Friday, June 04, 2004

Strange Bedfellows

I knew, when I backed a fundamentalist Republican president in going to war, that I would find myself in exposed positions, complexities, and contradictions. For instance, I find myself agreeing with the military analysis of Iraq put forth by Victor Davis Hanson, who often holds up U.S. Civil War General Sherman as an ideal. Yet I have spent many hours of my life execrating what Sherman did to the South. I'm still sorting that out.

What other side-effects does one suffer from standing with the "right?" Sometimes I do a body-check to see what's changed. I still find little sympathy for the "religious right's" crusade against gays. But then, even most conservatives seem to have quietly let that issue pass.

When I read about the ACLU's drive to scrub a minuscule cross off the Los Angeles County seal, though, I think it a big noise over nothing. Even before 9-11, though, I had begun to resent the zealotry of groups like the ACLU in the way their inquisitors scour every civic religious symbol from every small town. The tactics seem to create resentment unnecessarily in the issue of creating publicity.

Besides, as a pagan I was rather miffed that nobody objected to the honking big idol of Pomona, the Roman agricultural goddess, that stands beside the cross on the L.A. seal. And, by the way, if you want to get that cross off that seal, you might as well change the name "Los Angeles" to something secular.

But my temporary discomforts seem to me less painful than the sad mutations of many people on the Other Side. Nick Cohen chronicles some of them in the "New Statesman"

Disgust at the Bush administration has pushed liberal opinion around the world into the shameful position that it would not back the opponents of Saddam Hussein. The result of the breakdown in international solidarity is that an Iraqi or Kurdish socialist is more likely to get a fair hearing from the Wall Street Journal than the New York Times; the Daily Telegraph than the Independent.


The price you pay when you ally yourself with religious fundamentalists is a downgrading of the aspirations of women and gays. The Muslim Association of Britain, the British branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that [George] Galloway was a man it could do business with when he told the Independent that "abortion is morally and ethically wrong." These comments, the association said, as well as Galloway's "statements on faith and God in the same interview, will surely be welcomed by British Muslims who see Respect as a real alternative to the main political parties."