Here you have it folks, little did I know that I have been a closet Bush supporter all along. True, I have a weak spot for Old Europe's Lavazza espresso, I read Robert Fisk ardently, I hold Maureen Dowd in high regards, and hassle my neo-conish friends all the time. So imagine my surprise when I find out that I have been a closet Bush supporter for a long time; perhaps even before I started to smirk and put quotation marks around the word “liberation”, and while shaving twice (if not three times) before boarding an airplane.
Suffice to say I was a true Democratic Party aficionado; I attended Howard Dean's rallies enthusiastically and listened edgily as Kerry came around on his opinion about the war. I even popped-open my much-cherished Louis Roederer (vintage 1979) in the euphoric moments after the first-debate when it seemed like a sure thing; I terribly regret wasting the Cristal now.
Yet, in the wee hours of November 3rd something profoundly changed in me as I watched the results come in. I found myself celebrating with the Republicans; mystified yet cheerful that they won, and jovial that their team is back for another four years to pursue their agenda.
You may wonder: why this sudden and drastic change?
Simple. The Republicans made it quite clear that we have been one and the same all along. That no matter our originating country or race, we have not parted far from each other on moral and ethical values.
You might find this answer to be a bit fuzzy – perhaps even a bit shocking.
Allow me to elaborate: For hundreds of years it has been an accepted belief that Eastern civilizations were lagging behind their Western counterparts. The enlightenment had made the West a more virtuous and progressive civilization. The Easterners, in turn, suffered from autocratic regimes that fought aimless wars for worthless motives, tortured with impunity, and imprisoned without justification. Religion was used (and abused) to rally the public into a euphoric state in which dissent was considered unpatriotic, and on occasion, blasphemous.
Yes, I agree that the West has BlackBerrys, Daisy Cutter bombs and Britney Spears – and that the East in turn is still absorbed in the notion of arranged marriage and bewildered by the concept of paying attention to traffic laws while driving.
But the differences end there and there alone. This election has shown that our similarities are much more profound and well entrenched than we had ever realized.
The East built Abu Ghraib, the West happily became its new tenant. The East called a Jihad in the name of God and hung enemy soldiers from a bridge in Falluja; the West called a Crusade in the name of its God and raised Falluja. The East sent a teenager to blowup customers in a pizza shop to free a nation; the West raised Jenin and killed teenagers in Sabra and Shatila camps to safeguard a nation. The East bombed Pan Am Flight 103; the West downed Iran Air flight 655.
Gary Wills recently wrote in an op-ed piece for the New York Times, “It is often observed that enemies come to resemble each other”. I recently surprised myself by cheering for the Republicans as that statement came to life before my very eyes.
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