Tuesday, February 22, 2011

George Washington, Still Right and Upright

It's George Washington's birthday again,
the father of our country, a term he
richly deserves. All in all, he was our
best President, even above Lincoln and
FDR. (Did you know his will directed
wife Martha to free their slaves, while
Jefferson did no such thing?) He comported
himself admirably, always aware he was
setting precedent, an Enlightenment exponent
if there ever was one, even besting the
wordier Benjamin Franklin in certain respects.

Washington thought highly of Alexander Hamilton's
intelligence and authorship, having Hamilton
write many of his speeches. But the essay
warning of "entangling alliances" was Washington
at his most experienced and heartfelt best.
What has history shown since? That trade,
travel and imperialism gone wild has given
the U.S. and the rest of Earth a world of trouble.

Examples abound, but currently, the U.K. is seriously
rethinking its ties to Libya, as Libya has just killed
a number of its own protesters. (Moamar Ghaddafi isn't
as kind as other dictators in his region.) Pirates
recently killed four Americans on their yacht near
Oman. Three years ago, the news was awash with reports
that our "friend/trading partner" China sent us
contaminated baby bibs, pet food,wood, ad infinitum.
Every instance of these negative international interactions
reminds me of Honest George and his farewell speech.
There's a sensible balance between isolationism and
world travel/babble run amok. Looking toward a more
sane world, it behooves us to find it.

George Washington: still right, ever upright, an
example all in public life should periodically
recur to.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt's Heroes: Hope for Humanity

Hooray for the "ordinary" citizens who've linked arms
and saved their main museum from low-life looters,
thoughtless destroyers of irreplaceable, tangible history.
The Egyptian Army deserves kudos as well, of course.
THESE are the outstanding people in all the last ten
days' Egyptian fury, NOT:

(1) Mr. Obama, who, while being the somewhat tepid
"voice of reason", actually COULD have been more effective.
(--How about this: "If you don't step down now, Mr.
Mubarak, we will withhold our annual gift of one
plus billion dollars to Egypt.") Before anyone rejects
such a notion out of hand, allow me to remind you
that the U.S. thinks nothing of issuing and enforcing
sanctions/blockades when it deems it appropriate;

(2) Mr. Mubarak, who, while giving the U.S. and Israel
what is wanted/needed, has "served" in a thirty-year
dictatorship with massive corruption at every level of
Egyptian life, including university professor-doled
"good grades". Here's more that's unsupportable: extremely
high unemployment, expensive/scarce foodstuffs, shocking
percentages of illiteracy. Oh Mr. M., everybody knows
you're 82, even though the dark dye hair job is pretty
convincing. You're no Sadat, which you amply proved after
just a few years "in office". (--What's with not allowing
a vice-president until now? --Think you're immortal?)
Yes, we've had our "imperial" public servants too, like
Strom Thurmond, who never gave up his senate post,
as he should have done decades sooner.

I could list many more actors on the current stage,
but it's obvious that much in human life occurs as
a "top down" phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the rational, regular citizens have broken
the conventional mold and are providing inspiration
from the "bottom up". Here are Egypt's heroes,
nothing ordinary about THEM.