Can There Be Neutrality?

On the anniversary of one of our country’s worst civilian nightmares, September 11, 2012, an American Ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Libya. On the same day in Egypt the American Embassy was stormed by a radical Muslim faction that set fires, ripped up our flags, and caused not only much damage to the buildings but much fear to our small community of citizens there. Two countries, one still trying to form a semblance of government in a post-Moammar Khadafi environment and one whose passive government chose not to intervene in the American Embassy destruction.

Was it a coincidence that these two events occurred on the anniversary of 9/11? Were the events somehow a sign post signifying a beginning or a beginning of an end? And, what do these two events have to do with writing?

The last question will be answered first. I am writing! I am writing because these two events got me thinking about the posture of the world, of all our great nations. The events got me thinking about my kids, their kids, and their kids’ kids. The thinking is not the good and wholesome kind of thinking, and I need to write about it. It is thinking that will undoubtedly be unsettling for some and will likely fit right into some others wheelhouses. I’m writing about neutrality, but more precisely, my inability to stay neutral on certain issues that are facing America.

Our two political parties had their conventions during the last two weeks, and they were polar opposites as far as platform and vision. They most certainly got me to thinking, and, with the two 9/11/2012 events in Libya and Egypt, all these events combined to give me a first class migraine.

Were the Libya and Egypt events coincidental? I’ll answer with this question: is there a tooth fairy?

Were the Libya and Egypt events a sign post to a beginning or to a beginning of an end? My answer to this question has to embrace the political conventions, but here is my attempt at an answer with abundant questions thrown in.

At one political convention, speaker after speaker had a portrayal of our country in great economic decline, in great need of jobs, new leadership, new commitment to a strong ‘carry a big stick’ foreign policy, less govenment control of our God-given freedoms, the power of the individual to succeed as far as her/his potential permits without de-incentivizing federal regulations and runaway tax codes. The speakers at this convention spoke to the  convservatives among us. Were these speakers speaking truth or fiction? Would it be better to ask the unemployed and all those who were promised ‘Hope’ four years ago, promised by a man who said he would be a one-term president if he did not succeed in bringing the unemployment rate down below eight percent?

At the other political convention, speaker after speaker regaled the ‘beginning of Hope’ that started almost four years ago. The speakers talked of needing more time to implement that ‘Hope,’ that new society where everyone got a fair shake. The speakers railed about inheriting the worst economy in a generation. They cheerfully blamed their political foes for being uncooperative and not offering any solutions to the issues facing the nation. The speakers said nothing about having the entire government in their hands for two years of the new presidency. The splendid speakers mentioned achievements in getting our troops out of Iraq, bringing more troops home from Afghanistan and they talked of killing Usama Bin Laden. They talked again of ‘Hope.’ The speakers spoke to the more liberal among us. Were these speakers speaking truth or fiction? Would it be better to ask the unemployed and all those who were promised ‘Hope’ four years ago?

So, yes, the events in Libya and Egypt do signal a beginning and a beginning of an end. Here’s where I leave ‘neutrality’ and give my simple soliloquy, powered only by my heart and by my limited intelligence quotient, prefaced only by saying that I’m no politico, no shill, just someone who cares about the direction his country is going, who wants to share what he feels. It is impossible to maintain a neutral position when the stakes are so high at this moment in our history. These are my thoughts. Try not to hate me for them — loving me for these thoughts is so much better!

My wife, Julie Anne, made it so crystal clear to me. She quoted an old saying: “Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” She also reminded me that we have Greece, Rome, Russia as history markers, great countries who failed in their socialistic networks. She reminded me that we need to help our poor, our elderly, our sick but be able to discern those who would take advantage of our largesse. We discussed the issues to the best of our abilities. But, then, it is easy to discuss when your belief systems are the same. It has always amazed me how good people can differ on issues with fairly wide magins.

For what it’s worth, here are my conclusions. We have today a near government-dependent majority in our society, if not already a majority, that is, people on the public dole to one extent or another, people who are indeed needy mixed in with many (who can say how many?) who are simply there for the free hand-out. It bothers me when I hear people say I don’t care about the poor and sick among us or my statement that we need to weed out the freeloaders of society. I remember my dear mother during post-depression days in Appalachia working two jobs to keep her son and daughter with her. I remember her dying in a senior care facility bed when I was not there, and the thought still brings me pain. Caring is of the heart, and my heart cares, but my mind cannot accept the individual’s rights being sucked away by a government whose wish is to take what you and I make and redistribute it to a mass of people who may or may not need my help, who may or may not be lazing around just waiting on the next government check. We are becoming too much of an entitlement country. We need to know where our tax dollars are going, and it’s fine if the dollars are going to those who truly need. We need to stop with the class warfare rhetoric, the trash politics and lies, and we need to stop playing race cards…

Whoa, I’m getting too revved up! I’m also becoming conscious of my narrative’s length, so I’ll end it here.

It was simply important for me to express what I’ve been thinking since those conventions and since the terrible events of Libya and Egypt.

Can there be neutrality? Not from where I sit. But, maybe we can try to calmly talk and hear each other out, maybe do some old fashioned compromising. It is actually time to change the face of politics, time to put some faith and trust back in the hearts and minds of the people, time to stop the special perks our politicians enjoy, time to build, create, and enjoy what our labors can produce, time…time for me to stop writing.

Is not freedom and liberty great that I can give you my thoughts and yours to me?


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