Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wielding our Moral Power

“How should democracy be exported? The First Amendment and food. We know how to grow it, and how to deliver it. The First Amendment is a pretty good starting point.” Senator A, quoted in “The New Yorker”, 3-21-2005

“Let me put it to you this way. The Lord Almighty, or Allah, whoever, if he came to every kitchen table in America and said, ‘Look, I have a Faustian bargain for you, you choose. I will guarantee to you that I will end all terror threats against the United States within the year, but in return for that there will be no help for education, no help for Social Security, no help for health care.’ What do you do? My answer is that seventy-five per cent of the American people would buy that bargain.” Senator B, in the same article.

Compare and contrast those two views. The first is hopeful. It takes time and patience to implement. It provides sustenance and life for human beings, and does so peacefully.

The second is driven by fear. It uses power, might, arms, aggression as a way of fighting the same.

I will take the first strategy.

Just for political kicks, who are the two U.S. Senators? Senator A is Ted Kennedy, Senator B is Joe Biden -- both Democrats. Biden may not agree with the sentiments he mentions; but telling the story indicates the political reality in which he is grounded. This is sad. Two disparate views on the implementation of foreign policy from the same party.

Leadership requires that an individual have a core set of beliefs and acts upon those beliefs. Given his history, Kennedy is no paragon of morality. But his stated belief on this subject is much more appropriate than the aggresive methods used by our current administration.

We can have many arguments over the ends justifying the means, particularly if democracy does spread in the middle east. But it doesn't change my view on how we should act as a people.

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