Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Humanizing the Enemy


OK. Even I have to admit. My heart thawed the merest trifle. Like on Thanksgiving and the turkey you thought would never thaw finally gives just a little when you press hard enough in the right spot.

Before the week is over you will have heard more than you ever wanted to know about Jenna Bush calling her Dad while she was on the Ellen Show. I watched the clip this morning on the Today Show and it is as heartwarming and genuine a moment as I have ever heard from our president.

Jenna Bush's faith in her parents is unassailable. She was nervous, as any of us might be, calling the President of the United States out of the blue. What if he had been in the middle of something - like world peace - but she caught her parents at a good moment. Laura answers and after a bit puts George on the phone.

And his love and caring cannot be faked. His voice is definitively George Bush, but it's not the George Bush we're used to hearing - the slightly baffled, decidedly uncomfortable public speaker; the unrelentingly stubborn and uncompromising President.

With his daughter, he's on terra firma and he's happy, genuinely happy, just to have her own the phone. He can't fake it; he's just not that good an actor, as we have learned over the past six years.

And the audience said, just as I did..."awww".

So after years of trying, they found the right spot to press with me. Bush is a parent. Bush's life as a rich white guy means he has lived a life I will never truly understand and I know he would never understand mine as a poor black woman. Even so, should the unlikely event occur, that we would ever meet George Bush and I have at least one bit of common ground.

After I thought about it a bit, the phrase "Humanizing the Enemy" came to mind. I immediately questioned that thought. For all that I do not like George Bush's policies, he is our President and it is hard to regard him as an enemy. It comes down to this: Are George Bush and Deb Lite fighting for the same side. In the end, I don't think we are. We have some goals in common: I would like to see an end terrorism and assurances of our continued access to oil resources as a matter of national necessity. I'd like to see Osama Bin Laden rot in jail. I'd like Peace in the Middle East.

The problem is, I'm not sure the President actually has those goals. And if those are his goals, I certainly don't like the way he's gone about trying to achieve them. He may not be an enemy to me, but he has proven to be an enemy to American ideals, to our constitution and our country; to truth and justice - and he has done it by masquerading his misdeeds as the American way.

In the end, I believe he is fighting for the privileged few to control....well, everything and everyone. And I believe in opportunity, liberty and justice for all. That does make him a foe of sorts.

I did a Google search this morning on that phrase, "Humanizing the Enemy" and turned up this (LINK GOES TO BLOG: The Rudy Word):
Humanizing the enemy is not the same as giving them comfort or being sympathetic to their cause. Many in the public sphere (politicians, pundits, etc.) would like to conflate the ideas of humanizing someone and comforting them. They are very different (thus the two different words in our language). It is my belief that humanizing the enemy, in this day in age, in this war on terror(ism), is the only way to win. By humanizing the enemy you can at once begin to understand them and their motives. Demonizing them only serves to give us a blank check of comfort in our efforts, but it is a false comfort at that. We can no longer play the "they are the anti-thesis of us" game. If we are to achieve victory, it will be because we begin to see every gray area our current time has created. Anything less will only ensure complete failure, if not in the present then in the near future.
Now if we can only convince George Bush to see the human side of his three front war with the same determination that we seek out the spark of humanity left in him.

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