What is the priority?

There is what people say and there is what people do. The priority in understanding them has to be on what they do. It is their behavior that shows their priorities. What gets done first is what is most important.

To all appearances, it is far more important to the Left to condemn the Bush Administration than it is to promote democracy in a region that has not heretofore known it. There’s plenty of interest in castigating the Bush Administration for its “immoral and ilegal” war in the Mideast, but none, apparently, for celebrating or supporting what appears to be a nascent flowering of demands for democratic governance by the people of the region. Nor does it appear to have occured to them that recent events indicate that there may be some shortcomings to the idea that democracy cannot be imposed by force. [Dale Franks; Marching against war…and democracy; Q&O 15mr05]

Sometimes an immediate priority takes on such importance that its implications for the longer term get overlooked. Then the behavior becomes dishonest to values and stated goals. This can create a problem that must be rationalized away. It becomes a slippery slope that leads one farther and farther from what they really want to happen. Or it can reveal a hidden agenda – one that is hidden because of its ugliness.

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