Robert Stanelle



All my life I've heard people comment about the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I've never been 100% sure what that means, but I do know that it has something to do with confusion among people or even one's self. To be it seems to fit our political world today and the notion of left and right, neither one seems to know what the other one is doing and why. Oh sure, they both claim they do, but in reality they have no idea. Why? Well, simply because neither one bothers to really listen to the view of the other with any kind of an open mind. Those who call themselves members of a particular political party care nothing about the views of the other. Perhaps that is why so many Americans describe themselves as "independents" when asked about their own political affiliation; they don't want to appear as uninformed one-sided thinkers that know nothing about both sides of an issue. Personally, I consider myself as independent as it is possible to be.

Possible to be? Well, all of us grow up with our own inbred beliefs and persuasions. Many of us change them along the way, but by any measure it is clear we are part of both the physical and mental environment we experienced as a youth. It is our "Ishmael," it is the story we were told and personally experienced. I emphasize the "personally" experienced. We can grow up with the same parents, in the same household, in the same neighborhood, but we still experience things differently. My brother and I were like that, we were even physical roommates for 16 years. Yet we are as different as cats and dogs, apples and oranges, grass and pavement. Whether there are two or ten kids in your family, how many are so alike to be twins, other than actual twins? We are all different. I do not know if we can call that normal, but it is the usual. There is a wonderful line in the movie The Country Bears that goes, ''It's not unusual to feel different. It's those differences that lead us to our higher purpose.''

Where am I going here? I have a friend I grew up with in the Midwest from sixth grade through high school. Jim is, of course, as different as we all are. He faithfully reads "The American Legion: For God and Country" and he truly believes the stuff they write. He pays little attention to views that differ from his. I have another friend, Jerry, who grew up in the West, went to university in northern California, and is, of course, as different as we all are. He faithfully reads "The Nation," "Truth Out" and similar periodicals and he truly believes the stuff they write. He pays little attention to views that differ from his. For both of them, these differences are leading them to their ''higher purpose,'' which is, of course, quite different for each of them. Jerry would ask Jim, what god and what country?

Now I love them both, yet see things somewhat different then either of them, because I read what both of them read and a lot more. Does this make me more intelligent? Certainly not. But it does make me better informed about the issues and views on both sides. It does make me a much grayer person than the black and white of Jim and Jerry, but then perhaps that is just my hair! I am often not sure. In any case, by reading all sides it has forced me to do several things: (1) wear too thick glasses, (2) take a lot of short naps, (3) to think about the issues of our world - a lot, and (4) to make my own informed decisions about these same issues. My current thinking has led me to believe more in the views of Jerry than of Jim in pursuit of my own higher purpose.

My reasoning is based in how I have personally involved as both an idealist and a realist. Yes, I dream of my own version of an idealist world, one where there is only peace, people can worship as they please, and there is no need for any military or nationalistic flag waving. The realist in me knows, however, that is not possible. There are too many individuals in this world who seek power, to control the body and minds of others with their own trigger finger, and to worship their own god of the mirror. The devil? The nature of man? Something else? I don't know why, only that it is true and that is what stinks!

So my realistic concerns for today are what we, as individuals and as a people, can do to control the power seeking as much as is possible for us. That, in summary, is why we must all read thoroughly and study closely what is happening in our country. For if and when you do so, you will join me in doing everything you can do to stop this arrogant, egotistic, power of our politicians at all levels. The French and the rest of the world is not wrong, but correct in their thinking. The rest of the world has studied the issues. They have the advantage of not being blinded by flag waving nationalism, of not being threatened by Republican bullies on the streets of our cities and walkways of our campuses, and they have determined, on the pure strength of the evidence, the Bush administration is wrong. That the Bushies are the greatest threat to world peace that the world as ever known. Yes, a greater threat than Hitler or any historical bully, because they have too much power under their trigger finger. They don't kill you in a gas chamber, but kill you daily by bits and pieces: unemployment, economic policy, tax cuts for the wealthy, and, for our comrades in uniform, often death far away in some land we do not belong.

Republicans and blinded nationalists like to call us the greatest nation in the world. If you were a citizen of another nation, would you admire such arrogance? I think not. The Bushies threaten to and do force their will on others. If you were the ''others,'' in that equation, would you like that? I think not.

A great father does not force his leadership on his own household, but creates an atmosphere of mutual respect within the family. A great nation does not force its policies, its god, its ways of thinking upon other nations, but creates an atmosphere of mutual respect within the family of nations. A great leader in a ''business'' does not do what is only good for him and his inner circle, but does what is good for all the employees of the organization. The organization we are work for (remember your taxes folks) is the United States. Do the Bushies do what is good only for the inner circle of this organization or what is good for all the employees? You do the answer to that one. We must get these peoples hands off the trigger finger. Until we do ……………………………….