Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Heroes Families, Democracy, Gridlock, Iraq

Each week presents itself with a myriad of topics to choose from and ideas for columns. I’ve often wanted to comment on multiple topics. Not a novel idea I know, but one that seems to work well this week launching into a new year. So here it goes.

The Families of the Fallen

One fallen troop and the grief of his family was enough to realize the cost of war to Nebraska. We ended the year with another in Broken Bow.

We’ve definitely had enough war deaths here at home in Nebraska to understand the cost of war.

If your New Year’s Resolution was for the usual weight loss/diet/exercise/stop smoking stuff, reconsider or at least amend your New Year’s Resolution. Promise yourself to check in on those families and see that they’re being cared for.

By the way, isn’t it time for a monument to honor those Nebraskans who’ve died fighting terrorists for us?

The Democratic Process

The violent aftermath of the elections in Kenya and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto bring in to focus the precious nature of our democracy and the civility with which we practice it.

Although we may disagree on many issues, and we all find ourselves on the losing side of an election from time to time, we retain a sense of respect and decorum for the processes and institutions of our democracy and the republic represented by them.

We don’t resort to violence as a means to protest or change either the candidates for or the outcome of an election.

Rancor and rhetoric, as ugly as they may have gotten in our political arena, are still not exhibitions of violence.

We should be grateful to our Founders for a well laid plan which lends itself to such peace. We should be grateful to our Creator for allowing that plan to be fulfilled.

Washington Gridlock

On one hand it can be a good thing. The less that is done in Washington, typically the better off all of us are.

Our system of government was intended to be limited in scope. It was foreseen that the more it did, the more it would act as an apparatus to impede progress. Consequently, the less it does, the fewer intrusive laws it passes, the fewer regulatory obstacles it places in our path, the better off we are.

However, there are some things that we need Washington D.C. to fix. (Ironically, we can probably also trace them back to something Washington D.C. broke to begin with.)

But those things aren’t being corrected because gridlock remains a problem. The daily operation of our government has morphed into something which stagnates itself with Congress often unable to find legislation worthy of the people and issues of the time.

We can blame special interests, extreme partisanship, party leadership, a combination of all three, or something altogether different. Either way, surely they can do better.

As an aside, I do find it interesting that Congress was unable to accomplish anything in December until the last minute when they were suddenly able to cram half a trillion dollars of legislation together in order to run out the door for Christmas break. Maybe our nation’s Senators and Congressmen aren’t all that different from college students and school kids.

The War in Iraq

In case you missed it, there is still a war being fought. Despite the lack of coverage about the success we’re having. Despite the lack of coverage, period.

Things are going well enough that news outlets can’t come up with news. Are they so entrenched in the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality that they’ve become incapable of anything else?

The holidays presented me a rare occasion to watch television uninterrupted for two hours one morning between Christmas and New Year’s. I almost wore out my thumb on the remote control, racing from channel to channel and news program to news program.

With the exception of the ticker crawling across the bottom, there was only one story about Iraq in those two hours and it was about a Sunni woman and Shiite man who were married in Baghdad and all they’d done to keep the flame of love alive in a war zone. Sunni and Shiite marrying? Must have been a civil war.

But only one story in two hours, on at least 6 different channels. I’ll take it.

I’d like to see the stories of all the good work our troops are doing, but I’m also willing to settle for “no news is good news.”

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