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I know I've quoted this before and, even tho' it's about the USA and stuff that nobody over there gives a rats about anymore, but this, from The American President, is the absolute kernel of how you defend liberal values;-
For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago. America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free". I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.
The trouble is, as one of the other characters says;-
People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.
Right now, the BNP have an open field. You're right, Labour leaders shouldn't talk down to people as if they're ignorant peasants who don't know any better, but equally they shouldn't offer any patronizing compromise on haggling about values. Of course, you don't tell racists they're wrong, but in the wider community you can demonstrate to those who might be influenced that they are wrong. By showing the value of the wider community. By defusing the idea that other people are allies and helpers to be welcomed rather than threats to be resisted.
I have long argued that the issue of immigration in the UK is more about housing than it is about jobs. Yes, there is something of a small truth in the perception that it is about jobs, but a left leaning party whose primary concern is to maximise constructive job opportunities amongst the majority shouldn't have that problem. It's when "leftish" parties abandon the State's power of "persuasion" and leave maximising employment to a market we know is rigged against such ideas that problems come.
keep to the Fen Causeway
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