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The Hawk Debate

Back in 2008, I took the step to ban certain words here. For example, if you used the word “racist” in a comment, your comment was auto-moderated. The reason was that whoever was operating the Obama campaign had gone on the offensive and insulted and humiliated innocent bloggers and commenters in order to shut them up. They did this by calling the dissenters racists. It didn’t matter whether we had legitimate reasons for refusing to jump on the Obama bandwagon that had nothing to do with race. An accusation of racism is extremely powerful and they knew what they were doing.

There are a few other trigger words that will get you auto-moderated. I leave discovery as an exercise for the reader. Banning the words doesn’t mean you can’t discuss the issue here. It’s just that taking specific words out of the comments section meant that no one can take the easy way out. You can’t just come here, poop in the punchbowl, and leave thinking you’ve done your job putting the old, uneducated working class Roseanne Barrs who flock here (your perception, not mine) in their place. You know, drop the late consensus reality shaping meme, use the buzzword du jour, put mean spirited peer pressure on these people and watch as they all come groveling back to your side. Nah-gah-happen. We didn’t get to 52,000+ page hits per day during the height of the nauseatingly brutal 2008 campaign season because we took the easy way out and ate our poisoned mushrooms so we would fall into line like TalkLeft and Taylor Marsh and The Left Coaster and Digby’s Hullabaloo. No, we watched what was happening, were thoroughly horrified and took it without flinching. 

As time went on, and the insults and aggression piled on, I became even less likely to vote for Obama. So, there, guys (and you were almost all guys). Good job. You pointed out to me that there was almost no level of offense or character assassination that Obama would not sanction. It spoke volumes about who was supporting him and what he was prepared to overlook in the future.

So, now we come to the topic of the day. This is a debate I have been having with Monster of the Id, who I dearly love and have no intention of banning. It’s about the word “hawk” and why it is always applied to Hillary Clinton.

It has become another one of those words. I am getting ready to auto-moderate comments featuring the word. As stated before, you can argue all you want that Hillary is the biggest supporter of the military industrial complex on the planet. But you’re going to have to show your work. You will not be able to just fling that word around willy nilly because that’s what everyone is saying about her.

Let’s recognize this word for what it is. It’s a mental shortcut that bears little resemblance to actual reality. Here’s my latest comment to Monster after he tried, once again, to explain his ambivalence towards Clinton due to her perceived “hawkishness”:

You’re missing the point. You can vote for whoever you damn well please. For all we know, Arkansas will go D in 2016, or Green or Commie. You don’t know what will happen and I don’t either.

The point is, don’t make up your mind based on the consensus reality of your side. That’s what the left did in 2008 and look who got elected? Was Obama the liberal messiah the left wanted? It fell for the whisperings and mental maneuverings and dogwhistles of the Wormtongues.

Wormtongue says that Hillary is a “hawk”. Oh really? In what way is she a hawk? What does it mean to be a hawk? What are the qualities of a hawk? How many military engagements does a person have to vote for in order to get this designation? Why isn’t John Kerry also called a hawk? Is Hillary more or less of a hawk than John Kerry or John Edwards? To what degree? Is she more or less a hawk than Lindsay Graham?

I only ask.

That’s the problem. Too few people on the left ask. They just accept. Well, someone on the left must have studied the problem, some Juan Cole person must have dug up the records and figured it out. There is no doubt in their minds that Hillary is a hawk, based on some criteria, right? Some authority figure who the left trusts did the math.
But what if no one on the left actually did?

What if it’s just a clever earworm planted there by someone with less than honorable intentions? How would you know?

Consistency is key.

Don’t try to get out of the dilemma you’re in by claiming that your vote doesn’t count or making light of it. What counts is whether everyone has an honest, consistent, unobstructed, unfiltered view of the candidate without shortcuts that terminate the thought process with facile categorization.

If she ends up wanting after you have discarded the shortcuts, fine, at least you will have done your job. But don’t cop out and tell me you can’t trust yourself to make those calls on your own.

The left bungled it badly in 2008 because it didn’t bother to do its own thinking. It became as gullibly pliable as the stupid hicks on the right that it always insists are the authoritarian followers who will swallow any moronic, self-defeating message their right wing leaders throw out there. We Conflucians watched as previously smart people on the left fell for love bombing and conversion diaries, peer pressure and trigger words. They did not distinguish themselves.

Don’t let it happen again.

Like I said, you can vote for whoever fills out your dance card. Make a matrix, put the names of the candidates on the Y axis and the issues you care about on the X axis. Check off the boxes, based on what you hear directly from the candidates or have read about from the most neutral sources you can find. Then, vote for the person who gets the most checks on the grid.

One thing I will predict right now: you’re going to have to figure out what the definition of hawk really means before you check that box for Hillary.

13 Responses

  1. Brittany Howard: Great female rock musician or THE GREATEST female rock musician?

    Sounds like a cross between Nina Simone and Janis Joplin. Ear candy. Just splurged on Sound and Color.

  2. Names for the new princess are a little stodgy. Let’s take it in a different direction. Here are some names you don’t normally associate with princesses:

    Berengaria (Wait, that actually was a princess name)
    Hunter (We’re going a bit Mainline here)
    Ældgyth (Sure it’s hard to type but that makes it special)
    Matilda (other than she was the first failed Norman queen, it’s my favorite so far)

    Any others?

  3. I have a niece named Mathilda so, naturally, I’m biased.
    Love your spelling of Maddyssin-funny.

    • Not so funny to the poor kid stuck with that spelling.
      I work with a lot of Indians and they have some interesting names.

      Princess Preety. That sounds positively Gilbert and Sullivan.

  4. The only point I disagree with is: “Check off the boxes, based on what you hear directly from the candidates”

    I’d say ignore everything any politician says. All of it. Look only at what they have actually done. (Just for instance the Examples From Obama: used horrible but legal Rovian tactics to win his first election against a popular black female incumbent. Had her disqualified based on technicalities in the signatures required to appear on the ballot a few days before the election when there was no time to provide any fixes. Derailed proposed Illinois healthcare toward money for the insurance industry.)

    I know that nobody here actually needs this point, since paying attention to deeds not words has always been the reason we were clear on what was coming. But, if 2008 was any indication, we’ll have all kinds of new visitors here.

    • Ok, maybe I should say, “evaluate what you hear from the candidates”.
      But you make some great points. It’s so hard to stay on your guard.

    • There are candidates who have experience that predates a significant number of their voters’ birth. Polishing the lens of history without warping it is a big challenge.

  5. hawk, politically defined: someone who strongly supports war or other military action.
    hawk, Hillary defined: is short for “she voted for that war” because there is still mileage in that. (I wonder why beloved Joe Biden, who also voted for that war and really is a hawk, is not on your list.)

    I generally reply to Hillary/hawk comments with:
    She is not a doormat and is against oppression. She has always sought diplomatic solutions before considering military options. Always.

    I think of her as more of an eagle.

    • I think I should have put my last comment on this thread instead of the “Wormtongues” thread.

      My problem with any Dinocrat, not only HRC, is that the Dinos do not serve as a true opposition party, but rather they also serve the Empire and its owners, the Malefactors of Great Wealth.

  6. […] The Hawk Debate […]

  7. All during the 90’s I always said, “No I want Hillary as President” and I agree with you, she is the most and best experienced candidate in the field from both sides. but in the primary I will vote for Bernie unless she convinces me otherwise. and then I will vote for her in the general

    • just want to add, I know her history, quite liberal/leftist and Leftist to me is a compliment. but those words have been so demonized in our culture. In 2008 she had the right answer for the financial meltdown, but the “the savior” co-opted them the denigrated them in practice.

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