02 March 2008

Bush in Africa/Projection

I cited a few links in SPOTD #136 about President Bush's visit to Africa and the very positive views about him held by many Africans. There was also praise from Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof. Geldof has written a longer piece for TIME. It was very interesting, but revealed something about Geldof (and I think many other people) that he has not noticed.

Geldof's praise for Bush in Africa is matched by Geldof's criticism of Bush in Iraq. Why the difference? On Africa they agree and on Iraq they don't. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? When someone agrees with you, and does things that you advocate/admire, they are brave, courageous, a genius. When you they act contrary to your opinion they are ignorant, stupid, or perhaps even malicious. Geldof does a poor job, a non-effort really, to reconcile the dichotomy. I'm not just criticizing liberals like Geldof. This extends to the folks that like the president on terror but hate him on immigration. He must be in league with the construction companies or "big agriculture."

This tendency to view proponents of policies we disagree with through the prism of good/evil is often incorrect and just as frequently is the source for today's acrimonious political discourse. Sometimes people just disagree. It is as simple as that. Win the battle with superior ideas, not ad hominem attacks that betray at best a lack of sophistication and at worst the exact kind of malice that one may be projecting on the target of their ire.

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