Guest Column: Eyes on the lies

Americans face a crucial political test in the November election. The recent events in Washington with U.S. Rep. Mark Foley and Dennis Hastert should not be surprising. Congressman Foley’s behavior is abhorrent, but Mr. Hastert’s response is typical—“damage control”—but none of this changes Washington politics. The question to ask is not whether Congress did enough to address the concerns surrounding Mr. Foley; the question to ask is whether the 109th Congress did anything to solve the concerns surrounding America’s security, economy and future health. Their answer has been a clear “no” on both counts.

Partitioning of Iraq has always been the game-plan of Washington, because their goal has always been to “control” Iraq to exploit its oil, not liberate it. Partitioning Iraq is a political way for Washington to do so with permanent American military bases. That way, Washington can say: “It’s their fault. We did everything we could to free Iraq, but if they don’t want it, we can’t do anything about that, can we?” Such political immorality cannot change the historical fact that Iraq is where it is today because of what Washington did to occupy it, nothing else. On these terms, partitioning Iraq is a political move, not a real solution, because outrage is a “show” in Washington—there being nothing outrageous Washington will not do to keep “politics as usual” usual—corrupt and self-serving.

As the saying goes, “Democracy is best taught by example, not by war.” If that is the case, how can we possibly “win the hearts and minds of others” when we’re busy invading, killing and occupying them? We can’t. And the bromide that “There is no good option when it comes to Iraq,” merely underscores there is no good outcome for the American people, if they allow Washington to continue politics as usual here or there. Americans are shocked by the terrible example their politicians have made of our democratic processes, but not enough to fire them, because denial is their most effective means to keep the mirror of truth facing those politicians and not themselves. But denying the truth is like running from it; it can’t be done. Iraq as Washington’s second error of judgment in this context (Afghanistan No. 1) is now underscored by North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon. How many more failures like these should Americans expect from Washington, now or in the future? Such is “spin and run” politics at its worst.

Recently, I’ve re-watched the documentary Eyes on the Prize about the civil rights movement. It chronicles the courage of black Americans (and white) to overcome the disgrace of racial segregation in America. That struggle continues, but the greatest disgrace facing our nation today is not racial, it is moral. It is the moral shame of allowing the labels of “conservative,” “liberal,” “democrat” or “republican” to continue “politics as usual.” With a Washington that not only misrepresents the will of the people, but disobeys it, what should Americans do? With Washington’s failures in domestic and foreign policy, with the undeclared tax of Iraq at $500 billion and counting, with the erosion of our civil rights and freedoms, and with the U.S. now a debtor nation to Mexico, should Americans stay home Nov. 7? No, they should vote the reigning corruption out. This makes for a difficult choice, but voting for the lesser of two evils at this time is far more prudent than allowing the greater evil Washington is to continue.

But will Americans garner the courage of their formers to change their country’s direction? Will they dismiss Mr. Manzullo, Mr. Hastert and those like them who embrace the politics of war? Will Americans keep their eyes on the lies in Washington, or will they close them to permit “politics as usual”? Time will tell, but if Americans won’t vote war out and peace in, “kingdom come” will come; it just won’t be the one they planned on or prayed for. Choose what you want to be, America; your children must live with that choice. Thank you.

Gregory John Campbell is a Rockford resident.

From the Oct. 25-31, 2006, issue

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