Saturday, 3 July 2004

Wishing for Bad News -- Or Not

Ardent political beliefs can cause otherwise decent folk to cheer for the most awful stuff. I’ve caught myself doing it before, and if the bad news is temporary and not too dire I will even hope for it, if it helps (in my view) to wake people up to the need to change their elected leaders. Right or wrong, I will rationalize that we are better off long term to suffer another few months of slowed job growth or other negative economic news if it buys us four years of more moderate leadership at the top. And besides, my wishing it isn’t what makes it so or not. Still I recognize that real people suffer when jobs are lost, or in contributing to negative economic numbers, and I really don’t personally wish those individuals ill.

When it comes to graver news though, I will not wish for disasters or failures, even though such news would contribute to a desired political result. I may not be surprised if what I see as folly leads to a failed foreign policy, but in spite of the folly I actually DO hope for better results. For instance I genuinely hope that the transition of power in Iraq leads to markedly reduced bloodshed and abates Arab resentment toward America. However skeptical I may be that the recent ‘hand over’ has resulted in anything close to full sovereignty, it is a step in the right direction. I hope that the chosen transitional leaders have the wisdom to make decisions in the best interests of all Iraqis to the extent that is possible. If better news in the coming weeks from Iraq results in a bump for Bush in the polls, that’s a tradeoff I can take. The continuing problems of our troops being spread too thin in the world, and having their terms of service extended past their original commitment aren’t likely to go away anytime soon.

Though they may sometimes be at odds with each other, most of the time I will continue to hope for good news in real life AND regime change at home come November.