Straw Men, Sticks, and Stones

Down to the same level? I've thought a lot about Hugo Chavez UN speech. My first reaction, of course, was "Right on, hombre!!! Reconsidering, I wonder whether he was wise in, among other rhetoric, to call Bush "an alcoholic" and "the devil".

Let me make several brief points:

  • attacking Bush with name calling (even though he's right) was adolescent at best. As I've said many times before, Bush ain't the problem - he works for folks who are much more powerful and evil

  • he would have been much more effective if he had spent more time talking about the reality and potential of the democratic counter-revolution spreading through South and Central America. A question, however, is whether he was actually trying to distract us from his mixed record. As Ecuador's La Hora points out . . .
    After seven and a half years as president, with inflation in Venezuela at 15 percent, unemployment at 13 percent as of 2005 (11% higher than at the beginning of his mandate), and with a poverty level reaching 55 percent in 2003, which according to the most recent data was 47 percent in 2004, Mr. Hugo Chavez seems to have forgotten the reason he was elected: To improve the living conditions of his people, and not to get involved in matters that don't concern him.

    Beyond the spectacle that he puts on at every stop of his round-the-world tour -which is all that his presidency amounts to - and the laughter that he elicits by making a mockery of George W. Bush (of course, with no lack of motive), Hugo Chavez has taken upon himself attributes that don't correspond to him, believe himself capable of imposing his will on several Latin-American countries.

    To be precise, while continuing to incite against the imperialism of the United States, he has thoughtlessly intervened in the electoral processes of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia . . .
    Under the circumstances, might Hugo be a pot calling the kettle black?

  • Chavez had an immense opportunity to take the high road and present sophistication and benevolence. Instead, he at times has demonstrated a Khrushchev-like crudeness that has diminished his image as the leftist, democratically-elected leader of a strong, emerging nation

Name calling: the Left's conundrum. I'm beginning to find some of the name-calling by both the Right and Left extremely offensive. I've made no secret here that I'm a bisexual who has struggled with mental illness, alcoholism, and addiction. I have documented here that during the past six weeks or so I've had a difficult recurrence of all three. I'm better, thanks.

Needless to say, my track record over the years hasn't been great. But remember, these are not character deficiencies, but illnesses. There have been occasional claims that Bush is drinking again, but there's little, if any, hard proof. And even if he is, I think the Left is better served by compassion than by disingenuous innuendo and vilification. He wouldn't be the first nor last White House occupant who's used some aberrant behavior in response to the enormous pressure of his office.

As to the accusations that Bush has a history of homosexual behavior, here's Wayne Madsen:
Sep. 26, 2006 -- According to individuals who investigated George W. Bush's stint in the 147th Fighter Group of the Texas Air National Guard (TANG), the GOP's top dirty tricksters, notably Karl Rove and Roger Stone, interceded to derail the investigation and, instead, have CBS focus on Bush's faxed, scanned, and Xeroxed original TANG records -- which were later hyped by the right-wing media as fakes.

The reason for the GOP's concern was that the investigation was getting dangerously close to exposing Bush's suspected homosexual activity with other members of his TANG unit. Given the times and culture of the early 1970s, investigators were surprised to discover Bush's frequent association with an abundant number of gays in the unit, which was nicknamed the "Champagne Unit." Bush's homosexuality is the bête noire of Bush's past for GOP political operatives, precisely because of the anti-gay stance of the Republican right and its Christian fundamentalist base.

In 1976, the Bush family sent George W. Bush to El Paso's Worthy Creations, a Christian gay conversion center. From that time on, Bush became a tool of the Christian right and a self-hating homosexual. The investigation of Bush's gay activities in the TANG unit would have unraveled Bush's new "straight" persona. The GOP went to battle stations to prevent Bush's past from being resurrected . . .
So what? What did you expect? This is just politics as usual. Both parties have often suppressed information about candidates' "youthful indiscretions". He ain't the only citizen who doesn't want to be outed. Most important, the hypocrisy of the Left in advocating for homosexual rights, but attacking a closeted, "reformed" bisexual is more shameful than Bush's hypocrisy in hiding his past and presently being so anti-gay.

I recommend that the Left abandon these issues, since there are so many other things that disqualify him for his job.

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