Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regrets as Bush leaves office

This article confused me. Bush has apparently come to regret saying certain things he said during his presidency. But why exactly he regrets it I’m not sure. Bush says he wishes he hadn't said “There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on.” Bush regrets these words. But he doesn’t seem to regret acting in ways consistent with these words. He wishes he hadn’t talked like some sort of trigger happy cowboy. But what about acting like one?

But enough with Bush’s regrets. I want to talk about mine for a second. I can’t judge what’s going on in Bush’s head, but I know what happened in my own. I was wrong too, and I want to talk about why. You see, when 9/11 happened I was a typical “conservative Christian.” I was a walking stereotype. And I supported the war. No, I didn’t vote for Bush. I was too young, so I did worse. I supported him as obnoxiously as I possibly could. I spent all my time yelling at those “liberals” who just didn’t get it. I talked constantly about politics. I made crazy statements about how Christians like me must be out of their minds if they weren’t conservatives.

And now I regret it.

And I don’t just regret the strong language. I don’t just regret being a jerk. I was wrong and I regret that. But it’s not that I was wrong intellectually that bothers me. What bothers me is that I was morally wrong. My view embodied a deep, abiding lack of love. The government I wanted see was one of hatred and manipulation. I wanted a government that tries to use force to make people get their moral act together here at home and a government that intervenes in foreign affairs to try to make other nations get their political act together. I wanted war. I wanted to fight. I wanted to make people get it together.

But that’s not a civil society. A healthy human society can only be built on love. And love doesn’t manipulate. Love doesn’t demand behavior change at the point of a gun. Love asks. Love persuades. Love prays. Love waits. Love pursues changes of heart and mind, not changes of behavior. Government in a society built on love is one that does nothing but protect people from forceful manipulation by others. As soon as government steps beyond this it becomes the very sort of manipulator that it exists to prevent.

So, as someone who supported Bush when he was elected, and has since grown up, both literally and figuratively, I’m sorry. And I’m sorry for more than just banners and words. I’m sorry for trying to change behavior by force, instead of changing hearts with truth.

4 comments:

Michæl Atchison said...

Great article.

Bryan said...

Mind if I post this to my Christian libertarian Yahoo group?

Ben Bryan said...

Michael: Thanks!
Bryan: Go right ahead. We're always happy for more folks to read what we're thinking. Just make sure to provide a link, to tell people you got it from the Humble Libertarian. Thanks!

W. E. Messamore said...

And Ben, may I add my own apologies. As you already know, my story is not too different from yours. I admit that I was wrong, and I resolve to amend my wrongs by advocating for their opposites: love, hope, and freedom.

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