We enter the 21st century not with great hope but with disappointment. Scandals rule the landscape. Those in positions that should be honored and respected have brought shame and disrespect.
In the corporate world, leaders have not only cheated and stolen but have destroyed their companies and lives of the people working there. Even in companies that have produced no scandals, the executives, while they rake in millions in undeserved income, disparage those workers who make the company work. Those entrusted with our investment and retirement money have enriched themselves at the expense of the small investor.
The religious leaders turn out to be those not to be trusted with children. Our members of Congress, while calling themselves conservative, are spending the hope of future generations. And the Commander-In-Chief, along with the highest generals in NORAD, was asleep on watch at a most critical time in our history.
We apathetic citizens were more interested in voting for the American Idol than in the affairs of our community, our state, our nation, humanity, or the fate of mother Earth.
One exception, one voice, stood out in the year 2003 and put the rest of us to shame. Rachael Corrie, a young woman only 23 years old, knew her place in the world. She tried to help those oppressedthose the rest of us should have helped a generation ago. For her efforts, she was murdered.
Ms. Corrie was in southwest Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The goal of ISM is to give an international presence in Palestine to help protect the people and also to stop the destruction of their homes by the occupying military of Israel. On March 16, 2003, Rachael sat in front of a Palestine doctors house that the Israelis wanted to destroy. After hours of standoff, the soldier looked her in the eye, lowered the blade of his D9 armored bulldozer, and ran Rachael over, and for good measure backed up and hit her a second time. Rachael must have been of the opinion that because she was an American, the soldiers would not hurt her like they would a Palestinian. She was wrong. By the way, the D9 dozer was bought and paid for by the United States as most Isreali weapons are. We American taxpayers paid for this murder. After her murder, President Bush said not a word, affirming that it is still OK to kill Americans if you are the right sort of people.
Let her sacrifice be an inspiration to the rest of us to help othersbe they oppressed by terror or need a helping hand. Let us make a difference.
Gerry Woods is a citizen of Winnebago County.