Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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Where I Stand:

A time of worry in the world

This world has big problems.

There are economic challenges around the globe that affect everyone because our world has become interdependent to such a degree that a financial crisis in the United States creates distress for Asia, Europe and practically everywhere. Sure, it appears we are recovering, albeit slowly, from the Great Recession, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods just yet.

And the terrible news from Iraq is a matter of grave concern, with the possible breakup of that country, which would be disastrous, and the unfettered movement of terrorists that could turn Iraq into a host for groups who want to prey on the United States and our friends.

President Barack Obama’s decision Thursday to send up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq to help the Iraqis stand up to Sunni insurgents, who plan nothing good for Western countries, is fraught with difficulties that could lead to further U.S. military involvement even as the administration professes to do the opposite.

In that same part of the world, the intractable peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is, well, still intractable. And it will remain so without U.S. leadership.

•••

There are other areas of great concern that demand U.S. attention.

Global climate change is a scientific fact. Human contribution to that change is beyond debate. No reasonable person should question the impact that an overheated earth will have on us.

Violence in America continues to rise. Children and other innocents and, most recently, police officers eating lunch in Las Vegas, are gunned down by obviously sick and hating people who have all the guns and ammunition they need to do their dirty work. We need, as a country, to come together on a solution.

In the face of these major problem areas that demand the full time and attention of America’s political leadership to find workable solutions, what are we doing?

Well, I know what one man is doing.

Jimmie Franklin wrote me a letter. He puts his finger on the real culprit responsible for our country’s seeming inability to get real work done to resolve so many of these and other challenges.

Mr. Franklin is a professor emeritus from Vanderbilt University and an expert in American history. Also, he grew up in Mississippi at a time when hate and bigotry ruled the day, so much so that respect for the institutions of government that opposed such hateful activity were scorned and, basically, looked upon as the enemy.

Professor Franklin is concerned about the sideshow in this country being exhibited by the fringe elements of political thought and which is condoned by the rest of an America more concerned with being tolerant than with being American. Those are my words.

Here are his words:

“I hope that the media will not ignore, at our peril, the relationship of the terrible deaths of officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo and what took place (or failed to take place) at the Cliven Bundy ranch a few weeks ago.

“The failure of some of the media in this city, often hiding behind ideological convictions at the peril to law and order, gave even more license to those who possess anti-government venom and, apparently, are willing to kill for their often misguided causes.

“Tolerance hardly seems to be a part of their mental or philosophical outlook. When a belief or ideology prompts a citizen to strike at the very heart of law and order and its legitimately appointed enforcers in society, it is past time for all good citizens who love order and a structured society to step forward and say, ‘enough is enough — no more.’”

Professor Franklin knows American history. He has lived a large part of it growing up in Mississippi and he taught the rest of it during his academic career. His cries for action should not go unheeded.

My concern is that while we are diddling around with the nutcakes at either end of the ideological spectrum — some of whom cause so much more harm and violence than others — by refusing to deal with or by rationalizing their lawlessness, we allow ourselves and our leaders to ignore, or be distracted from, the big things that can really hurt us.

The professor’s concern is that by ignoring the lawbreakers and excusing their behavior as some form of political and ideological speech, we allow the harm to eat at us from the edges until we are consumed.

Actually, we are both right and the citizens of this community and this country are wrong for letting it continue to happen.

Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.

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