Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Will We Ever Learn?


Conventional thought suggests that the elders of the tribe should be treasured for their knowledge and wisdom. With my 75th birthday arriving this week, I believe I’ve reached the age to be considered and elder, but I can’t offer any wisdom that isn’t patently obvious for all of us to see if we read a paper or turn on the TV.

I was three months old when my country plunged into the first war of my lifetime, and it was a doozy. Millions of people died, and more millions were physically maimed and mentally scarred, but the result was that tyranny was held at bay, if not defeated.  For that reason it was generally regarded to be a good war.

A few years later, we…the US of A with the help of the UN…decided that the world needed a police force and we entered a war in Korea. We stuck our collective noses into something that was none of our business, and into an issue that we couldn’t resolve. Once again many millions died or suffered, and more than a half-century later the Korean problem still isn’t resolved.

You’d think we’d learn, but we still weren’t smart and we did it again. Well meaning, na├»ve people, goaded by international profiteers, decided we could resolve the disagreement in Indochina, even after the French failed miserably. Millions more died, trillions of dollars were spent, and the moral fabric of our country began to unravel…and we still didn’t learn anything. After we left that fetid morass, we went right back to interfering in regional conflicts. As Forrest Gump said…”Stupid is a stupid does”…and we does it in spades!

The result is that now we are engaged in another global war, and to borrow another phrase, we are stuck on stupid. We will never, ever, defeat a worldwide following of religious zealots. Because of the power we’ve allowed a bunch of misguided do-gooders who think it’s more important to feel good about our intentions, we never consider the laws of unintended consequences before we jump into the middle of family feuds and divine purification.

In an effort to accommodate disparate opinions, we take symbolic military actions that kill, maim, and empty the treasury, and then let lawyers, not generals, decide which violent acts are okay and which are not. Anyone with a lick of common sense can tell you that we have no chance of changing people’s minds about religious theories about what it takes to guarantee an afterlife. Instead of concentrating on our own problems, we throw dollars, unsolicited advice, and unrealistic demands at those who don’t like us, don’t respect us, who are different than us, and don’t want us nosing into their business.

We are only weeks away from another national election that will set in motion the next step in unraveling our country. I’ve met very few who can honestly and enthusiastically declare that they support either major party, or either presidential candidate. Instead they are against the people and politics of the opposition.

I have yet to hear any politician or any pundit say that their party is pledged to follow the Constitution of the United States. Instead they want to run things their way…and that is where our problems begin and end.

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