Obama, Afghanistan and the Politics of the Primrose Path

Sometimes we put on blinders to keep the mud out of our eyes...

Yes, you just saw people slap five at the president catching a fail. While you can argue whether those sentiments were anti-American in nature–they were, in my opinion–you can’t argue the fact that the elation stemmed from President Obama losing at something. Anything that can be perceived as knocking dude down a peg is a tremendous moral victory for those that hate his guts.

Scenes like this litter the American landscape as ranks close in a (horribly exaggerated and altogether fruitless) war for the American spirit. You’re either with us or against us. Both sides are putting their heads in the sand they like best.

I find the closing of ranks on the left to be the most troubling. In an attempt to rally behind a president they support, there has been a decided effort to silence the voice of reasonable opposition and stifle the efforts of people asking reasonable questions like “What’s the end game in Afghanistan?”

I saw Robert Greenwald’s “Rethink Afghanistan” on Saturday and more fascinating than the question the documentary raised was the Q&A session after the screening. Greenwald and filmmaker Jeremy Scahill spent a good deal of time discussing the difficulty in making the film, namely replacing the financial support of a film that critiques and asks questions of the film’s approach.

As far as documentaries go, “Rethink Afghanistan” was fairly tame. Not a whole lot of sensationalism; just a lot of reasonable “why” questions against the backdrop of the current situation in Afghanistan. To say Greenwald “went in” on Obama is a gross stretch. In fact, the Q&A was entirely more left-leaning in nature–and awesomely chuckle-inducing in scope.

But Greenwald’s revelation about putting the film together wasn’t funny. He was daring to ask questions of the President regarding a war that is costing billions and taking lives on both sides and he was told to go take a hike from people revered and despised for asking just those types of questions. Suddenly, a side that prides itself on logic and reason and discourse has reduced itself to zealotism, a zealotism that many of the same had derided the past eight years.

Have we reached a point where disagreement on a particular issue is grounds for treason?