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A Voice In The Crowd: More observations of an onlooker

July 1, 1993

A Voice In The Crowd: More observations of an onlooker

By Jim Spelman

As I mentioned in the last VOICE, I spend a lot of time in my car, much of it listening to Public Radio, which tends to provide a good deal of fodder for my coincident musings. Below are a few more personal insights which have thus been brought into focus.

One of my college buddies used to frequently remind me that “consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.” To me, the adage means too much consistency amounts to inflexibility; a preoccupation with the trees that prevents a little mind from seeing the forest. Consistency of a considered sort is a necessary virtue.

The leaders of this, the most powerful nation in the world, show signs of having the tunnel vision referred to in the adage and to make things even worse, compound it by showing us a gross lack of consistency in their reasoning where it’s most needed.

For instance, aren’t they the folks who claim abortion and the use of human embryos f or research amount to the taking of human life but are ready to send American young people to die while trying to kill Iraqis?? At the same time, they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge or even discuss the scope of potential consequences of their planned conflict for us or or anyone else.

If my memory is correct, these are the men and women who constantly carped about too many laws, too much government and too much government spending. Now, we’re about to enter a conflict of their own making which will empty the nation’s coffers (right into the pockets of the arms makers) and require more and more laws and impose more and more government.

Then how about our treatment of our neighbor Cuba, a small, virtually powerless nation, 90 miles from our coast. It ought to be our ally, but because of its political system (socialism, not communism), we bullheadedly continue to call it an enemy. That’s the tunnel vision. The inane inconsistency is that we trade with and economically depend on China, a practicing despoiler of human rights on a gargantuan scale. In addition, because of its size and its known possession of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them to the U.S. and elsewhere, China is more of a threat to world peace than Cuba or Iraq can ever be. Compared to China, Cuba is Eden. As Arte Johnson used to say, “Verrry interrresting.”

Changing the direction of these observations, I often wonder, just what is our connection to Israel? What does it mean that Bush has given it “permission” to retaliate if attacked by Iraq? Are we fighting its war????

Speaking of Israel, reminds me that Ariel Sharon and his ilk provoke the Palestinians as much or more than the Palestinians provoke the Israelis. Beneath their mutual claims of self-defense, it looks to me as though both sides want conflict and bloodshed. Is the U.S., a proclaimed peacemaker (under Presidents Carter and Clinton, it truly practiced peacemaking) really a war-loving bloodletter?

The vengeance and retaliation being exercised in the world, as I write and you read this, is about might, not right. It’s about money and power, not about people or their welfare. Innocents die daily for the sake of someone else’s keeping or gaining power. Do we as a nation really want to join the murderous fanatics? Whether we want to or not, it appears that we’re going to jump into the melee.

When we do that, we are playing the cards exactly as the people we are about to engage in mortal combat want us to. They love war and bloodshed. They want to see American blood shed! Right now, their most potent weapon is fear, and we seem willing to fall into the trap it sets. We’ll end up fighting on their terms on their turf. The French did that with native Americans, the British with American revolutionaries and the U.S. with Vietnamese. In each case there was no gain for the aggressor and massive economic and human loss on both sides.

But, patriotism to our leaders is flag waving, spending more money and being willing to die for their cause. As a test, the next time you’re on the road, count the number of giant, gas-hogging, never-been-off-the-road SUVs and pickups flying American flags. A few mavericks, who are often portrayed by the media as wusses or looneys, are the only ones discussing moderation, preservation and conservation. They are willing to address the real issue underlying this entire scenario, the availability of oil for industry and automobiles. Do you really want American boys to put their lives on the line for that?

Lest we forget to remember, the United States of America was created as a haven for people oppressed by religious and political tyrants, people who had been prevented from worshiping, assembling or speaking according to their own beliefs. To degrade anyone for disagreeing with dishonest and oppressive leadership is as un-American as Mao Tse-tung, Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler!

Are you willing to give up true liberty in an attempt to preserve a lush lifestyle? And, after finish paying for the defense of our lifestyle, will there be any lifestyle left for us? One thing you can be sure of, there’ll be plenty for those who made the bombs and bullets!!!

Jim Spelman is a local attorney.

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