Even at contentious protests, it’s possible to find common ground – addendum


I did not mention, in the article, that I ran into a couple of friends there. They were on the anti-Bush side. They were full-on kook-fringe types. I’ll bet that when they sit down to talk national politics, it’s not about whether or not “No Child Left Behind” is working, it’s about whether or not Bush is the Anti-Christ. (I actually have a Democrat friend who made that suggestion)

Now, I have many policy and philosophical differences with President Bush. He’s certainly no libertarian, nor is he particularly conservative, but I do not feel the need to create a fantasy world in which President Bush vacillates between being an evil genius and a total moron. I think he’s a good man, just wrong on a lot of stuff.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Yeah, well, you sure were critical of Clinton when he was president.” C’mon, you don’t have to pay close attention to see the difference. I’m not aware of anyone who called Clinton evil, or a Nazi, much less the Anti-Christ. President Clinton was criticized for illegalities ranging from hosing the subordinate at the workplace on the clock (textbook sexual harassment), to selling missile technology to the People’s Republic of China for campaign money (illegal campaign funding). When he did stuff that the conservatives liked (NAFTA, welfare reform), they praised him. Is that sort of fair treatment too much to expect from Democrats regarding Bush?

Anyway, I asked one of my friends, an older woman, why she hated Bush so much. She said that he’s destroying the Constitution. I challenged her to give me an example of his extra-constitutional activities. She told me that he appointed judges when Congress was not in session.

“Yes,” I said, “They’re called ‘recess appointments’”.

“I know what they’re called,” she said, acting a little offended.

I explained that recess appointments were not some evil thing that Karl Rove developed in the White House basement. They’ve been around for a long time. She said that she new that, but Bush made a lot of them.

I pointed out that if the Democrats had not blocked the voting with filibusters, he would not have to make any recess appointments. I was about to point out that if anyone created a new evil thing with which to destroy the Constitution, it was the Democrats and their new application of the filibuster which changed the votes necessary to confirm a judge from a simple majority to a de-facto super majority!

Alas, I could feel my anger rising along with my voice; worse yet, I could see the same thing beginning in my friend. I changed the subject. We finished our conversation saying that it was nice that we could be friends and disagree, blah, blah, blah.

Though I failed in my quest for reasoned conversation, I witnessed some successes that day when other people crossed over to the other side and spoke one on one.

There is always hope.