Where do we go from here?
Some comments regarding the current state of the world (Oct 2000)
THE UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
For the past 30 years, America's leading news agencies have refused to publish earlier versions of my Nov 96 www.onesalt.com article, "The 'Golden Goose' of American Politics." Many of them preferred instead to publish editorials extolling their narrow-minded view of the virtues of a "direct popular vote" electoral system (like the electoral system recently used in Serbia). However, in the last two presidential elections, the Democrats did indeed base most of their campaign strategy on the principles described in that article. The Republicans did not, so the Democrats won by an electoral "landside" each time. This year, both major political parties have done a fairly good job of following the principles described in that article, and as a result they are fairly evenly matched going into the final week of the campaign.
According to the national opinion polls, George Bush (Jr.) is slightly ahead of Al Gore at the moment. Normally, in light of the success of our present economy, a Vice President would be a "shoe in" for getting elected president. But the ill-advised Al Gore "blew his credibility" in the first of the three presidential debates and the Republicans successfully seized that opportunity distract press and public attention away from examining Bush's own credibility and the credibility of the Republican Party in general. When both sides have successfully formulated their positions on the "issues of the day" in a way that appeals to (or is at least acceptable to) a substantial majority of the American voters, then issues such as personality and personal credibility become the deciding factor for many voters. Bush seems to understand this better than Gore.
One of the greatest failures of the Gore campaign has been its failure to successfully capitalize on the lack of credibility of Bush's neo-isolationist "Fortress America" foreign policy--in spite of the fact that public opinion polls have repeatedly shown that the American people (in general) support the United Nations and its objectives. This problem began when the Clinton/Gore Administration allowed Jesse Helms and Trent Lott to define the isolationist assumptions that would become the basis for much of our foreign policy over the past six years (as reflected in the Clinton Administration's PDM 25 and it's opposition to the rule of law embodied in the International Criminal Court). Although the Clinton Administration eventually took actions to correct some of the symptoms of international anarchy in Bosnia, Israel, Haiti, and Kosovo, they nevertheless continued to allow the Republicans to dominate America's foreign policy. It appears that with another George Bush occupying the White House, the kinds of problems typically caused by international anarchy will grow even worse. The Republican Party in Bush's home state of Texas has even included "getting the US out of the United Nations" as part of its Republican Party Platform!
Another area where Al Gore's campaign has been weaker than it should have been has been in comparing traditional "Democratic Party values" with traditional "Republican Party values." He should NEVER let the American people forget that EVERY Republican in BOTH Houses of Congress voted AGAINST Bill Clinton's 1993 tax program, and that it was that tax program that played a key role in bringing our nation out of the economic recession that helped get Clinton elected in the first place.
Al Gore has already paid a significant political price for the Clinton Administration's "cave in" to the Republicans on foreign policy. Many "liberal" activists who would otherwise be out in the streets waving signs for Al Gore are instead actively supporting Ralph Nader for President. Many other liberals may end up voting for Gore anyway, but because of those "cave ins", they don't feel inspired enough by Gore to support him "in the streets."
When you examine the arguments presented by Bush and Gore, you should ask yourself, "Is he promoting the concept of loving our neighbors as ourselves (without restrictions), or is he advocating that we act according to our own interests only?" In effect, that's like asking, "Is he supporting God or Satan?"
AMERICA'S MILITARY STRENGTH
The Clinton Administration apparently believes (or has accepted Jesse Helms' view) that by seeking to exclude American soldiers from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, they are helping to "improve the morale" of our military personnel. However, the deplorable retention rates that our military services have experienced lately indicates that the opposite may be true. In order to "put up with the crap" inherent in military life, our military personnel need to feel like they are serving a worthwhile cause. It may be difficult for them to feel like they are serving a worthy cause when their highest-ranking leaders at the Pentagon adamantly oppose the implementation of the rule of law embodied in the International Criminal Court (thereby displaying attitudes similar to those of Ho Chi Minh and Slobodan Milosovec). Furthermore, it may be difficult for military personnel to feel like they are serving a worthy cause when those same military leaders appear to be concerned with little more than spending as many US tax dollars as they can get their hands on. If our nation has any shortcoming in terms of "military readiness", it's NOT because our Defense budget isn't large enough, it's because those military leaders have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on "corporate welfare programs" that have mythological military justifications (e.g. The B-2 Bomber Program, National Missile Defense System, etc.). With uninspiring "mercenary" leaders like that in the Pentagon, is it any wonder that large numbers of our military personnel have decided to abandon what appears to them to be merely a mercenary mission and to seek instead a civilian career that offers "more money and less crap"?
THE ABORTION ISSUE
One of the biggest lies that I have seen floating around these days is the allegation that people who are "pro-choice" are therefore automatically "pro-abortion." Even high-ranking officials of the Roman Catholic Church have been guilty of using that one. The real issue at stake here is whether or not the "tools of Cain" (jail sentences, etc.) should be used to discourage abortions. America's so-called "right wing" politicians have been promoting the dubious theory that abortions in America can be reduced or eliminated by simply "passing a law." Many of them have also been using that theory a "shield issue" to divert people's attention away from some of the less-than-godly aspects of their other pet projects. Experiences in other countries that have tried to "outlaw abortion" have shown that if such a law were passed in the United States, abortions would continue as before, but in an "underground" mode with abortion pills becoming as readily available "on the streets" throughout America as are various forms of heroin and cocaine. The GODLY way to discourage abortions is to use God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves to CONVINCE women not to have abortions. Judging from the fact that abortion rates in America have been decreasing in recent years, it appears that such an approach is beginning to work without requiring use of the "tools of Cain" for such a purpose. Granted, it requires a LOT more work to convince a woman not to have an abortion than to simply "pass a law", but teaching the importance of following God's two most fundamental commandments (Matt 22:37-40) is what our nation's churches are SUPPOSED to be doing anyways! I'm beginning to suspect that the "pass-a-law" alternative is to some extent a satanically inspired "cop out" for those who would prefer NOT to restrict their religious teachings to those which conform with God's two most fundamental commandments.
UNREST IN THE MIDDLE EAST
It's difficult for most Americans to feel much sympathy for enraged Palestinian rioters who throw rocks and "Molotov Cocktails" at the police. Does Ariel Sharon have allegorical "blood on his hands" for triggering those riots? Of course he does. And it won't be the first time. Although Sharon may be considered a "great military hero" by many Jews in Israel, that fact remains that he has a LOT of innocent (allegorical) "blood on his hands", and future generations of mankind will view him that way. But from God's point of view, the blame doesn't stop there. There is a difference between "triggering" a riot and "instigating" a riot, which must be considered as well. Sharon was well aware that his perfectly legal but provocative visit to the Temple Mount would "trigger" Palestinian riots. More likely than not, that was the actual reason he went their in the first place. Apparently, Sharon figured that Palestinian rioting would discredit the on-going peace process and strengthen the credibility of his "hard-line" political position. Unfortunately for nearly everyone, the Palestinians responded violently as expected (almost as if their part in that tragedy was scripted by Sharon). But Sharon didn't "instigate" that rioting. That rioting was instigated by those Palestinian religious leaders who falsely claimed to represent "The Lord" while advocating violence against their neighbors (i.e. who used God's Name in vain). THEY were the ones who created that ideological "tinderbox"; Sharon merely added the spark that ignited it. And, as is usually the case for people who put their faith in satanic means for "solving" their problems, it has been the Palestinians themselves who have ended up paying the heaviest price for their satanically inspired actions.
As the Americans found out in Vietnam, satanic means can sometimes "win battles", but in the long run they will always end up contributing in one way or another to "losing the campaign." The only Godly way out of that conundrum Middle East is for all sides to put at least a portion of their faith in the "rule of law" (which implies following God's two most fundamental commandments). To the extent that they had done so in the past, the Palestinians were making tangible progress toward a peaceful and prosperous coexistence with Israel. Now, due in no small way to the satanically inspired teachings of various religious leaders over there, that peace process has come to a halt and many have gone to the grave having accomplished nothing.
("one grain of salt")
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002