Conservatives are not an introspective group. In fact, my impression is that looking inward is viewed as a sign of weakness among the faithful. Virtually any form of hypocrisy is tolerated by conservatives as long as you are a true believer. If you’re in the club, you get a free pass. If you’re not in the club, you sneeze the wrong way and you’re a terrorist sympathizer. George Bush experiences no ethical dilemma attacking the war hero Kerry even when Bush’s own military service is a textbook example of the privileged slacker. Being a conservative is a lot like being in the mafia. In the Republican “family,” blood is thicker than logic or reason, and as long as you don’t turn on your bothers and sisters, you can be forgiven for just about anything. Conservatives can brush aside Jimmy Swaggart’s sexual escapades, but turn around and impeach Bill Clinton for coping a feel. Limbaugh can abuse drugs one day, then lambaste drug users the next. Republican senators can be gay, but vote against gay issues. Bush can…wait, that list would take me the rest of the day.
In the movie the Blues Brothers, Elwood deadpans the memorable line, “We’re on a mission from God.” During their quest, the brothers break enough traffic laws to warrant the death penalty, destroy an entire shopping mall and nearly kill dozens of people on their holy mission to stage a blues concert. Conservatives should be able to relate. When a person is on a mission from God, which Christian conservatives believe they are, normal rules and parameters simply don’t apply. I call this “ends-justify-the-means” outlook the Crusade Effect. In their campaigns to rescue Jerusalem from the Muslims, Crusaders wreaked havoc and mayhem throughout the Middle East, all the while justifying their actions because, “We’re on a mission from God.”
Being under the spell of the Crusade Effect means never having to say you’re sorry. Why should you? You’re doing God’s work and no one would ever apologize for that. You don’t believe you’re right, you know you’re right, and there can be no namby-pamby equivocation on issues. No give and take. No surrender.
Filmmaker Michael Moore used his Web site recently to berate liberals for losing faith in Kerry’s campaign and bemoaning the fact that it’s a close race for the White House. In his letter to liberals, ”Put Away Your Hankies…” Moore writes:
“Enough of the hand wringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK? Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"
Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded. They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.”
They’re on a mission from God.
The rest of us, on the other hand, for all our neurotic, introspective hand wringing, are just trying to make the earth a more tolerable place to live. What liberals and progressives lack in the zealous certainty of conservatives, we should make up for in the quiet satisfaction that history has proven us right time and time again, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t in the future, as well.