It's Interesting What Tone People Will Take on Other People's Blogs and How Bush Compares to Hitler
We all like a good argument, and I've left some rather pointed arguments on other people's blogs. However, I found the last comment on my own blog interesting:
jcecil, this discussion is over. You've showed just how extreme and dopey are your views, so there's really nothing further to discuss.I don't want to censor any of my readers, so the comment is still where it stands, and the reader will not banned. I simply find it interesting that the reader would say "this discussion is over" on my own blog. Perhaps he or she meant to say, "I'm through with this discussion."
Who knows what the reader intended?
If anyone is interested, the reaction of this reader was provoked by the fact that I compared G.W. Bush to Hitler.
I know this is more an "intuitive" thing, and I don't usually argue against Bush by comparing him to Hilter because there will be no convincing some people, especially through such an emotional argument.
The context of the specific comparison is that the reader seems to believe the Bishops should clearly label support for Kerry an immoral option. In effect, this reader wants to define being a Roman Catholic in America as being against Kerry or for Bush.
In response, I was trying to express honestly just how strongly I, personally, in my conscience, oppose Bush for re-election on moral grounds. I'm not so much trying to convince others to believe the same, as trying to make clear what a Catholic who wants to define Catholicsm as a vote for Bush is doing to other Catholics.
I don't really like Kerry either, but I don't see him as a Hitler. I am particularly conflicted on his stance on abortion, which is murder. Kerry is wrong. Yet, I would compare Kerry to Clinton rather than Hitler.
I honestly see a vote for Bush almost as being the moral equivalent of a vote for Hitler - at least for me personally.
I'm not saying this reader is a Nazi, nor is any other Bush supporter necessarily a Nazi. I am trying to convey what a moral quagmire his definition of Catholicism creates for those of us who feel strongly opposed to Bush on moral grounds.
Even if a Bishop thinks I am mistaken, a Bishop, of all people, should respect the right of conscience and not ask a person to do what he or she perceives as equivalent to voting for Hitler.
My own comparison of Bush and Hitler was as follows:
Both Hitler and Bush support some right to abortion. Even if Bush would limit the right more than his current political opponents, I am not at all impressed with his views on abortion. I will not permit this issue alone to disuade me from looking at the rest of his record and actions.
Both Hitler and Bush used wars of aggression to expand their empire. This is significant, because wars kill, and the enitire notion of pre-emptive war has been condemned consistently in Christianity for 2,000 years.
Both Hitler and Bush presented trumped up evidence of immanent threat by those they sought to attack. This is significant as well, because it shows a willingness to act deceptively to justify the unthinkable.
Both Hitler and Bush support the use of death penalty by the state. This is significant because it shows how much power each believes belongs to the state.
Both Hitler and Bush used anti-gay rhetoric and passed legislation against minority entitlements. This is significant because it shows how they each try to foster "us v. them" thinking by appealing to the masses.
Both Hitler and Bush used rhetoric and propoganda that those who are not with them are terrorists against the state.
This more than anything scares me to death when it comes from a President of the United States - a land that is supposed to value diversity and freedom of dissent.
Both Hitler and Bush expanded the powers of the police state to crush dissent and target minorities. Bush has done this with the Patriot Act and the misuse of executive orders, which has interred Arabs without legal representation. The Patriot Act has already been expanded into other very gray areas.
I do believe we are just baby steps away from forming Hitler style concentration camps. Some people argue that Guantanamo Bay already is a concentration camp!
There's also the fact that the School of the Americas is still open with a different name, and still training international terrorists!
After my reader reacted as she or he did, I did a quick google on "Bush compared to Hitler". The first several hits were articles about conservative groups outraged at a photo ad making this comparison. Several articles have been published about MoveOn.org making this comparison.
I ran across a piece by an english professor that makes 27 comparisons of Bush to Hitler. This professor was inspired to this by a German Minister of Justice who made the same comparison.
Here's a guy with a different set of 24 comparisons between Bush and Hitler.
Here is another voice comparing Bush to Hitler, and this person's father was a Nazi!
These comparisons may not be fully convincing to many, but there is a definite pattern many of us see.
Here we have an article linking the Bush family directly to Nazis thorugh a person named Prescott Bush (I'm not sure I believe this one).
In posting all these links, I am trying to show that the comparisons are not the idiosyncratic perception of a single person (me).
As I combed through the google pages, there are several articles that defend Bush against this charge. Some Jewish writers are even offended by the comparison because Bush has obviously not (yet) committed some sort of genocide or ethnic cleansing.
I don't want to offend the Jews who hold this opinion, but Hitler did not begin killing Jews right away in 1933. The Nazi's "final solution" was implemented as Germany was beginning to lose the war.
What Bush' most ardent supporters seem to have a hard time grasping is that some of us see patterns of behavior in Bush that very much do evoke a comparison to Hitler in our minds and hearts.
Are there differences between Bush and Hitler?
But what we fear most in Hitler seems glaringly apparent to many of us in Bush and his style of leadership and the types of decisions he makes.
Even if you don't agree with us, if you are Catholic, you should have some respect for our conscience when we say we are this strongly opposed to him. This doesn't mean you have to agree with us, nor even vote like us - just respect the fact that we truly feel this way when trying to define what it means to be a good Catholic.
I'm not telling Catholic Bush lovers how to vote. We can hash out arguments pro and con for each candidate and try to persuade another, but that's not my point here. I'm asking Catholic Bush supporters (and the Bishops) not to tell me how to vote by mere appeal to positional authority and/or threatening me with near excommunication.
Use a different strategy that addresses my very real fears about Bush. Rather than threatening me with hell-fire and brimstone, or separation from the Church, give me some alternatives - and crack down on Bush just as hard when he departs from Church teaching as you crack down on Kerry.
Understand that I honestly belive that if I vote for Bush this November, and accidently step in front of a bus while exiting the voting booth, I'm going to have to answer to God Almighty for that vote against my conscience!
Again, I know none of this will be convincing to everyone....and I'm not trying to convince people to vote for or against Bush specifically in this post.
What I am trying to say is stop defining Catholicism as a vote for Bush or a vote against Kerry!
There are many of us who not only disagree with Bush's politics. We dread and fear his style of leadership and his being in office. We consider it immoral to give him our personal support in any way whatsoever!
If the Bishops were to declare it contrary to the Church to support a specific opponent of Bush who stands a chance of winning, they leave us no option but to throw our votes away.
I cannot possibly vote for Bush in good conscience, and if the Church firmly and clearly forbids voting for Kerry, I must chose not to vote or to make a "write in" choice. Either of these options hand Bush the election.
If Bush wins because Catholics don't vote after being warned by the Bishops that a vote for Kerry is sin, and Bush does turn out to be the Hitler many of us believe him already to be, how will the USCCB be remembered in history?
My advise to the Bishops is to stick with giving the broad general principles that should inform Catholic voters, and not get too embroiled in a personal conflict with Kerry specifically. Keep saying abortion is immoral, and leave Kerry's name out of it (and Ono Ekeh or any Kerry supporter).
I invite the Bishops to consider a sort of Pascal's wager.
If people like me are proven right in our perception of Bush, a crack-down on Kerry will be disasterous for the Roman Catholic Church in America when viewed through the lens of history. If we are wrong, the Bishops will have done their duty to hold firmly to the truth about abortion in general terms. Kerry will cause the nation no more permanent harm than Clinton, while the idea of a Hitler running America could be the worst thing that ever happened in America (and abortion will still be legal with this Hitler!).