A Prayer for Reason
 Have we gone too far to be able to find common ground ? Or has the division become the goal rather than the obstacle to be overcome. In the aftermath of the recent American elections it would appear that there is no middle ground. Americans are divided as never before in my lifetime. This may have served the purposes of the Bush political machine but it has done nothing to heal the country. And when America  is ailing the entire world is the victim. There is no denying that America is the most powerful nation on earth and the sole super power but strength not tempered with mercy  is an unrelenting task master and as history shows it comes with disastrous results.

 When is winning an election justification for character assassination, baseless lies and dishonesty? The campaign waged to destroy Mr Bush's opponent  was the most relentless and despicable of my lifetime.  Senator Kerry has proven irrefutably that he is a patriot and is an acknowledged war hero but even those credentials did not insulate him against the baseless charges sanctioned and, in the opinion of most, encouraged by the man who would ask for the respect of the Free World as Leader. How does one respect a Leader who has no limits on how far he will go to achieve a political objective ? How can one follow him when he has shown such lack of character and decency?  When he places so little value on a man who went into battle to defend his country what message does this send to those now  facing  the unimaginable horrors of war under his command ? How can those youngsters have any confidence that he will support them should circumstances change or  the mood of the electorate change ?

 Yes, Bush knew his opponent. He knew that John Kerry would never speak out against those veterans who were maligning him  on Bush's behalf. He knew the integrity which is engraved on Kerry's soul would never allow him to denigrate those he considered 'Brothers' despite their politically motivated and misguided actions. And so, John Kerry  asked the people to trust his record.  And to know that those who had fought with him and still stood shoulder to shoulder  with him all these years later would only do so if it was warranted. The people did not live up to his expectations. They perceived his reluctance to reply in kind as weakness rather than what it actually was - the strength and character to lead a nation torn apart by division and at war.

The mistake in judgement was not the fault of the electorate. They were led by the so called Fourth Estate whose duty it is to inform and educate as to the facts. If anyone failed the people it is not difficult to find the culprit.  The Press failed utterly in this past year to do their job. Not only did they not  inform they actually aided and abetted in the  dissemination of the misinformation and  for that  they should be held to account.

 And it didn't stop there. The distortion continued  when it came to John Kerry's positions  and decisions over a twenty year period and up to and including his  comments  throughout the campaign. Instead of debunking the falsehoods  and misrepresentations they perpetuated them ad infinitum.  No, John Kerry was not the most adept of campaigners. True Statesmen seldom are. It takes a degree of  chicanery to truly be an accomplished politician on the campaign trail and to always have at hand the adroitness to adapt to the circumstances and say only what people want to hear. None of us deals well with the truth when it doesn't suit our agenda. John Kerry does not conform well to that pattern. He assumes intelligence and understanding perhaps when it doesn't exist. Or when his listeners are incapable of  wanting to understand.

As I watched the results on election night I could almost feel my heart breaking as I  was faced with contemplating the future being decided for all of us. How could a people have been so deluded as to not see the calibre of the man they were rejecting?  And how could they choose to follow  a man who had led his country to be so distrusted and  dishonoured by the results of his decisions? How many Abu Graib's or slaughtered children would it take for them to see?

And so we once again are faced with  a country and a world divided  and on the brink of goodness knows what disaster. Led by a man who feels he must answer to no one and without the capacity to change. A man who sees using the power and might of his country's military armaments and the squandering of the lives of a country's youth as only a small price to pay to enforce his will on others as right and in God's name. The innocent children who die in his cause are only collateral damage. May God forgive him for I doubt the loved ones of those lost in his crusade ever will.

 Dwight David Eisenhower, President of the United States, General of the Army,  wrote in 1953: " Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.

 Another of his countrymen Benjamin Franklin, at age 77, from a letter to Sir Joseph Banks,  written July 27, 1783:  " I hope that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable creatures, have reason and sense enough to settle their differences without cutting throats, for in my opinion there never was a good war, or a  bad peace."

 This time it is quite possibly the future of this planet which is at stake. In the name of God and  for the sake of the children now here as well as the generations not yet born please think about what is being contemplated and speak up as one in an effort to have our leaders see reason before it is too late. Now is not the time for division or rancour amongst those who should be one. Waging war for revenge or with the aim of imposing our values on others will only cause our enemies to multiply and the ultimate cost is too horrifying to even contemplate.

An international system was built after the Second World War which created a series of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that set limits on our foes and protected our friends, and this system has survived through the years acknowledged as our best chance for world peace. For freedom's sake and for humanity itself we MUST convince those who are prepared to discard these safeguards that they must stop and think  about the gravity of their course of action and the ramifications which may very well be beyond comprehension.

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who once said ... "Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security."  In my humble opinion we would all  be well advised to heed his warning.

"The saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty 
is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth
a saving hand while yet there was time."

 ~ Justice George Sutherland (1938) 
 
 

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MIDI "America the Beautiful" courtesy of Les Gorven 
 
 

November 12 2004