The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

AND JUSTICE FOR NONE

Mom was a very bright woman.  Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom was her statement, “There are three sides to every story – yours, mine and the truth.”

While I prefer to believe that most people are basically honest, there is no doubt in my mind that some people will do or say anything simply to advance their own agendas.  And all of use have, at some point or other, told a fib, a lie or an outright whopper.  Most of those are relatively harmless – but there are times when they can have serious consequences – not only on our own consciences but on others.

Many years ago I found myself in a legal conflict with a person whom I thought of as a friend as well as a colleague and competitor.  This fellow had an executive search assignment and was having difficulty filling the position.  He asked me and my firm to help.  As it happened, we already knew of the position and the office which specialized in IT had been working on it themselves for several weeks.  I was unaware of that until I spoke with my manager in that office.  As I said to my colleague, I would only enter an agreement with him after I had discussed this with the manager of that office since ultimately I left those sorts of arrangements up to the individual office manager.

Without going into the sordid details, we did fill the position and collected the fee.  Contrary to the facts and despite several conversations with this fellow, he decided that he was entitled to half the fee and filed a law suit to collect what he considered his due.

At the bench trial, my colleague’s attorney called one of his employees to testify to the “facts.”  He did so, and I thought his testimony was compelling.  He specifically referred to a conversation that his boss and I had in which he specifically stated that I had agreed to “splitting the fee” which was the very question at issue.  There was only one problem with his testimony.  He was not present at this meeting or any other I had with my friend and his testimony was totally fabricated and fraudulent.  With that “testimony” the plaintiff rested their case.

When I heard him testify, my heart sank and my mouth opened wide.  I could not believe that someone would have the temerity to bald face lie – particularly under oath.  I was about to turn to my attorney and tell her that this false testimony was totally untrue when suddenly she jumped up and moved for a verdict of “immediately dismissal” since the plaintiff had not proven their case.  I didn’t see how, after listening to this damning piece of “evidence” the judge would possibly rule in our favor and grant this request.  But he did.

As the plaintiff had called their various witnesses, I noticed that the judge seemed a bit bored with this case, as though he had an assignment to read a book for school but had no interest in the subject matter but was obligated to read it anyway.  While he rendered a correct verdict, I thought that might be less because he had sorted through and sifted the facts (we had not yet presented our defense) than because he was late for a lunch date at a fancy restaurant.  Perhaps my mother’s statement about the three sides to a story should be revised to, “Yours, mine and expedience.”

There are a number of corollaries between the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and another, earlier case – the murder trial of O. J. Simpson.  In that case, of course, there was a black alleged perpetrator and two white victims.  But that the sense of public opinion was very neatly divided, primarily on racial lines, suggests the comparison.  If you were a black American there was nearly a ninety-nine percent likelihood that you believed O. J. innocent.  If you were a white American you were eighty percent likely to believe him guilty.  And most of the white twenty percent who believed that O. J. was being railroaded were Buffalo Bills fans.

Another similarity between the two cases was that in both instances, the media, sensing the smell of blood in the water and huge ratings, provided us with never ending coverage of the two events.  And they had rightly gauged that they would develop an audience for this story.  The day by day events of the Simpson trial were the subject of more conversation in the office than I would have preferred.  It’s hard for a person to do his job when he’s discussing issues that are totally unrelated to it.

These two trials bring an important point to the foreground.  During the O. J. trial, there were fears among the white community that if he were found guilty, rioting and looting would erupt countrywide.  When the jury voted to acquit, there was a sigh of relief and a groan of disbelief that came from many of my white friends.  In contrast, my black friends almost universally were of the opinion that “justice had been done.”  A later wrongful death civil suit which O. J. lost, suggested that the criminal verdict was not one that was correct.  Subsequent actions on O. J.’s part further suggest that he was not the American icon in which many of us had come to believe.

In Ferguson, MO we are receiving nearly as much coverage by the media as in the earlier trial.  Sadly, we are primarily hearing only one side of the story.  Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown has yet to be heard from.  But we have the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon (D) joining the chorus of “justice for Michael Brown and his family” with the release of a video calling for justice to be rendered swiftly.

Perhaps that is a disguised call to quell the violence that has been occurring in that community.  Perhaps that is a political statement to appeal to a black electorate that is crucial to his political aspirations in a very purple, even Republican leaning state.  Whatever the reason, the governor’s statement is totally inappropriate.  Should we not have justice rendered to both Michael Brown and his family as well as Officer Wilson?  If we predetermine what “justice” means without having all the facts in evidence, there is likely to be none for any of us.

Reminiscent of the Simpson murder trial, a black female Democrat state representative is on record saying that “If the grand jury (which convened today) does not return an indictment, the violence we have seen in Ferguson will be dwarfed by what will ensue.”  How does a statement like that do other than inflame an already tense situation?  And, more importantly, if one of those grand jurors hears that statement, how might that influence his or her judgment as that person attempts to evaluate the evidence which will be presented?

Thomas More was convicted because of perjured “evidence.”  As a result, he was beheaded.  The following scene from “A Man For All Seasons” briefly describes how he as a lawyer, viewed how laws should be enforced, irrespective of who was involved in the disputation:

 

If we are willing to allow the subversion of what has been the fairest legal system in the world, albeit imperfect, for the purpose of achieving some immediate personal gain, we are inviting disaster on our heads.  That is true whether we do so and justify our actions because of race, religion, sex or for any other reason.  And then, as More asked, when the last law has fallen, where will we take refuge?  We will bring in a state of anarchy of our own making, there will be justice for none and the Devil will have his due.

COLOR BLIND

Chan’s Chinese Laundry & Dry Cleaning was a small store, about a ten minute walk from my apartment.  The proprietor, a lady who was in her mid-fifties when I first began bringing my clothes there was a Taiwanese woman who spoke very little, broken English. Her name was Chan Mei.  I used her services for a very long time.

When I say a long time it was over a period where I saw her son Peter grow from a toddler, playing in his play pen in the store; watch him grow old enough that he would help out with the ironing; graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in electrical engineering; get married and have his first child, a daughter whom he named Doris.

After Doris was born I asked Peter how he had decided on her name, thinking this was perhaps a close approximation of a Chinese name.  He answered me, “She has no Chinese name.  We’re Americans, so she has an American name.  Besides, I like Doris Day and her movies.  She seems very nice and very happy.  I want my daughter to be very nice and very happy.”

Every Saturday between noon and twelve fifteen I would show up at Chan’s, armed with a bundle of soiled clothes and some wire hangers which I was returning so they could be reused and would pick up my clothes that had been expertly cleaned.  It got to the point when Mei was so used to my schedule that she always had my clothing up front shortly before noon so that I didn’t have to wait for her to find them among all the hanging clothes that were ready and waiting for pick up.

When my mother passed away, I left Chicago and spent four weeks in New York, dealing with all the things one has to do after a family death.  Needless to say, my last load of clothing languished in Chan’s until I returned to the Windy City.

When I came in that next Saturday, Mei sighed as though in relief and said, “I worry about you, Missee Juwanna.  I thinkee maybe something happen you – no see for long time.”  I explained what had occurred and the reason for my absence.  A look of great concern and sadness came over Mei’s face.

“You fatha die and now you motha die.  You orphan now.”

With that statement, Mei raised the wooden hinged board in the front counter that allowed access to the back of the store, came over to me and gave me a big hug.  “I be you motha now,” she said as the tears welled up in both our eyes.

After a few minutes in this embrace, Mei released me and before giving me my clothes which I could see waiting in their usual place, she said, “You waitee here.”  She went in the back of the store and I could hear oil sizzling in a wok.  About ten minutes later she came to the front of the store with a little plastic lined white Chinese food takeout box and presented me with my lunch.

I thought that was extremely sweet but was completely taken by surprise when the following Saturday I was again presented with a take out container.  That continued  every Saturday for the next twenty years.  This loving woman had voluntarily taken on this responsibility and never failed to deliver on her commitment.  When she finally returned to Taiwan at the age of 78 to take care of an older brother who’s wife had passed away, I could tell that Mei was concerned that I would be able to carry on without her.  But I assured her that I would be okay – and she hesitantly seemed to believe me.

About five years after Mei began making my Saturday meals, I walked in as usual and could see that she was very upset.  I asked her why she was so distraught.  She said, “Man come in and wavee gun at me – steal money.”  I was so angered that someone had stolen the little amount of money this woman had and who worked so hard to earn it, I was determined to do whatever I could to see that he was apprehended.

I asked Mei, “Was he tall or short; fat or thin; black or white?”  If I happened to see him while doing my Saturday shopping, I wanted to be able to flag down one of the police cars that regularly cruised the neighborhood.

Mei looked at me and said, “Missee Juwanna.  All you black and white people lookee same to me.”  I had to bite my cheek to prevent an involuntary smile from spreading across my face.  I did not want her to mistake my genuine amusement at her statement to be mis-interpreted for minimizing the seriousness of what had happened.

I thought about Mei and Chan’s Chinese Laundry & Dry Cleaning the other day because of what has been happening in Ferguson, MO.  I wondered to myself whether Ferguson had a Chinese laundry there.  And I asked myself, “If they did have a Chinese laundry in Ferguson, after all the protests, looting and rioting, is it still standing?”

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

It was the year 1957 – 57 years ago.  The scene was Little Rock, Arkansas.  The governor of that state was Orval Faubus (D), a name that may be unfamiliar to younger readers.  The nine male white Justices of the Supreme Court had struck down desegregation in public schools in the Brown vs. The Board of Education decision.  The governor of Arkansas disagreed with that decision and militarized the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from attending Little Rock Central High School.

The nine black students who had enrolled in Little Rock Central High School initially were blocked from attending by the Guard.  The Mayor of Little Rock, Woodrow Wilson Mann appealed to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) who intervened, sending in the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock to escort and protect the students.  Eisenhower ultimately federalized the Arkansas National Guard, taking them out of the control of Governor Faubus.

Particularly during their first year attending Little Rock Central High, all of the students were subject to derision and abuse by their white counterparts.  One of them, Melba Patillo had acid thrown in her face and several white girls tried to light her hair on fire when she was in the rest room.  Others were spit on as they walked the school’s hallways.  That was the way it was in America in 1957 – at least in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The state of Arkansas elects its governor for a two year term.  Orval Faubus was elected to six successive terms by the citizens of that state.  Notwithstanding what transpired in Little Rock in 1957, Faubus won his final election as governor in 1964 and carried more than 81% of the black vote in that election.  What were the black voters of Arkansas thinking back then?  What are they thinking today?

There was something refreshing about Orval Faubus.  He made the list of the “Top Ten Most Influential Men in America” in 1958.  He was either loved or hated.  There was no parsing your position when it came to the governor.  You knew that Faubus was a strict segregationist.  He made no bones about his position and made no excuses for his beliefs.  Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, it was impossible to say that he was not honest.

I thought about Little Rock as events in Ferguson, MO are unfolding.  To say the least, the way in which the Ferguson PD has managed this has been far from perfect.  Suspicion has arisen because of the failure, until today, to release the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.  The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon (D) took charge and by appointing the head of the Missouri State Police,  Captain Ron Johnson took a big step in the right direction.  Johnson is well-spoken and is a calming influence, helping to diffuse a situation that was at a boiling point and is now at a fast simmer.

The family made a statement and appealed to the community to keep calm, to continue to demonstrate but to do so in a peaceful manner.  That is admirable and is what should happen.  But in today’s release of the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown, it was also revealed that Brown was caught on the Quick Trip video security camera, robbing the store.  His identity and participation in this theft has now been confirmed – as well his manhandling the short owner of the store who is dwarfed by this 6’ 4”, 292 pound “gentle giant” as he has been characterized.  And then the attorneys for the Brown family, headed by Benjamin Crump who represented the Trayvon Martin family, released the following statement:

Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piece mil (sic) information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

Benjamin L Crump, Esq.
Anthony D. Gray, Esq.
Daryl D. Parks, Esq.

If I hadn’t read the signatures at the end of this statement, I would have guessed that it had been written by Al Sharpton or one of the other race baiters who regularly stir the pot when these sorts of incidents occur.  And just for once, it would give all of us some real reason for outrage if the “victim” as Michael Brown may have been, did not engage in possibly illegal acts, such as the store robbery, which only muddy the waters on what happened.

I didn’t know the late Michael Brown.  Losing your life over fifty dollars worth of stolen cigars is mind numbing.  But I do know that good kids don’t steal from convenience stores.  And if there is one lesson to be learned, it is one that is generally ignored by our black citizens.

In 1964 when black Arkansas voters cast 81% of their ballots for the segregationist/racist Governor Orval Faubus, the overall unemployment rate in this country was 5.2% and for black workers was 6.1%.  Today the rate for black teenagers, kids like Michael Brown is nearly 25% – and black Americans voted for another Democrat, Barack Obama giving him 95% of their ballots.

It makes me long for the good old days.

WHO INVENTED TOAST?

As a kid I realized that my interests were different from those of many my age.  The boys were interested in speculating about whether the Yankees would make it into the World Series.  The girls wondered whether they could make their Barbie even more alluring if they put some of their mothers’ lipstick on her.  I didn’t understand why kids were interested in either of those subjects.

I had been taught by my parents  that one of the first responsibilities of being a civilized person was listening to others, no matter the subject matter or what their opinion was.  This resulted in several occasions where I had self-inflicted wounds to the palms of my hand, caused by my nails digging into the flesh as I tried patiently to wait for the subject to change to something in which I had an interest.  There were some days that never happened – many days.

At a fairly early age, I realized and started to accept the fact that I was “different” from other kids my age.  In fact, I could readily picture myself growing up and being “different” as an adult.  This was not a judgment about who was better but merely an understanding that I had an alternative path to follow than others.  I thought that path might not have many fellow travellers on it – and that has proven to be the case.  And I longed to be transformed somehow so that I could change my route and find myself happily treading the road that so many others followed and with which they were content.  That never happened either.

One of the manifestations of my self-realization came in the form of a nightmare which repeated itself over several nights.  I was buried in Times Square in a glass coffin.  I could look out and see people walking over me on their way to work or one of the girlie joints that existed at that time – or perhaps rushing to the Automat to grab a quick bite to eat.  I remember crying out, “I’m here.  Somebody help me get out.”  But no one seemed either to hear me or to care enough to make an effort.  Fortunately, that nightmare went away, although mentioning it these many years later still sends a shiver up my spine.  Years later I realized that the line from “Cool Hand Luke,” ‘What we have here is failure to communicate” was pure plagiarism.  But not being a litigious person, I have no plans to sue the screenwriters.

One morning at breakfast one of the great questions of all time overwhelmed me.   Two eggs over easy, hash browns, three strips of crisp bacon and a couple toasted slices of Grandma’s homemade bread.  (I had already drunk the small glass of freshly squeezed orange juice – with pulp included).

There I was looking at breakfast. and it hit me as I cut into the yolk of one of the eggs and tore off a piece of the bread to soak up the yellow liquid.  “Who invented toast?,” I thought to myself.  This seemed to me, at the moment, to be the most profound and interesting question that anyone had ever posed.  Even though I was really hungry, I was tempted to set down my fork and walk over to “The Encyclopedia Britannica” and read about the history of how toast had come into existence.  But based on previous experience with eggs over easy, eating them cold wasn’t very appealing.  So I ate breakfast quickly, forgetting to enjoy it, and then, after bringing my plates into the kitchen, stood on the couch so that I could reach the “T” volume.

I thought that all the knowledge of the universe was contained in my encyclopedia.  I anxiously thumbed through the “T” articles, “Th,” “Ti”, “To” finally I was almost there.  Finally, I came on the entry.  The EB described (briefly) what toast was – but there was no reference to what I’m sure must be a very dignified pedigree belonging to the individual who invented it.  What a let down.  I already knew what toast was.  The book was absolutely no help.  So I turned to Grandma, my go to backup source.

“Grandma, who invented toast?”  She always looked at me very lovingly.  But somehow I felt that I had an insight into her mind and after I asked that question, I could see her thinking, “What a special child.”  She always liked to keep her inner thoughts quite charitable.  “Sweetheart, I really don’t know.”  A lesser person might have had a different thought after being asked that question by a ten year old.

Frustrated at being left in the dark, I gathered my books and went to school, making sure that my homework was ready and with me.  Sometimes, when I was in the middle of solving one of life’s mysteries, I had a tendency to leave things behind, absorbed, as I was with my great thoughts.

I didn’t pay much attention at school that morning.  How could I?  I debated whether or not I should ask my teacher, Mrs. Bounds my question.  She was a very wise person and very nice.  But a couple of times she had mentioned how she and her husband were going out to dinner at this restaurant or another – so I didn’t think she cooked very often and probably wouldn’t know the answer.  So I waited for lunch.

When we all filed into the lunchroom, I grabbed a tray, the silverware, a napkin and a container of milk.  We had beef stew that day and I helped myself to two slices of bread to soak up the gravy.  Mrs. Johnson served my stew and handed me my plate.  She was quite elderly and obviously she must have cooked or she wouldn’t be handing out beef stew to little kids, so I blurted out, “Mrs. Johnson, who invented toast?”  As I read her inner thoughts, I saw that they contained little of the gentility that I had experienced when I had asked Grandma the same question.  They were more along the lines of, “Only two more years of this and I’m going to retire.”  But she replied quite politely, “I really don’t know dear.”  And she smiled somewhat dismissively, suggesting that I was holding up the line and should move along.  So I did.

I asked several of my classmates and my friends my question.  But the boys were more interested in speculating about whether the Yankees would be in the World Series and the girls wondered if putting their mothers’ lipstick on Barbie would make her more alluring and I could tell they really weren’t interested in discussing my question – since they told me so.

More than a half century has gone by and I still don’t have an answer to my question.  Fortunately, I only think about it once in a while so it’s not a source of great emotional distress.  But, if you’re reading this and know “Who invented toast,” I would greatly appreciate your getting in touch and telling me.  And if you have the answer, you’re just the kind of person who must be walking my somewhat lonesome path and probably can answer my next question.  “Who invented butter?”

Let’s walk along together.  I’m sure we will have a lot to discuss.

 

 

POVERTY AND VIOLENCE

The other day I finished reading Jason Riley’s new book, “Please Stop Helping Us.”  Riley, a black conservative member of the editorial board of “The Wall Street Journal,” makes a compelling case for how liberal policies intended to improve the condition of inner city black Americans have actually resulted in the further deterioration of their condition.

And then along comes Ferguson, MO.  An eighteen year old black man is shot to death by a member of that city’s police department.  We don’t have the details of this death and the incident that led to it, but if Al Sharpton is on the scene, we have a pretty good idea how this will be portrayed – even before all the facts are known.

On Yahoo News today I read a story about the most dangerous cities in America in which to live.

http://www.answers.com/article/1191042/top-10-most-dangerous-cities-in-the-us?param4=ysa-us-de-lifestyle#slide=1&article=1191042

If you read the article, the basis for determining the level of “danger” was based on the number of incidents that involved either personal harm or property damage based on one thousand of population.  There is one thing that jumped out at me as several names appeared in the list.  But there were other communities with which I was less familiar and I wanted to see what percentage of black Americans comprised their population.  Here’s the percentage per community:

10.  Newburgh, NY 35%

9.  Oakland, CA  36%

8.  Chester, PA 75%

7.  Bessemer, AL 71%

6.  Detroit, MI  82%

5.  Saginaw, MI  43%

4.  West Memphis, AR  61%

3.  Camden, NJ  53%

2.  Flint, MI  53%

1.  East St. Louis, IL  98%

Overall, black Americans comprise about 13.2% of the population.

While the liberal media seized on the situation in Ferguson as yet another example of white racism resulting in the death of yet another innocent young black man, which it may turn out to be or not, there is virtually never a story about the almost daily, routine violence which exists in our black inner city neighborhoods – violence that almost always involve a black perpetrator and a black victim.

When we hear the stories about the violence and numbers of shootings and gun deaths in Chicago, there is never a mention of the fact that virtually all of these involve blacks doing the shooting and blacks being those who are shot.  The only way you would know what and where these things happen is if you’re familiar with the city and its neighborhoods or infer who is involved from those who are being interviewed.  Charity would call this poor journalism.  Honesty would call this a deliberate attempt to withhold the truth.

Poverty and violence are twin evil sisters, the latter stemming as a direct result from the former.  Should you disagree with that statement, please advise me of one affluent person who has ever been involved in looting a store, whatever the purported pretext.  What is happening in Ferguson, MO under the guise of “racial justification and retribution,” is little more than an excuse to grab and steal by people who are either unable or unwilling to work and earn.  They are responding in much the same way as the Eloi in H. G. Wells’, “The Time Machine” when the food is put out for them, not realizing that they are merely being fattened for the slaughter.

If the inner city black community read Riley’s book it might be an eye opener for them.  They might then think of those in the liberal white community who have manufactured these socially engineered welfare programs in their nearly one hundred variations and say to themselves, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”

ROBIN WILLIAMS

For years you made me laugh – and now you’ve made me cry.

Rest in Peace, Robin.  I’ll miss you.

When I was in grammar school, all of us engaged in a weekly game of dodge ball.  Students from four grades were sided up, the “A” homeroom students on one side and the “B” homeroom students on the other.  The balls were divided evenly between both sides and we scrambled to pick up this ammunition, intent on destroying our enemy students.  This gave me an early insight into my own and my fellow students’ different personalities.

Generally, the older kids, oblivious of the pelting they were likely to encounter, ran to the demarcation line dividing the two sides, poised to hoist and hurl their soft rubber missiles at their opponents.  Naturally, many of these were felled by their opponents’ projectiles and were retired from the game.  Others who were perhaps more prudent, hung back from the front line of the playing field, more intent on avoiding the balls flung at them than demolishing the enemy until the numbers on both sides had been culled down to a more manageable size.

In a typical game I found myself sidelined fairly early on.  In part this was due to the large, heavy prescription glasses that I wore from an early age that limited my peripheral vision, resulting in my taking more than my fair share of balls to the head and other body parts.  But perhaps the more important factor in my less than stellar performance was my own view of my abilities.  I knew that I didn’t throw as well as other kids and I didn’t have a vision of being the superstar who carried my side through to victory.

One day, through a matter of chance and a little bit of artful dodging, I was the last kid on my side still standing – versus three older kids on the other side.  My classmates, knowing my less than stellar athletic skills, still cheered me on enthusiastically.  All of a sudden my adrenaline started flowing.  I had to hold up the honor of all of us “A” homeroom kids.  I put out of my mind the fact that I was outnumbered by three to one and these kids were all better throwers than I.  The only assets I had going for me were agility and desire.

One kid came to the line and fired one of the small, fast balls at me.  Remarkably, I caught it – much to both our surprise and the cheers of my classmates.  I hurled it right back and it struck one of the two remaining contenders in the foot.  More cheers from the sideline.  Then it was one on one.

After an exchange of mis-fired balls my nemesis on the other side of the chalk threw one of the larger balls.  For a moment I debated whether I should try to grab or evade it.  I finally thought I could catch it – and I did.  We had won – and my classmates cheered me with tremendous enthusiasm (and I suspect a modicum of disbelief).  I felt a tremendous glow, knowing what it was to win.

America once had this “can do” spirit of winning.  That’s what brought millions of immigrants to the country.  Nowhere else in the world was it possible for a humble person to make the best possible life for him or herself and his kids.  Being the best was the goal.  It was not an embarrassment.  And we won consistently and that had benefits not only for Americans but billions around the world because Americans are a charitable people.

It always amazes me when I hear the envy, inherent in the philosophy of the liberal left that, “So and so has too much money.  We should take most of that and redistribute it to those who barely have enough food to eat.”  While helping out the poor is certainly a moral thing in which to engage, what the left either fails to realize or chooses to ignore is that once that one time distribution is made, the poor person will continue to engage in the behaviors that made him poor and the formerly wealthy person will continue to engage in the behaviors that will enable him to amass a second fortune.

The underlying premise of left wing American politics is that America is an evil-doer, without the moral compass to participate in world affairs since they believe that it is American past policy which has misshapen our globe into the turbulent place it is.  If we were to ask them to name a country that has done more to help out humanity through charitable giving or selfless military service where and when it has been needed, they will either be silent or they will change the focus of the conversation.  That is because there is no answer to that question by virtually any measure.

While the real motivation for initiating the war in Iraq may be debatable, there is no question that Saddam Hussein was a violent, ruthless and genocidal dictator.  That in itself would present sufficient reason for ridding his people of him.  Estimates are that between 250,000 and 500,000 died at his hands.  Is that not a sufficient number dead to have removed this scourge from the Earth?

We ignored Hussein and his murders for years.  Whether he possessed WMD’s or not, the slaughter of one half million of his own countrymen should stir even the most pacifistic person to action.  And after a hard fought war, Hussein was eliminated and Iraq was brought to what, by Middleastern standards, was a level of balance and tranquility.  And then we withdrew and the country is once again in chaos with perhaps an even more violent and ruthless force now in control of much of the country.  The previous post had several graphic pictures of the horror they currently are bringing on those whose views differ from theirs.

In defense of what can only be generously termed a “policy,” President Obama said in a New York Times interview yesterday that “The responsibility for Iraq falls on the shoulders of the Iraqi government – not the United States.  And if we had left a force of 10,000 troops there it would have made no difference in ISIS’ ascendancy to power.”  The first part of the statement, that Iraqis should determine their own fate has some fair amount of validity to it.  The second part, that leaving troops there would have had no impact on future developments is purely speculative and, in my belief, likely untrue.  Having a U. S. military presence there might have at the least shown that we hadn’t abandoned the country and left it totally in the hands of what has proven to be an inefficient and inept government.

Part of the left’s justification for withdrawing from Iraq and soon Afghanistan is that the American people are war weary.  Poll after poll shows that is the case.  But that is a reflection and expression of politics not policy.  If we were to use that metric, there would have been a bipartisan law passed repealing Obamacare since the majority of Americans in poll after poll oppose the law.  If liberal Americans want to use polling as the basis for policy decisions they should, at least, be consistent.

Now, in a limited way, we’re back in Iraq.  We’re finally supplying some armaments to our longest standing allies, the Kurds and humanitarian relief to the Yazidis and other minority groups that are being butchered by the ISIS savages.  Even as we embark on this, we have shown our hand by describing our present and future involvement as being “limited.”  It’s fairly clear that if anyone in this administration has ever paid poker, they have not done well in that venture.  There is no difference in the way in which the Obama administration pursues American relations with other countries than an NFL coach who shares his playbook with the opposing team.

Because of our natural resources, not the least of which is our people’s ability to perceive that evil, where it existed, could not be tolerated and had to be combatted, America has been the perhaps unwilling caretaker for the world at least since the end of WW II.  As a result of a philosophy that ignores that fact, this administration has led an exodus of retreat – and the results are what we see before us today on the world’s stage.  It is not a pretty picture and belies Obama’s recent statement that, “The world has never been a safer place.”

When I found myself the lone survivor in our dodge ball game I realized that I was outnumbered and had poorer skills than my opponents.  But sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.  America faces no such similar deficiency.  We are still the world’s strongest power militarily and, despite the decline in our standards of morality, know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.  Hopefully, we will do the right thing even at the cost of personal sacrifice.

It’s time that the administration stood up, moved to the demarcation line, looked the army of terror in the face and said, “Enough.  You will go no further.”  We’ll see if our future actions are determined by partisan politics or intelligent policy.

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