16 September 2007

MoveOn and Not Moving On

In what many consider a seriously flawed – and possibly treasonous – effort to gain attention for its views, MoveOn, a far-left political organization, placed an ad in the New York Times calling General Petraeus a traitor. MoveOn has a long history of bashing what President Bush and his administration says and does.

One thing that has always bothered me about this organization is that it has so completely abandoned the premise from which it came. The name MoveOn stems directly from the birth of the group; it was formed primarily to end what the founders saw as the waste of impeachment proceedings against then President Clinton. Thus they wanted, according to their website, to "Censure President Clinton and Move On to Pressing Issues Facing the Nation." While I don’t agree with the point of view, I can see some merit in it. The desire to get an ugly scene behind the nation and move to more important things, whatever they might be, is not without some merit.

Since then, and particularly since 9/11, there seems to be a pit bull type mentality in MoveOn, again especially with regards to the Bush Administration and any military actions. It started with a petition on 9/12 and hasn’t stopped since. The ads and articles have been particularly nasty, some of which are chronicled in the Wikipedia site. I won’t take the time to review them here, but they contain the now standard “Bush is Hitler,” insert administration/Republican person’s name here “lied” and the like. Six years of this.

So I have to ask if MoveOn move on itself? The organization calls itself “progressive,” a troublesome term for a group that has spent the last 6 years tenaciously hammering one issue, one person. It’s fine for people to think that we should get out of Iraq, that we should become in isolationist country, that we should just let others be. I have no qualm with those points of view, though I do not advocate them. Indeed, it would be refreshing if the Left and Right in this country could discuss issues, stay on topic and not resort to invective or dig up skeleton after skeleton and instead move forward with the best interests of the United States in mind. When groups like MoveOn resort to less than savory tactics, they degrade the debate – indeed, they stifle it.

A quick surf of their website shows that there are more issues on the plate of MoveOn than just the war in Iraq. But where MoveOn’s voice is heard most loudly and shrilly is on the war and Bush. So it is no wonder that they are judged by this one issue – it’s where they draw the most attention. MoveOn stirs up emotions in people not necessarily to induce action but to reduce thought. “Get angry – you should be!” What follows is partisan “grass-roots” activism at its lowest, and it’s something that we would all be better off without.

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