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The Never-Ending War

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Paul warns we are at a crossroads of political thought, and is looking for those who 'walk the walk.'

To those of us in southern England on June 6, 1944 the conflict that became known as WWII took a sudden turn. The skies were full of airplanes. Mostly bombers headed for the Continent, they were later referred to as the “aluminum overcast.” Each plane was in a sense like the words swamping the coming great election.

This time the sky overhead is full of words designed to overwhelm an enemy. As usual, a political enemy. The war this June is just as lethal as that one long ago. Destruction of any societal system isn’t much different than converting a neighborhood into a pile of rubble.

The hurt is just as deep, the confusion is essentially the same as are the consequences.

Politics can be spelled in many ways. Perhaps likening it to war is a bit extreme but the aims and results are pretty much the same. Politics in America has long been a sort of gentle guidance.

Demonstrations, defiant mobs, vindictive bombing, marches and the like have never been the rule; they have been the exception, to promote a different opinion. 

As the war drones on it might be helpful to consider the words recorded by one scholar in his history of Iran. The author of such a simple thought was Christopher de Bellaigue in writing about the progress of life in Iran about 60 years ago. The Iranians were confused because their leader at the time failed to “strike that balance between the interests and ideals, of which a true politician is made” That is essentially what is going on today. 

We are living in an era of extremes.  One force is trying through extraordinary means to reshape the thoughts of a  majority of our voters while his opposition is fed by equally extreme visions on the other side. The air is filled with the drone of words, on top of words, designed to generate support. The voices are many. The voices are often shrill. The voices are generally raw emotion.

The voices often spell confusion. Deception can be a fact. 

We are at a crossroads of political thought. The air is filled with confusing logic. The air is filled with meaningless opinions. The air is filled with ideas whose lofting satisfies only the one doing it. 

Being right is a terrible burden. 

In the Wall Street Journal the other day the columnist Jason Zweig noted that the  philosopher Bertram Russell was one who was concerned about the consequences of being right. “... the less evidence someone has that his ideas are ‘right’ the more vehemently he asserts that there is no doubt whatsoever that he is exactly right’” 

These days the woods are filled with ‘right fighters’ who stand on the Constitution just as the Islamists stand on the Koran and the evangelicals stand on the Bible. There is nothing wrong about their principles (as long as they adhere to them). What is wrong is they are misusing the platform. The certainty of being right does not necessarily mean you are correct. It only means your convictions are overriding your ability to reason. 

In my business years there were always a few men who “ talked the talk.” They knew the right words and to whom they should be addressed. They did that in my opinion because they really couldn’t perform.  What should count is the ability to get things done  That is where logic and common sense should prevail. 

Can the future of our country be controlled by endless interpretations that satisfy only a narrow segment of our population? Come on! Instead of being of one mind about our country we are being divided by the arguments for and against what constitutes marriage, when does life begin, should we be involved in contraception, is there a limit to who gets food stamps and just what does illegal mean, and on and on... the drone of words. 

Frankly, we are so far off course it is hard to see what will set us straight. But then again, what is  straight?

Straight is the governing principle that recognizes there are many diverse opinions at large and that it is impossible to satisfy each and every one. In the absence of a solution that fixes every flaw we allow natural forces to dominate. To put it another way, common sense comes into play. 

Do we empower the talk or the performer?

Dismissing the politician in favor of an ideologue is like giving a driver’s license to someone who has just learned to drive. Any good government requires not only dedicated members with integrity but people who know how to make their voices heard. Conviction is good but only when grounded on reality. 

Which persuades you most—the talk or the record? Those D-Day airplanes were “walking the walk.” After all, it is only performance that counts. 

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Author info

Paul Rechnitzer Paul Rechnitzer Transplanted 30 years ago, Paul is a retiree from the oil business who knows no other place he would rather live and breathe local history.

Tagged as:

Politics, World War II, Say What, discord, extremism

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