Thursday, July 29, 2004

Political Observation

I chatted today with one of our painters about politics. There's a joke around the office that he's our "token conservative," and I like the guy a heck of a lot on a personal level, so it's with the utmost respect that I say he takes our constant liberal hand-wringing in stride.

Today we were talking about whether the Iraq was was a mistake, and he said something very interesting: that it wasn't the Bush administration that mislead us, it was the intelligence agencies. Wham, bam, pretty much directly from the mouths of the 9/11 Commission's report.

But it disturbed me on one level, because the way he said it, it was almost as if the Commission's report completely excused the misleading methods that brought us to war. He used it as a way to kind of absolve the Bush administration of its wrongdoing, except it wasn't really the Bush administration, it was his idea of the Bush administration, a kind of ideal Bush administration that I don't think exists, or has ever existed.

That kind of got me thinking: do our political preconceptions ever allow us to objectively analyze what a politician does, or the truth behind a political situation? It's not a stretch to say that public relations is intended to manipulate preconceptions, and it seems like that's all a campaign is these days, but thinking back to my own experience, I opposed Dole in the '96 election and opposed Bush in 2000 because I had certain preconceptions about how those candidates would run the US. And, pretty much everything Bush has done has confirmed my preconceptions about him.

Is it ever possible to make an objective analysis? Or are we doomed to a system that manipulates us? Is the only way to win to use that system to manipulate? If so, how does one do so morally?


Anonymous said...

The 9/11 Commission's report did not cover Iraq. It covered the 9/11 attacks.


Jason said...

Sure, just like the Whitewater investigation wasn't concerned with Monica Lewinsky and a cumstain.