Proudest Enemy? Please.

 

During Tuesday’s debate, Democrats were asked which enemy they were most proud of making. Lincoln Chaffee claimed the coal lobby; Martin O’Malley cited the NRA; Hillary Clinton agreed with O’Malley, but added “the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians, probably the Republicans;” Senator Bernie Sanders claimed Wall Street and the pharmaceutical Industry as being “at the top of my list;” and Jim Webb said it was the man who threw a grenade that would have killed a US Marine were it not for Webb’s heroism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t48MyL5QdAc

Naturally, Webb’s answer was unwelcome in a Democratic Party that often seems ashamed of Western Civilization, and of any efforts spent defending (or worse, expanding) it. Webb is the candidate for the people whom the Democratic party left. Another good answer would have been to reject the question.

I’m not proud of any enemy I’ve made. My goal is to work with people who have different ideas, different world views, and different goals, and to try to find the areas where we agree and can work together.

Sure, there are extreme cases where you have to shun somebody — say a rapist or mass-murderer — but the coal industry? The NRA? The other party? Civil society requires recognizing that most people with whom we disagree are good people trying to do something good.

On the abortion issue, for example, we should not think of it as an argument between those who like to kill babies and those who like to dominate women. Rather, it’s an argument between those focused on a woman’s right to her own body and those focused on saving the unborn baby inside it.

If we respected the other side and understood their concerns, we’d have a better chance of influencing them, and of advancing our cause. We’ll save more babies when we acknowledge that pro-choice activists have real concerns about women being coerced to go through long and painful procedures. They’ll have a better chance of helping women when they acknowledge that you don’t have to hate them in order to want to protect unborn babies from being killed and their organs harvested and sold.

Henry Adams said that “Politics, as a practise, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” But President Obama was elected largely because he promised to move beyond partisan politics. If we hope to do the same, we should not be proud of making enemies.

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  1. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    That attitude will never get you total power.  You must demonize your competition or they have wiggle room when you go after them with more than just words.

    • #1
  2. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Thank you for this post!

    • #2
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Iranian mullahs,who refer to the USA as “The Great Satan”, are just negotiating partners but our mortal enemies are American stockbrokers, coal miners, and gun owners. That tells me everything I need to know about the Democrat party.

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I think this article while well written is equally naive.

    I don’t think there is much that is civil about our society and people with whom I disagree – progressives – are not good people trying to do something good. They are trying to take our property, liberty, and firearms and ultimately control us.

    Progressives do not want a dialogue they want control and acknowledge no limits associated with civil society to that end. They are playing a long game, but it is a game with a singular destination – destruction of individual liberty and rule over those they disdain.

    I argue that progressives and their operational wing, democrats, are as larger or larger threat than some of the international threats you mention. Specifically because progressives come to control me for my own good rather than hatred of my faith.

    Progressive’s tactics are consistent with the ends they seek. If we do not recognize our enemies, both foreign and among us, for what they are we are doomed to suffer at their hand.

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I don’t think America has a future unless both parties are reformed. I’m happy to at least see Webb in the running.

    • #5
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    On issues like abortion, both charity and clarity are necessary.

    Fear of a lonely motherhood and an overwhelming transformation of one’s own life is the typical motivation behind abortions. Sympathy is the proper and most effective starting point.

    But sympathy shouldn’t allow for dishonesty. The mother must realize that she is threatening to kill an innocent human being, her own child, to buy her freedom and comfort. A mother will only change her mind if she is made to confront the error she has latched onto in fear.

    • #6
  7. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    BrentB67: I don’t think there is much that is civil about our society and people with whom I disagree – progressives – are not good people trying to do something good. They are trying to take our property, liberty, and firearms and ultimately control us.

    Progressives do not want a dialogue they want control and acknowledge no limits associated with civil society to that end. They are playing a long game, but it is a game with a singular destination – destruction of individual liberty and rule over those they disdain.

    Great point. Our Liberty can end in bang from a foreign invader, or in a whimper as we allow the persistent progressives to slowly take it bit by bit. And the latter is probably more likely.

    • #7
  8. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Aaron Miller:

    On issues like abortion, both charity and clarity are necessary.

    Fear of a lonely motherhood and an overwhelming transformation of one’s own life is the typical motivation behind abortions. Sympathy is the proper and most effective starting point.

    But sympathy shouldn’t allow for dishonesty. The mother must realize that she is threatening to kill an innocent human being, her own child, to buy her freedom and comfort. A mother will only change her mind if she is made to confront the error she has latched onto in fear.

    One part of the abortion discussion where I cannot get charitable is with abortion’s promoters and profiteers preaching that it empowers women.

    • #8
  9. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    How disgusting and predictable that Hillary wants to be president, yet smiles when she says how proud she is of making enemies of at least  half the population.

    • #9
  10. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    The responses to this question struck me, too – the eagerness with which the candidates expressed pride in division, divisiveness, and discord do not bode well for the nation. This has been one of Obama’s recurring themes. A lack of interest in finding common ground makes everything less pleasant, and reduces the chances of finding real solutions to the issues of the day.

    • #10
  11. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    BrentB67:..

    I don’t think there is much that is civil about our society and people with whom I disagree – progressives – are not good people trying to do something good. They are trying to take our property, liberty, and firearms and ultimately control us.

    Progressives do not want a dialogue they want control and acknowledge no limits associated with civil society to that end. They are playing a long game, but it is a game with a singular destination – destruction of individual liberty and rule over those they disdain.

    I argue that progressives and their operational wing, democrats, are as larger or larger threat than some of the international threats you mention. Specifically because progressives come to control me for my own good rather than hatred of my faith.

    Progressive’s tactics are consistent with the ends they seek. If we do not recognize our enemies, both foreign and among us, for what they are we are doomed to suffer at their hand.

    I agree that the progressives’ arguments are dangerous. But as you admit, they think they’re doing it for my own good. That is, making sure I have health care, a decent wage, child care for my kids, space that’s safe from everything from guns to micro-aggressions, etc.

    Recognize how damaging these trades of liberty for security are, sure. But we could have more liberty & security if we’d work together instead of viewing each other as enemies.

    • #11
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Gil, Progressive arguments aren’t dangerous, progressives are dangerous. If you think for a second that progressives have any interest or willingness to work with you then with all due respect you aren’t naive, you are foolish.

    Progressives don’t want your cooperation, they want your property, self sufficiency, and ultimate your will to fight and live. If you reach your hand out to a jackal and it gets bitten off don’t say you haven’t been warned. You may extend your hand in cooperation to progressives I will greet them muzzle brake first.

    • #12
  13. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Gil is not being foolish. Jesus told us to love our enemies; besides being the right thing to do, love is far more effective than hatred. Some of the greatest pro life advocates are people who used to be abortionists. People change all the time, in ways both great and small; it is so much easier for people to change when they know that they will be revived with love.

    • #13
  14. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Sorry, meant to say, “received with love” :)

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Judith, I pray for my enemies as well, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous or their intentions less clear. Nothing in Christ’s commission admonishes us to feign ignorance of the evil in this world or to surrender to it.

    • #15
  16. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Brent: nothing in Gil’s post admonishes us to feign ignorance about evil or surrender to it.

    • #16
  17. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    The criticisms of the Democrats/progressives are not wrong. But I understood the post to be offering a way that even progressives could have answered the “enemies question” without appearing to be such awful people.

    • #17
  18. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Wow.  I couldn’t believe this post was real.

    Civility, comity, and mutual understanding are glorious goals when discussing where to build a sports stadium, or to decide any number of local government issues, but when the venue is war and unbridled aggression, you better get real.  Christianity is not a death cult.

    • #18
  19. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Good post. At least Bernie’s answer was abstract, not personal. Hillary doesn’t have the brain power or benign disposition to be President. She is small-minded. Oh sorry, she is allegedly “the smartest woman in the world”. To believe that is an insult to women, actually.

    • #19
  20. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Even when the venue is war, the question is, should we rejoice that we have enemies? No, we shouldn’t. I think that is all that Gil is saying.

    • #20
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    While Jim Webb isn’t my first choice for president, this is what he did:

    The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant James H. Webb, Jr. (MCSN: 0-106180), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Platoon Commander with Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 10 July 1969, while participating in a company-sized search and destroy operation deep in hostile territory, First Lieutenant Webb’s platoon discovered a well-camouflaged bunker complex which appeared to be unoccupied. Deploying his men into defensive positions, First Lieutenant Webb was advancing to the first bunker when three enemy soldiers armed with hand grenades jumped out. Reacting instantly, he grabbed the closest man and, brandishing his .45 caliber pistol at the others, apprehended all three of the soldiers. Accompanied by one of his men, he then approached the second bunker and called for the enemy to surrender. When the hostile soldiers failed to answer him and threw a grenade which detonated dangerously close to him, First Lieutenant Webb detonated a claymore mine in the bunker aperture, accounting for two enemy casualties and disclosing the entrance to a tunnel. Despite the smoke and debris from the explosion and the possibility of enemy soldiers hiding in the tunnel, he then conducted a thorough search which yielded several items of equipment and numerous documents containing valuable intelligence data. Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker. By his courage, aggressive leadership, and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Webb upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

    General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

    If that’s not an enemy, the word has no meaning, and if that’s not cause for pride, what could be?

    • #21
  22. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Judithann Campbell:Even when the venue is war, the question is, should we rejoice that we have enemies? No, we shouldn’t. I think that is all that Gil is saying.

    He wasn’t rejoicing, he was unabashedly confirming reality and making the point that he needn’t apologize.  Anybody without relevant experience can’t fully understand, even though that may be a worn trope.  (I burned people alive, but like the Terminator said, they were all bad people.)

    • #22
  23. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:While Jim Webb isn’t my first choice for president, this is what he did:

    ….

    If that’s not an enemy, the word has no meaning, and if that’s not cause for pride, what could be?

    Thanks so much for revealing the truth.  My snarky comment pales.  Webb can and should be proud.  Reality is messy.

    • #23
  24. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Claire,

    I loved reading Webb’s Navy Cross citation.

    Unfortunately, such actions count for nothing to progressives. Why is that man not a Republican?

    • #24
  25. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    I wasn’t expecting this post to be so controversial, and I don’t know if I was unclear or if we disagree.

    I’m not suggesting we surrender to our enemies, foreign or domestic.

    We should acknowledge that we have enemies. And when we have to fight, we fight. But as Judithann says, I don’t think we should rejoice in having enemies. We should do things because of what we’re for, not because of who we’re against.

    • #25
  26. Gil Reich Inactive
    Gil Reich
    @GilReich

    And to be clear, I didn’t mean to be criticizing Webb’s pride in killing an enemy combatant. I’m talking about the other candidates’ pride in making enemies of the coal industry, the NRA, Wall Street, and the Republicans.

    • #26
  27. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Judith, perhaps I am misreading Gil, but I doubt it, he is a fine author and appears to write very clearly. He isn’t rejoicing that we have enemies, but he is preaching compromise and cooperation with an enemy that does not include those words in their vocabulary.

    • #27
  28. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Just to be clear, I have undying admiration and gratitude for Jim Webb; if I had been on that stage, the question of who my proudest enemy was would have blindsided me and I probably would have named someone, because when you are on the spot and are asked a question you have never thought about before, your answer won’t be totally pristine.

    • #28
  29. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    I am not fit to wipe Jim Webb’s shoes, and in no way am trying to bring him down. It was a strange question to ask, but we should be prepared to hear that question again in the future, and think about how to answer it.

    • #29
  30. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    “Enemy” is such a powerful word. It packs so much more rhetorical punch than “foe, antagonist, rival, opponent, challenger, competitor.”

    Someone who aspires to be president of the United States should use that word carefully. We have enemies. Let’s remember who they are.

    • #30

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