Saturday, March 29, 2008

My highway rules

It's never the life you lead but the truth you follow that bring you to your end at another man's bidding. Your own values and convictions should be strong enough to maintain your integrity and ensure your existence. It's when I follow another man's thoughts, another man's delusions or dreams that I run afoul of myself and afoul of the others.
Two enemies face you the day you are led astray; yourself in conflict with your intelligence and the others who have abandoned their own. There is no easy road back from the mistakes of the follower, his road is no longer his own path, and trying to make sense of the small paths, and large highways that others open up for you is no easy matter. Your own footprints get blurred in the masses of cattle tracks that belong to no one, and your small little footpad, the animal track of your frightened awareness, can never be picked up once you have walked away from it.
It is a small thing to stray, and a small sidestep is no big matter. But remember that going back is always harder the further you run from your own true path. Explore on the side, look it over and move on. Pick it up, carry it with you, whittle it and change it and adapt it to yourself. Never, ever lose sight of your way, and lighten your load as you move along that road.
You may not know where you go, and you may never get where you wanted to be, but dying on your own trail, with your own baggage and no one else's burden or cant is a sweet death indeed. You may not choose the time, but you can be in the place you wanted to be at the moment you want to be there, and if that is your last stop, then you have arrived at the last.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Lessons of History
Or what did the last war bring you?

It is an oft repeated chestnut that he who ignores the lessons of history is bound to repeat them, and it may even be true. But what about the lessons you learn from history and modify them to your advantage.

We must ask, what did the Republicans learn from that war, compared to what the Democrats took away from the conflict? To start with, the Democrats clearly learned that the war was a fractious exercise in national disruption. They learned that it destroyed families, it killed off over 50,000 young Americans, and it left an indelible stain on our national image.

The Republicans learned that there was money to be made in War.

The Democrats took their lessons to heart and have implemented policies to mitigate the possibility of future conflicts. They stood down from confrontations, increased foreign aid, worked assiduously to minimize strife around the world. The image of Jimmy Carter brokering the only lasting Middle East agreement was inspirational; Clinton's ill favored attempt to allay the crushing poverty in Africa, and his equally tempered response to Libya's terrorist activities stand in stark contrast to later events.

The Republicans learned that there is money to be made in War.

The Democrats dissociated themselves from terrorist organizations and totalitarian regimes. They made clear decisions to wind down the war machine and they attempted often futilely to deal with arms merchants and deals that could only lead to more strife and pain. For some obscure reason, probably ethical, they did not become business partners with killers and religious fascists.

The Republicans learned that the best way to make money in a war is to become business partners with your enemies.

It is hard to imagine a Democratic President being closely allied to terrorist organizations that spend vast amounts of money trying to destroy our culture. The Democrats do not appreciate the beauty of dealing weapons with both sides at the same table. From Iran Contra to Saudi participation in the Carlyle group, there is a clear business strategy at work. And that strategy is whatever works.

So we must applaud the Republican Party for endorsing this open minded approach to war. It will certainly not harm the party bottom line, and it will keep jobs for the elite on both sides.

The Republicans have a much better understanding of the lessons of history; it's a shame that our country has to die for it.