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Thursday, August 9, 2007
posted by jason | 5:23 PM | permalink
Jim Geraghty took the time to respond to my post, and in the process offered up some rather compelling arguments. To sum it up:

My definition of “supporting our nation” is larger than his.

Not that I could change his mind, but I have a few quibbles relating to how he comes to his definition.

I'd rather define "the national interest" a bit more narrowly, by limiting it to circumstances where the benefit (or at least potential benefit) to everyone is clear. Serving the country in uniform, or even working as a fireman, or cop, or first responder, or even most volunteer work, or even donating blood - that I would contend all fits the definition of national service, because you're giving something of yourself for a cause that benefits everyone. Even though the "not in my name" crowd might insist that they don't want the U.S. military to do anything, their denial doesn't refute the fact that we're all safer, and our lives are better, because of their efforts and their sacrifice. (And their families, for that matter.) Ditto for all the other groups I've mentioned, and the ones that I'll inevitably be reminded of - our intelligence agencies, our diplomats, the CDC, our doctors. Think of where we'd be if the sanitation guys didn't pick up the garbage twice a week.

Jim makes the case that the term “supporting your nation” should be limited to, “circumstances where the benefit (or at least potential benefit) to everyone is clear.” The argument is now statistical. Everybody means 100%

Do any of the mentioned jobs Geraghty mentions fail to meet the 100% standard Geraghty now sets? Can we knock any of them down to 99% or lower?

Let’s try Doctors. Ask the homeopath, religious zealot who does not believe in medical care or even those who can't afford there bills if doctors are supporting our nation. Policemen? Ask the residents of Signal Hill California in the 1960's or the libertarian pulled over for a seatbelt ticket. Trash Man? Ask the prosecutor who is fighting the mob and exposing the shell operations of landfills. CDC? Ask the medical conspiracy theorist/ John Birchers. Intelligence Officers? Ask those who think the CIA oversteps there bounds. The list could go on. Geraghty agrees that even serving in the military as “service to our nation” is disputable to a certain segment of the population.

None of these vocations enjoy a 100% approval rating, yet I would say they all support our nation.

Where do we draw the line? When a certain job meets 95% approval is it now worthy of the category of supporting our nationn? 75%? 50%? Where is the cut off? I think you get my point.

Jason Bonham makes the case that supporting conservative causes is in the best interest of the country - and I agree with him. But I also recognize that a big chunk of the country disagrees, and that that chunk's ideas of "the national interest" would make me recoil. So I'm a little wary of defining supporting a particular candidate as a form of serving your country for a couple of reaons. Would that make voting for the other guy a form of opposing your country? Is voting for the other candidate a mild form of treason?

He is right, and I thought of that while writing my original article. But remember our world survives on adversity and opposites. All things partisan need polar opposites. It's the Yin and the Yang. Or nation's government was set up on the notion there would be opposing views, and that colliding opposing views -in the end- would serve our national interest. Our system of government has three distinct branches, but through the system of checks and balances we arrive at a point of pragmatism that allows us to move forward. If we all had the same agenda and philosophy, we would have no need of separation of powers, or a representative legislature. We would be surrounded by “yes” men and soon be in trouble. These opposing views challenge us to think and work harder, thus serving our nations interest.

Now some views represented area diametrically opposed to the good of the nation, such as an anarchist or infanticide. Yet it is no more reasonable to say all in the political process are now no longer supporting our nation because of a few bad eggs. It would be like saying cops don’t support our nation because some are rogue.

In conclusion it's all subjective. For Romney and those who agree with his stances it is perfectly acceptable to say by supporting him you are supporting the nation as it would be for any candidate. Many may not agree, but it certainly was not out of the realm of possibility.

I should just add, I don't disagree that this statement was politically unwise, it obviously was, I just disagree that the statement on it's own holds no basis.
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Hopefully this ends the semantic squabble over the use of "supporting our nation".

I don't think I'm alone in saying "Nobody really cares!!!"

Can anyone really justify this as significant?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 10, 2007 at 11:15 AM  

As silly as this whole argument is, I think Mitt's answer as to why his sons don't serve in the military was ill-conceived. The correct answer would have been that we have a volunteer military and none of his sons chose to serve the country in that way. Instead, they chose to serve as a doctor, a corporate officer, a real estate developer, etc. Are any of those less essential than soldiers? (In no way to I mean to degrade the high esteem in which we should hold our soldiers.)


I agree generally, but if i were Mitt I would not even mention alternative types of service. Just explain the concept of the volunteer army, say he respects his sons decision and is proud of them for leading good lives. Then move on to the next topic.

Playing the comparison game will never be effective, no matter how reasonable the comparison is.

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