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I recent received one of those ‘thoughtful’ emails from a friend designed to make you go hmmmmm. And it did.
I started out to write about the recent death of Carlos Ghigliotti, 43, who had been hired by the U.S. House committee to help investigate the Waco siege. Cops say they are investigating it as a homicide. Some will no doubt suggest he be added to the ubiquitous “Suspicious deaths” list. (http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/396.html). Then I read the BBC story about Brazilian cities using “an artificial-intelligence program called the Electronic Judge” to issue “on-the-spot fines and even recommend jail sentences.” Life imitating the fiction of Judge Dredd.
Freedom and liberty are at risk. Ayn Rand wrote in ‘The Nature of Government,’ “we are fast approaching the state of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”
However, despite all the compelling items that you read in WorldNetDaily, I kept going back to the two little tests my friend had sent me.
I recently learned that my radio talk show in San Francisco was being replaced with Dr. Laura starting July 3. Stuff happens. I had done a good job for my employer and had routinely and consistently built and maintained audience. However, the corporate dynamics of including Rush and Dr. Laura literally are forcing me out of my job. Rather than viewing the glass as half empty, I choose to see it as half full. (http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/mfg.html)
My friend is a Marine, a former combat veteran helicopter pilot and former TWA airline pilot. His two little tests normally would have been read and filed. However, timing has given this exercise more weight … at least to me … at least at this juncture in my life.
Take these two quizzes yourself and consider the “hmmmmmm” factor.
- Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
- Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
- Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
- Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
- Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
- Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
So? Did you do as poorly as I did? The point being highlighted is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are the best in their selected fields of endeavor.
After the dust settles, however, and the applause is silenced, and the plaques and trophies start to tarnish, the achievements (except for the principles) are largely forgotten. As Edward Albee once wrote in a play, “What is gained is loss. …”
Here’s part two of the exercise:
- List a few teachers who aided in your journey through school.
- Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
- Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
- Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
- Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
- Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
Well? That was a lot easier wasn’t it? It struck me that when Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local …” it was a far more complex observation than just politics. Ultimately, eventually, inevitably, everything from the mysterious deaths of the growing list of people connected with Bill Clinton that statistically defies coincidence; to a Brazilian “Judge Dredd” arresting, trying and convicting a citizen on the street is insignificant. Unless, or until, the connection is made that makes it personal. This is not unlike the game of connecting actors to Kevin Bacon. If you connect enough dots you eventually can see that even macro geo-political subtleties can and will touch YOU.
The abuse of power under the color of authority that resulted in the Miami raid to grab a tragic 6-year old is an outrage. However, the act itself doesn’t impact on you immediately until you recognize the potential for YOUR door to be kicked in by a masked man with a MP5 announcing “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.” Even Alan Dershowitz, habitual defender of the indefensible says the Miami raid is “a dangerous day for all Americans.” Another liberal Harvard law professor, and previous possible Supreme Court nominee, Laurence Tribe said the raid, “violated a basic principle of our society, a principle whose preservation lies at the core of ordered liberty under the rule of law.” In fact, liberal icon Tribe went on to say Reno’s recklessness was “worse than a political blunder,” and that it “strikes at the heart of constitutional government and shakes the safeguards of liberty.” Heady stuff from two liberal Harvard law professors.
It doesn’t affect you or me if (as recounted in “Brighter than the Baghdad Sun” by Shyam Bhatia and Daniel McGrory) “Reports had reached State Department diplomats of how one morning Hillary Clinton had burst into the room while members of President Clinton’s security team were briefing him about Saddam Hussein. Throwing a newspaper at her husband that contained some new humiliating revelation about his sexual adventures with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the first lady slapped him across the face. After a barrage of insults she stormed out, threatening to end their sham marriage. …” However, if you were one of those pilots dispatched on the morning of December 16th to “Wag the Dog” and kill Saddam, you it affects.
We have often observed there are consequences to actions. We try to teach that to our children. However, for some Ionesco-esque absurdity, we seem content to allow those we elect to represent us to routinely avoid, ignore or manipulate responsibilities of significantly more import that walking the family dog or taking out the garbage.
“All politics is local … ” and eventually, although it may sometimes be hard to fathom, all politics become personal.