for the Oregon school mess on every Republican he could think of in his "Doonesbury" comic. Later, it came out that the problem was due to many factors, none of which could be traced back to the federal level, and many that had to do with teachers unions demands. I believe that teachers should unionize for fair wages and benefits. I don't believe they should hold our school hostage.

I don't belive in the death penalty. Simply can't make it work in my mind. However, I would support the execution of terrorist leaders. Why? Quite simply, these men(and women) are too dangerous to be allowed to live. Locked up, they can still plan. Dead, they do no harm. Making martyrs of them may stir up some fundamentalists, but if you take away the teachers of terror, no new students will sign up. Otherwise, however, for regular death penalty cases in the US, I think life in prison is harsher than death.

I believe that Pot should be legal. I don't smoke it, but I really don't care if someone else does. It will bring a new source of tax revenue into the government, and I don't think there will be a big swing in use of harder drugs. Laws regulating it's use(such as no smoking pot and driving)would be useful, but all in all I see no great harm from it. But only Pot.

I think that Hollywood types should shut up about policy. On everything. I hate seeing stars on the hill commenting on issues they no nothing about(yeah, it brings attention to the issue, but let them be your spokesman, don't send them in as experts) I don't belive in boycotting actors based on their views, which is why I continue to enjoy the talents of Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins, and John Cusak. However, I do think that when they make stupid comments(Garrafalo, I'm looking at you) they should be held just as accountable as I would be or the people they critisize are. It's called free speech, and it's a two-way street.

I believe that for a group that prides itself on open-mindedness, liberals in general are surprisingly close-minded. I have found that they quickly dismiss those who disagree with them in very negative terms, and rarely listen to the other side. This is, of course, true of conservatives as well in some cases, but when I read National Reveiew and then read Salon, I notice that conservatives don't tow out words like "unamerican" nearly as often as theya re accused of, and that liberals say "nazi, facist, and evil" a lot in place of actual arguments. It's not a healthy way to debate.

I believe that I will never judge a person based solely on their political point of view, unless that person in a member of the KKK, Aryan Nation, Hamas, Hezbollah, of French(just kidding about the last one). A person should be judged on their individual merits, not on how they vote. I don't think that Democrats are evil or stupid or ignorant. I just disagree with them a lot of the time. I will not hide who I am, and being a Republican is part of who I am, like it or not people. If you dismiss me for that, and that alone, you are no better than the Rush Limbaughs and Paul Begalas of the world. I pledge that I will always keep an open mind. Can I expect the same from the rest of you? I hope so.
:: C.M. Burns 6/30/2003 03:05:00 PM [+] :: ::
Chicago Porch Disaster-Tragedy Hits Home

Most people are now aware of the Chicago porch party that ended in disaster Saturday night when the third story porch just suddenly collapsed and crushed the other two porches beneath it, killing 12 and injuring 52. I saw the article yesterday when I woke up at cnn.com, and I clicked on it because it took place in Chi-town, my hometown. Then, I read in shock that the partygoers were early 20's types who all went to my high school at about the same time I did. I read in disbelief as an old friend of mine, who I haven't really seen since high schoo, gave the AP an interview. Then I saw the list of the dead, and I recognized I couple names, at least enough to go look in my old yearbook. They were a year or so behind me, but I knew them, all right. I started to get calls from old friends from HS that I still talk to, and it even turns out that one of my closest friends, who just moved back to Chicago, was invited to the party. He didn't go. But he said that he saw more people we knew among the injured, and that a guy I was on the debate team with lost his fiance in the crash. It was a pretty terrible day. I've always been cynical about High School, because in the end High School sucks, but I realized how much it connects you to the people who went through those shitty 4 years with you. It's sad. I'm praying for those folks, I really am. And for the first time in my life, I've been touched by early death. It's not fun. If you're reading this, perhaps you could pray for them as well.
:: C.M. Burns 6/30/2003 10:31:00 AM [+] :: ::
Drew Barrymore Sucks-and I'm Not the Only One Who thinks so, you evil bastards!

Caught the new "Charlies Angels" this weekend. Why? Because I have this thing for Cameron Diaz, and I've thought Lucy Liu was cool ever since she played the dominatrix in "Payback"(underatted Mel Gibson movie). Well, the movie sucked. Hard. The first one was Shakespere compared to this, this, flash of images that was projected on screen(note to filmmakers-Crispin Glover is much more interesting to watch than that guy with the bad Irish Brogue). The CGI made me think that perhaps the Hulk was played by a big guy with a steroid Habit. It was that bad. And I blame two people for turning what should be entertaining cheescake into sad, dull, painful cheesecake: McG, the alleged 'director' of the film, and Drew Barrymore. Until I read this article in FameTracker on thier Drew Dislike I thought I was the only straight young adult male in the Western World who didn't like her. I was wrong! Yay! Anyway, I don't hate her like I hate, say, that annoying family from Utah who's kid got kidnapped becuase they let strangers roof their house(what was that guy's name again. I know I hate them, it's just that I've forgotten. I suppose that's a good thing). I just want her to go away, or produce and stop acting, and for God's sake grow up. She's almost thirty and my 17 year old brother is more in touch with reality. God.
:: C.M. Burns 6/30/2003 10:16:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, June 23, 2003 ::
Have The Democrats Gone Mad?

The below article is a bit of a companion piece to the Jane Galt article I linked to on the theory that those out of power are insane, and those in power are smug. However, this looks a little deeper at the current attitude of the Democrats, who see conspiracy and evil in the GOP like never before. Writer David Brooks asks if this is just rhetoric or if the Democrats really believe that Dubya is the Devil incarnate. In "Democrats Go Off the Cliff" he comes to the conclusion that they may, in fact, be out of their minds. I like my Dem friends, and I don't think they are crazy, but what Brooks writes about current Democratic attitudes, I hear them say almost every day. Good read.
:: C.M. Burns 6/23/2003 09:50:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, June 19, 2003 ::
France's Shame

This story is just shocking. It takes alot to appal me, but still, this is rough. It turns out that all over Europe today, Iranians are setting themselves on fire to protest European government's support for the current Iranian regime. France, that beacon of freedom and enlightenment, showed it's true colors by cracking down on Iranian dissidents protesting their homeland's oppressive government. The French are doing the mullah's work for them. What will the left say to this? Wasn't France this great country, a peacemaker? Well, the truth has always been that France looks out for one country-France. Their opposition to the War in Iraq was the true Blood for Oil case, as they were willing to see innocent Iraqi's slaughtered or tortured by their own oppressive government so that they could keep their oil contracts. Now, the French government is not supporting the Iranian dissidents and is in fact rounding up Iranian dissidents in France for protesting the religious extremists in charge of Iran. Why? Because France has a very large fundamentalist muslim population that they don't want to piss off. This also explains the latent acceptance of anti-Semitisim the French governemt accepts. I find it ironic how the French were looked at as such Humanitarians by the Left during the months leading up to the war. I think that I can no longer stand their stunning hypocrisy.

To read the full article on these disturbing events, click here: Iranian fire protests in Paris.
:: C.M. Burns 6/19/2003 02:40:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 ::
What's Wrong with Politics Today? Jane Galt Sums up my Feelings

Jane Galt, an NYC blogger with a long history of common sense, sums up why political discourse is spinning out of control in todays world. In what she has dubbed"Janes La" she writes that the party in power is always smug and aroggant, while the party out of power is insane. She cites not just Democrats hytsteria that Bush is Satan, but the Republican's obsession with Clinton in the 90's. It's what I've been thinking for a while, and she has elegantly put it to words. Go read.
:: C.M. Burns 6/17/2003 09:50:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, June 13, 2003 ::
The Real Che

One of the most stunningly stupid things I see in Hollywood and in various protest marches is the worship of Che Guevera, Marxist/Stalinist/murdering "revolutionary" who got himself killed by the Bolivian Army in the 60's while trying to create, in his words "a thousand Vietnams". In this week's New York Observer, writer Lawrence Osbourne takes off the mask of Che that Hollywood and scoial activists have put on him in his funny and imformative article "Che Trippers".

Che was nothing more that a murderous thug who bought his own press, is essentially the gist of the article. The only really funny part is the reason Che's little revolution in Bolivia failed to ferment and got him killed. From the article:

'In fact, Bolivians had their own Revolucion Nacional, which began in 1952. It was one of the few genuinely popular uprisings in Latin American history (no Hollywood films planned on that one, though), and, by 1964, it had produced the wily, Quechua-speaking Bolivian president, René Barrientos. The poster boy from Rosario and his band of foreigners stood no chance. Besides, the Bolivian Army spent most of its time building roads in rural areas and was therefore actually popular with the peasantry. Che was furious—and dumbfounded—that they actively preferred the army to his merry band of insurgents.

Anyway, if I ever see someone talking about Che as a hero I will immediately decide that that person is either a moron or an inhuman monster who cares nothing for human life. Read the article. It's quite an education on the man Hollywood doesn't want you to know.
:: C.M. Burns 6/13/2003 10:48:00 AM [+] :: ::
RIP, Gregory Peck & David Brinkley

America lost two great media personalities yesterday, David Brinkley, venerated Newsman, and Gregory Peck, one of the finest actors of all time. I know more about Movies than Mr. Brinkley's career, so I'll just say that anyone who could host a show and have to moderate debates between George Will and Sam Donaldson without shooting them both had to be a tough guy, and Brinkley was. He was a great, objective journalist, and a credit to his proffession, and TV news is a poorer place for his loss.

On to Mr. Peck. Gregory Peck stared in over 50 films, including "The Guns of Navarone", "The Boys from Brazil", and, of course, "To Kill a Mockingbird". "Guns" is a fantastic WWII tale, and Peck is great as the American commander of the mission. "The Boys From Brazil", in which Peck went against type to play evil Nazi doctor Joseph Mengale, is pure camp hilarity now, but Peck took his role so seriously that his performance is still memorable to this day as an excellent personification of evil. He is best known, however, for one of the finest roles any actor ever got to play, Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird". In grade school we read the novel, which is a classic and which I still have on my shelf. After we read the book, as a treat we got to watch the movie. Peck was the very personification of Finch, he was exactly as you might imagine him to be, and when the AFI, an orginization who's rankings I usually despise, named him Film's greatest hero, I couldn't have agreed more. A single father who risks so much to defend an innocent man that the rest of the town wants hung simply because he is black in the racist south. Peck's performance is so perfect that I have the DVD on my shelf, as well. Rarely do great novels make great movies, usually it's poor novels that make great movies, or great novels that make poor movies(pick any Steven King film, and "Misery" and "The Shining" don't count because the books aren't nearly as good as his other stuff and the movies are too perfect).
So it's rare that all these forms of media click, and it's Peck that makes it happen. He's just fantastic.

"On the Beach", the post-apocalyptic tale of the last US Submarine in a doomed Australia is another of my favorite Peck films, as he plays the Captain who tries to keep order on his ship and in his heart, as he knows his whole family is dead, and yet finds love breifley and wondefully in the last days of man on Earth. Great movie, great peformances from the entire cast.

Peck's career stretched 50 years, and he won his only Oscar for "To Kill a Mockingbird", but he's been honored so much it doesn't matter. He was one of my favorite actors, and always will be. He lived a full, independent life, and in a day and age when entertainment is so...polluted with poor talent and character, his is a legacy that should stand for future generations. God bless you, sir.
:: C.M. Burns 6/13/2003 10:23:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, June 06, 2003 ::
Goodbye Sprint!

In a great move for frustrated cellphone customers like myself, a Federal court ruled today that Consumers Can Keep their old Phone Numbers when switching between wireless services. This backed up a recent FCC ruling that ordered all wireless companies to place mechanisims for consumers to switch services but not numbers by the end of Novemeber. That date still stands. The ruling is being hailed by consumer advocates, and by yours truly, who really wants out of Sprint, but doesn't want to lose the number I've had for three years. Oddly, the same consumer advocates who beat up the FCC over deregulating media ownership praised the panel's original decision. So maybe there was honest market ideology behind that controversial ruling after all?
:: C.M. Burns 6/06/2003 02:33:00 PM [+] :: ::
Notes on the Toruism Menace

Well, it's officially tourist season here in Washington. How do I know? Well, the Metro is packed with people who don't know that you stand on the right side of the escalator and walk up the left. This is annoying, and it's just gonna get worse. All of the trendy places to eat in town will be packed(actually this is a good thing, as tourists never go to the GOOD resturants). You won't be able to relax on the Mall as much as the moronic groups will be parading about and shouting. And the saddest thing is that these people probably won't even come away from the experience with any meaningful impact. All the kids will just remember the Air & Space museum, which is a great place don't get me wrong, but still. The adults will be older, snap photos, and complain, and there will be whole platoons of people taking pictures of the damn metro. I'm not kidding. I've seen it happen. People actually stand by or IN Metro cars and snap photos. Like they've never seen a train before(actually if you're from the south or the midwest, not including Illinois, Michigan, Indiana & Wisconsin, you probably haven't) It's all so fucking annoying that it makes me wish that the government simply move all the museums and tourists spots to an empy field in, say, Alaska, and leave the Federal bums like myself the rest of the town. We've already seen everything. No loss for us. Or maybe we should just move all the Federal offices to Hawaii. Yeah, that's a better idea. Oh well, it won't cahnge soon, and as I fight to get on a Metro car I'll be damning all these bermuda shorts-wearing, pot-bellied, slack-jawed yokels to the firey depths of Hades, because they will probably end up breaking the damn Metro doors, or falling in front of a train, or keep me from getting to work on time. Jerks.
:: C.M. Burns 6/06/2003 10:16:00 AM [+] :: ::
Remembering The Longest Day

Today is June 6, the 59th anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Normandy, a day when many gave their lives so that freedom and deocracy could live. For all the veterans out there who were a part of D-Day, I thank you.

One of the most beautiful places I visited in France was Normandy. I went with my family to the American cemetary there, which overlooks Omaha beach, the site of the worst Allied losses. It's a moving, sad, yet inspirational place. To have the courage those who are lain to rest there did is something I can only dream of. I only hope that we are doing right by them today.
:: C.M. Burns 6/06/2003 10:01:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::
E-Mail Ruining More Than Just the Post Office

The rise of email in government correspondence is leading to what Fred Kaplan calls The End of History in a column at Slate. He relates how future historians, which may include yours truly, will have a difficult time piecing together the decision making process on many of the major military actions of the past 12 years, as E-Mail has replaced the old Gov't practice of memoing and carbon copying all correspondence in the Pentagon. Now, things are emailed and deleted, and many records of decisions are lost. Which is a shame, really. So while hurting the post office, grammer, spelling, caligraphy and the lost art of letter writing, E-Mail is now destroying history. Damn it. Aren't you glad Blogger keeps an archives of my rants?
:: C.M. Burns 6/05/2003 10:30:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 ::
A good argument for Home Schooling

I'm not one for home schooling. Sure, the kids are usually smarter than the rest of their age group, but the kids are about as extroverted as a shut-in. However, I saw an interview with the author of the new book, "The Language Police", on the Daily Show, and I thought maybe we can't trust text books anymore. CNN.com has this article on the book: "Language police bar 'old,' 'blind'" .

Yeah, it's bad and gets worse. You apparently can't use something like 500 words in textbooks, and both the left and the right are equally to blame. Read the article and see if it makes you as sick as it makes me. This is political correctness taken to it's logical extreme. My advice: Use these words in everyday conversation with your children. Call your school board and yell at them, ask them why Johnny can't read about the boyish blind bookworm who became a barbarian. Arggggghhhh. My kids are learning their vocabulary from old George Carlin records. I give up.
:: C.M. Burns 6/04/2003 03:16:00 PM [+] :: ::
Say It Ain't Sosa

By now the whole sports world is an an uproar over the corking incident that occured during last night's Devil Rays at Cubs game. Sammy Sosa, probably the third most beloved Chicago athelete of all time, behind Michael Jordan and Walter Payton, was using a corked bat. For those of you who don't know, this is against MLB regs, which state that a bat must be made of solid wood. Obviously, Sammy's wasn't, as demonstrated when the bat broke last night and was clearly hollow. Sosa will face at least a 7 game suspension, if not longer, and now his credibility on everything is being questioned, including whether or not he uses banned substances to improve his performance, and the legitimacy of many of his 505 home runs.

This is a giant shock for me. I admit, I love Sammy, and until they can prove otherwise, I want to believe him. He's been a positive force in Chicago since he got to the Cubs, with a big smile, a big heart, and an inspiring story. I admit my friends and I used to make fun of him a bit when he struck out all the time, but by the time of his record-breaking home run race with Mark McGuire in 1998, also the year he was named NL MVP, I loved the guy. It was hard not to. He was Chicago's own American Success Story, and he gave back to the fans.

In the past couple of years, after Jose Canseco and others admitted to taking steroids during their careers, questions about their use came to Sosa. Did he take anything? Why not take a blood test right now? Sosa never faltered, denied any illegal use on his part, and kept on playing. Now, all this is in doubt. His excuse for the bat, that he mistakenly used a batting practice bat, seems flimsy at best, but more won't be known until Baseball examines all of his bats, which they confiscated after the game. But is seems that no matter what happens, Sosa's popularity in Chi-town, and indeed across the nation, will plummet into a free-fall. Now, his records are in doubt. I will stand by him now, mainly because I want to believe he is above such things, but if faced with overwhelming evidence, still more of the child in me will die, leaving me basically with the first three years of my life, as every other illusion I've had since that time has been shattered. Great. Just what I needed. I think I'm gonna get an ulcer and a teddy bear, to sort of even things out.
:: C.M. Burns 6/04/2003 11:49:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 ::
Moron of the Week

This is so stupid it has to be true. A man called in a bomb threat to an Oregon airport in the hopes that his plane would be delayed, as he was running late. He's been arrested. If he had been somehow killed by this event, he'd be a finalist for the Darwin Awards. Read the whole strange story here.
:: C.M. Burns 6/03/2003 11:15:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, June 02, 2003 ::
Permanent Friends vs. Permanent Interests

In my first semester of grad school here in DC, my Lobbying professor, who had, in his time, been Chief of Staff to Marion Barry and head of the American Medical Association's lobbying arm, told us that in lobbying, "there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests". He told us that while relating a story about how one day the AMA is pushing a bill with the Dems, and the next week has a bill full of GOP sponsers. It made sense. Everyone had their own spot on the map, and over your career you would probably intersect with just about everyone, so keep your options open. It seemed like solid advice at the time.

More and more, as I rethink my place in politics and in Washington, I see that as being fundamentally awful idea, not just in the realm of lobbying, but in the political world as a whole. Washington politics has always been about enemies, the opposition, the people who opposed you. This can be traced as far back as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were once friends and worked on the Decleration of Independence together. Once Adams was president and Jefferson running aganinst him, it turned nasty, and the two men hardly spoke to each other again. Proving that history has a sense of irony, both died on the same day, which happened to be the Fourth of July, and if legend is to be believed, both took some comfort in the fact that the other still lived while they were on their deathbeds. So perhaps death ended their fued, or at least the prospect of death, when petty things such as political difference are seen for what they are.

Lincoln also proves the permanent interests maxim wrong. He couldn't get anyone on his side during the Civil War, not his generals, not his cabinent, not a Congress controlled by his party. They all claimed to want to save the Union, but only Lincoln was consistant in how he wanted it done. By rapid, effective force. Everyone else was busy holding a grudge against someone else. Finally he found a man who agreed in Grant, and within 15 months of appointing him Lt. General, Grant and his subordinates achieved that goal. Although Lincoln and his government had the same permanent interest, Lincoln had to rely on friends for the soundest advice and had to watch at all time for enemies.

This is demonstrated throughout history, where the flair of politics causes old friends to swear blood oaths against each other, where the field changes so rapidly that you can only trust yourself. Where EVERYONE is a potential enemy, and allies can be counted on for one vote. It's not very pleasant. Nobody likes anybody. Christine Todd Whitman, departing head of the EPA is being happily shown the door by Republicans who embraced her only two years earlier. What had she done to earn their wrath? Not much.

So what is my point to all of this? My point is that as much as we'd like to believe in a Washington where people disagree on certain things and agree on others, but always have a specific interest in mind, it's simply not the case. Partisnaship and character assasination are the halmarks of both parties, and sticking to your interests can be the death of you, if it means going against the party. Witness the Democratic filibuster of Bush Judicial nominees. It's a straight party line vote dictated by Daschel. There are moderate Dems who would cross over, except that Daschel's interests, ie leading the Democratic party, trump their convictions, their so-called permanent interests. If they want to play the game again, they have to play by a set of rules no one agreed to, and which can seemingly never be changed. Now, if we in Washington adhered to the simple ideal of loyalty to friends and thought, we might actually get things done. But with each month it gets worse. I worry myself. I good number of my friends are Democrats. I am a Republican. We are all early in our careers, and do not yet have cause to break ties. What happens if we grow in the party, however? What happens to our friendships then? Will the good times be forgotten by all in favor of towing a party line, with us only meeting when our interests are the same, and then fighting each other tooth and nail afterwords. I hope not. It's not the kind of thing that lends itself well to human nature, which is why I think both sides look at each other as less than human, as simple characatures. Looking at them as real people might lead to empathy and understanding, and neither party leader can have that.

In Washington, it's there are no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. And that's whats wrong. Because if you can't be friends with those whom you simply DISAGREE with, you can't have a meaningful relationship of any kind. At least, that's what eventually happens. It's ugly here kids, I'd stay away if I were you.
:: C.M. Burns 6/02/2003 02:27:00 PM [+] :: ::

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