Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Kristof--a voice of reason

Nicholas Kristof speaks to me. I love to read his column in the NYTimes because he is pretty liberal, but he's--well--kind. I hope he doesn't mind that description, because it may sound very unjournalistic not to be described as bombastic, scathing, cynical, or strident. But in the national media, it's refreshing to read someone intelligent, analytical, but kind. He has spent a good bit of time this year writing on the sex trade in the Far East. While "on location" he ran into some International Justice Mission types, and seemed touched by their comittment. He said something nice about evangelicals.This shows he is not only kind, but courageous. Today he weighed in on the Micheal Moore phenomena. He broaches the Bush as liar rhetoric like this:

"A consensus is emerging on the left that Mr. Bush is fundamentally dishonest, perhaps even evil — a nut, yes, but mostly a liar and a schemer. That view is at the heart of Michael Moore's scathing new documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

In the 1990's, nothing made conservatives look more petty and simple-minded than their demonization of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who were even accused of spending their spare time killing Vince Foster and others. Mr. Clinton, in other words, left the right wing addled. Now Mr. Bush is doing the same to the left. For example, Mr. Moore hints that the real reason Mr. Bush invaded Afghanistan was to give his cronies a chance to profit by building an oil pipeline there.

"I'm just raising what I think is a legitimate question," Mr. Moore told me, a touch defensively, adding, "I'm just posing a question."

Right. And right-wing nuts were "just posing a question" about whether Mr. Clinton was a serial killer.

I'm against the "liar" label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding."

Kristof values understanding. Kristof, kind and courageous.
His writing raises hard questions, but I'm sorry, it just has a kind tone to it. Robert Coles (Pulitizer Prize winner who wrote the Moral Intelligence of Children) distills the meaning of morality as basic kindness. So hats off to a liberal with MORALS. Fancy that.

I dont' know how to do links yet, so here's the URL for Kristof today.


Matt Elliott said...


Great post. I made the decision early on in this administration to view George W. Bush as a kind, honest and Godly man with whom I merely disagree on most governmental policies.

Matt Elliott said...

I love the picture, by the way. But if you like, I can provide you an even better one - you know, the one where you're smoking a [candy] cigarette!

Travis said...

Good thoughts. As a recent Democrat convert, I need to be reminded that the party I am leaving is not the epitome of evil and dishonesty. I get the NY Times via email, but have never noticed Kristof before. I will have to check him out.

By the way, I don't know if you saw my response to your comment on my blog. Yes, I know Chris. I don't know him real well, but we had Philosophy of Religion together last semester. He's a good guy and made the class a lot of fun. He was the teacher's Graduate Assistant, so they picked on each other which made it fun for all.


Ken Dowdy said...

Do you know the story behind this picture? This is Bev imbibing in Coffee Brno--brew by Maria. Dana Davis and Eddie White were there in Brno sharing in Maria's generosity. You can send me the candy cigarette shot and the NEGATIVE.

Ken Dowdy said...

Demonizing our opponents makes for great propaganda, but not for peace.

Good to hear you know Chris! He's been so blessed by his studies at ACU. I hope you are finding the same.

Travis said...

Oh, I most certainly am. ACU has been a blessing to me.

Bev Blair said...

I haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/ll yet but I probably will. Since I haven't seen it I don't want to comment out of context but.... I think it is a long stretch between accusing the Clintons of murder and questioning whether some of Bush's actions haven't directly profitted his friends. I believe that the kind of money we are talking about here is unfathomable to people like me who make a decent paycheck, pay the bills and plan to retire with the help of a pension. I think we all have had to question our motives from time to time (daily) to decide what the real reason we are taking action on an opportunity might be (e.g. "Am I greeting my boss cheerfully today because I should be doing this every day or am I doing this so that when I approach her for a 'favor' she will be more prone to say yes?). It must be a lot harder when BIG money and BIG favors are the result of our involvement. If this weren't true the V.P. wouldn't have lost his cool with legislators last week. Isn't corruption in government an accepted fact around the world? If it weren't so easy to fall into it wouldn't be so. As for calling people "liars," yes, I have a hard time with that too. I think it goes back to my parents asking me if I was telling a "story" when I was little and knew it was a flat out lie. I guess they didn't want to condemn me to hell and I hesitate to do the same but there are a lot of "storytellers" out there. I've been mulling over this since you first posted-I hope I expressed my concerns well. Love you (and have fun at the reunion), Bev

Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

I appreciate your comments. I do see a difference in raising questions about corruption and accusing people of murder. Nonetheless, I do stand by Kristof's concern that the left can be as shrill as the right.

JAW said...

Bev - I appreciate this post and wholeheartedly agree with its content.

Your sister Deborah (one of my absolute favorite people in the world) introduced me to your blog. I've bookmarked it and hope to visit it often. I hope to one day meet you...we know a lot of the same people (I'm an old roommate of Matt Fincher's).

You come from a great family - I also met your mom this Spring when she was in Michigan.

Keep up the good writing!

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