Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Let me talk about German Shepard Guard Dogs......Trust me, it's relevant.
My Father talked about the German Shepard Guard Dogs he saw in the Pacific Islands during the time he served there during WWII. He told me how vicious they were and how, when peace finally came, all the guard dogs had to be destroyed because the viciousness couldn't be trained out of them. He hated that this had to be done but he also noted that it was "damned nice" to have them around when Japanese "sappers" tried to infiltrate the camps. "You see", he would explain, "war ain't about rules, it's about killing the other guy."
I think I was in my teens when I first heard the story. (It was repeated many times over the years) and the dilemma has haunted me in other contexts a million times over the years.
Most recently it has presented itself in the context of politics, and, in the future of many of the causes in which we so strongly believe.
We, as liberals, have constantly decried the tactic used by the Republicans and their surrogates in elections. We know all about the dirty tricks of Donald Segretti, "The Plumbers", the inventor of the dirty tv ad "Lee Atwater and of course, his protege' Karl Rove. We're above that sort of thing and wouldn't dare participate in the activities like the Willie Horton Ad, the smear campaign against Edmund Muskie, the Swift Boat ads, the push polls...and on and on and on and on......
but we also know this:
The crap works...
It always has and it always will.
So that sets up the dilemma. Do we hire our own attack dogs? Do we use the same tactics in order to obtain the political power to the good that we intend? If we have people who are willing to employ those techniques to obtain power, can they be trusted to use that power wisely and relinquish it willingly to the the next Democratically chosen successors? Can we trust that they will let the Democratic process choose successors? Does this immorality lower us to their level?
Or, do we hire our attack dogs for the campaigns but never let them into the halls of power. ..sort of like destroying them after the battle....because, like the guard/attack dogs, they are too vicious, too dangerous to keep around in a polite society afterwards.
Do we hold onto our principles and likely get pummeled by the the other side's attack dogs?
Therein lies the dilemma....
Does the end justify the means?