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Are You a Reactionary?
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I'm currently listening to Thomas Friedman's post-9/11 essay collection "Longitudes and Attitudes" on audiobook.

He won the Pulitzer for commentary last year, and rightly so. Friedman is consistently intelligent and fair-minded. His op-eds are rational and passionate at the same time, and he's one of the few people who's comments I actually look forward to.

In one of his pre-9/11 editorials, he talks about Al Gore's concession to George W. Bush during the debacle of the 2000 elections. Friedman disagrees vehemently with the Supreme Court's decision, but he also echoes Gore's sentiment that the election is settled, and that Bush should now be recognized as the legitimate leader of the United States. In other words, enough grousing already. It's over. Bush is our president.

The point is, I've heard Friedman agree and disagree with an individual leader's policies (sometimes within the same piece). He's able to distinguish the worthwhile things a particular leader does from what they do wrong.

This, folks, is what separates a thinker from a reactionary.

Look, there are lots of things I don't like about our President, and many of his policies I disagree with. Just in his first year I thought these particular policies were incredibly stupid:

--Federal support for "faith-based" charities
--A missile defense shield
--America abstaining from the Kyoto treaty

And there are more. But I happen to believe that the Bush Administration's handling of Afghanistan and its current aggressive posture toward Iraq are both sound policy.

You don't have to necessarily agree with those particular policies. But if you disagree with every single thing that comes out of any Bush official's mouth, if you can't acknowledge anything that the man has done right as President...guess what?

You're a reactionary.

And guess what else? I'm sick of reactionary attitudes in politics. Some people are so partisan, they feel that if they agree with even one policy position of The Other Side, they'll be selling out. You can see this in the way the Republican's treat a moderate, like John McCain, who dares to challenge even one piece of Republican orthodoxy. You can see it in the cries of some Democrats about representatives "selling out" on the war (what if, is there even a small chance, that it was the right vote to make? Hmm?).

So here's a little litmus test: Think about the politician you disagree with the most. Go on. Now, if you can't acknowledge one single positive thing they've done, you might want to flex your brain just a little bit more.

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