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Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2004 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

James Lileks

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Save ‘evil‘ for true treachery


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | We're in the car after voting.

"If John Kerry wins, he won't be our president," Gnat said.

Ah, a teachable moment. No, honey. He will be our president. He will be the new president, and we will respect him.

"What does respek mean?"

Man, that is a good question. It means we treat him like a teacher or the pastor or a doctor. Someone we should listen to when they talk and someone who is important to everyone. Because he's the president, and we have to respect the job of president.

"Why?"

Because it's hard and very important.

She looked out the window with the expression that either means she was processing my remarks or thinking about My Little Pony. Since she said nothing else, I'll never know.

"I want to go the Play Place," Gnat suggested after we'd voted. As she played, I sat on the bench and read more of I Shall Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941, by Victor Klemperer. The author, a Jew, was a distinguished university professor in Dresden when Hitler came to power. He survived the war because he was married to an Aryan.

I'm up to the late 1930s. Jews are forbidden to drive, since this arrogantly presumes to profit from the labor of good Aryan workers. (Seriously.) Jews must pay reparations. Jews must have their property assessed. Jews cannot use the library public rooms. Every day a different decree; every day a different liberty removed.

It's remarkable, really – people get up, have breakfast, get the mail, tend the garden; in this sense they are unmolested. But imagine if every day you were informed of something you could no longer do, even if you didn't do it. At first you take comfort in things you can still do, but it soon becomes apparent that any liberties you still possess are ones they have not yet gotten around to confiscating.


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The 2004 election is over now, and we Americans are still all over the map on a great many issues. The "progressive" impulse questions everything; the conservative impulse wonders why we question what has worked. What emerges from this dynamic satisfies neither, and fuels the next round of debate. I'd rather have that than 30 years of a static society that ends up so ossified and brittle that it shatters into a thousand pieces.

You want comity? You want progress? Enough with the catastrophe rhetoric. Enough with the nonsense. Enough with the gasbag fantasies. Reading the Klemperer diaries makes me realize again what real true perfidy looks like – and how those who view a Bush victory as "four more years of evil" are parading their petulant variety of moral idiocy for the approval of the claque. They're the modern Rumpelstiltskins, ripping themselves in half in anger to protest the price of pants.

It's a great and rare idea: one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. I think we can hammer out the particulars in a spirit of good will, eh? Or not. Our choice.

"Who is the father of George W. Bush?" Gnat asked on the way to school today.

Oh, boy.

"You're not going to believe this, but his name is George Bush, too."

"Oh, daddee."

"True." Pause. Should I? Might as well.

"And he was the president once, too."

"George Bush's daddy was president too? You're joking me. That's silly."

And so it begins. But if all goes as it usually does, in 14 years she'll vote for someone I don't like; he'll win, and she'll remind me, "You taught me to respect the president."

If I can give her that much, I've done my job.


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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

Up

11/04/04: When normal means divisive
10/28/04: Parsing the Polls
10/20/04: Kerry's Senate Record is a 78 played at 33 RPM
10/14/04: Meaning of War on Terror eludes Kerry
10/06/04: Kerry's global test fails the reality exam
09/29/04: Dems' mixed messages alienate the Center
09/23/04: Kerry's almost just about final position on Iraq
09/21/04: Will anyone trust them again?
09/09/04: Now can you name the enemy?
09/02/04: Save America from those who would save it
08/26/04: The character (or lack) behind the Kerry candidacy
08/19/04: Time for Old Media to make like McGreevey
08/12/04: Another Swing Vote: the Sufferers of Sudden Bush Hatred Fatigue Syndrome
08/05/04: Is Kerry's Problem nuance? Or is it obfuscation?
07/30/04: Intimate liability
07/26/04: Sandy Berger's classified wardrobe
07/15/04: Pretty faces, ugly words
07/08/04: Genocide can't happen if we banish the word
07/01/04: Dropping political discourse level
06/24/04: Kerry's Science Buddies and the Silly Sanctity of Life
06/17/04: Behold the Summer of Bill Clinton!
06/10/04: Whatever happened to respect for the presidency?
06/03/04: Tales at the intersection of war and popular culture
05/20/04: Athletes on Notice: Strive Unflaggingly
05/13/04: America likes Rumsfeld, and the Dems can't take it
05/07/04: Kerry Supporters Have a New Take on Vietnam War
05/05/04: New cell phone does everything, but there's a problem...
04/29/04: John Kerry, prisoner of symbolic politics
04/22/04: Shall we grovel? Kerry Plan to Restore America's Place in the World
04/08/04: Sept. 11 Might Have Been Different If ...
04/02/04: Slinging slime or citing facts?
03/26/04: One War, One Enemy
03/22/04: Bloodied Spain Rejoins Old Europe
03/12/04: Why All Those Foreign Leaders Want Kerry to Whup Bush
03/08/04: Introducing the Kerry Doctrine
02/27/04: Introducing the AWOLs: Angry White Outraged Libs
02/20/04: Sifting the headlines of election year 1992
02/18/04: Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004?
01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2004, James Lileks