One of the biggest problems we conservatives have always faced is language. Conservatives all too often allow liberals to bamboozle us into arguing issues on liberal terms.
For example: why are we even discussing the "war in Iraq"? What is going on now is not war, but reconstruction. Or more precisely, providing military security for Iraq's social, political and economic reconstruction. The war was clearly over at "Mission Accomplished", and we quickly pulled our major hardware presence from the arena.
So why aren't conservatives pounding liberals for wanting to "walk out on the security necessary for Iraqi reconstruction"? Because too many of us have accepted liberal control of the language.
So when a liberal says to me that (altogether now) "I support the troops, just not the mission", I don't lie to them anymore.
And one particular conversation I recently had with a liberal went like this:
"I support the troops, just not the mission"
"It's the truth."
"You can't question my patriotism!"
"Then stop saying unpatriotic things!"
"Just because I question the President doesn't make me unpatriotic!"
"No... but trying to subvert his constitutional authority and foreign policy just because you disagree, does."
"You make it sound like I'm a traitor."
"How would your behavior be different if you were?"
That usually stops them right there, at least for a moment.
But last Martin Luther King Day, I received a gift of inspiration. I finally found a way to make a liberal understand. I'm not sure if I changed his mind, but he hasn't mentioned it since. This liberal persisted.
"You can support the troops without supporting the mission; I don't want them to die!"
"You can't separate the troops and the mission for your political convenience."
"Of course I can..." he countered.
That's when the little incandescent lightbulb lighted up in my mind.
"Today is Martin Luther King Day" I said, "so lets' take a trip back in time...."
Then I adopted a Southern drawl that sounded like an uneasy mix of Deliverance and Hee Haw... (I've found that liberals always appreciate a little drama, it makes the truth easier for them to swallow. A little Fosse and they'll believe almost anything.)
"You know, buddy," I began, "I like Martin Luther King, I do. I think he's a stand up guy. But this whole Civil Rights for blacks thing, that's gotta go. But I still support Martin. Like I said, he's a great guy. I just don't support his mission at all. In fact, I'm going to go down to the Selma City Council and petition to have his marching permits revoked. Because there's been a lot of violence at these marches he's been doing. Dogs and firehoses, you know. People are dying, can't you see! For what? Equality? Freedom? Who cares about that -- I just don't want Martin or anyone else to get hurt. I support Martin. And because I support Martin, we have to cancel these marches."
He was shocked.
"I can't believe you're such a racist," he said.
"Who's a racist?" I countered. "I support Martin. I just don't support his mission. Can't I do that? I care about Martin, that's why I want him to come home."
As I said, I haven't heard a word about it from him since.