Your Turn: Conservatives foolishly mark liberals as traitors

Conservative Russell Greim has led a consistent rhetorical crusade against "liberalism" in his column "The Temporal Front." He has turned the recent elections into a melodramatic and epic battle between good (conservatives) and evil (liberals).

It is quite telling that much of Greim's imagery is militaristic, given his stance on war with Iraq. In his most recent tirade against "the liberal agenda" (Nov. 11), Greim exploits Veterans Day to further his thesis that conservatives are true patriots and liberals are traitors.

Greim has taken a page from President Bush's book on attacking political enemies by calling into question the patriotism of those who disagree with him. Greim writes, "I hesitate to call those who gather [to protest war with Iraq] traitors." He hesitates, and yet he still makes the accusation.

Such indirect and pompous accusations are inflammatory and insulting. More importantly, they are absolutely false. Greim's rhetoric smacks of McCarthyism.

Greim claims the majority of the public supports war against Iraq. He incorrectly assumes their silence means agreement with the Bush administration. Silence results from complacency and apathy, not from tacit agreement with Greim and his ultra-conservative cohorts who claim the corner on truth.

Public support for war against Iraq has waned significantly in recent weeks. Greim would have us believe liberals have poisoned the public in their attempt to "weaken the resolve of this nation." Let us not mistake the resolve of a few with the resolve of many.

The nation is not resolved; President Bush and his minions are resolved. Previous U.S. administrations helped bring Saddam Hussein to power and supported him in the war between Iran and Iraq. Our government helped create the monster, and now we want our young men and women to be responsible for fighting a war against that monster.

I have seen the effect of war on soldiers: war is the most dehumanizing force in existence. Perhaps Greim and others who view war as a noble and just cause should read Wilfred Owen's poem "Dulce et Decorum Est." If Greim wants to talk about irony, he should consider why arm-chair warriors send our young men and women to die for a conflict they had no part in establishing.

It is too simplistic to view situations like this in terms of black and white. It is comforting, it is reassuring, but it is not accurate. Personally, I am more frightened of people like Russell Greim than of madmen like Saddam Hussein: Saddam lives half a world away, Greim lives right here in Central Indiana.

I fear anyone who believes they know the absolute Truth; I fear anyone who claims, however implicitly, to be Plato's Philosopher-King; I fear anyone who is arrogant and short-sighted enough to write "no one will ever change my mind." I suspect a draft notice may change a lot of young minds.

One of the cornerstones of liberal education is growing and developing as an intellectual being. Most professors teach because they enjoy challenging themselves, and others, to continually grow and develop intellectually. Most people's minds are continually changing. Apparently, Greim has developed more in two decades of life than most people do in the life-span of 70 years.

But maybe, just maybe, Mr. Greim needs to take a closer look in the mirror before he calls liberals evil and anti-war demonstrators traitors.


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