Monday, June 07, 2004

June 7, 2004 - Si Vis Pacem, Parabellum

Today's Commentary: June 7th, 2004

This weekend my family went to a neighborhood graduation party. While there, I ran into a fellow card carrying member of the nationwide blood-cult which Hillary Clinton refers to as the "vast right wing conspiracy." On June 3rd, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond referred to us as "the Taliban wing of American politics." For those not belonging to this confederacy, you may be interested in how fellow cell members, who have never met before, establish and verify mutual association, so pay close attention.

While standing on the patio, I was passed by a stranger whom I will call Peter (I don't want to divulge full names as Peter has a family to protect). He was smoking a cigar he had recently lit and when I saw it I said "That cigar smells good! I wish I had remembered to bring one of mine."

Peter replied "I have a box of them in my car. Would you like one?"

"Sure!" I said graciously.

Carefully, Peter began probing to see where I was on the spectrum. "These cigars are good, but not as good as the Cubans my son brought back from Iraq."

Being a closely guarded conspirator, my interest is instantly piqued, but I am wary not to blow my expertly crafted cover as a citizen of Massachusetts. "Wow, is he still overseas?"

Peter begins the intricate dance of verification. We vast right wingers can never be too careful. "No. He's back stateside now. He will probably be redeployed in the next few months though."

With palms sweating, and in the depths of espionage reminiscent of a Tom Clancy novel, I take the leap of faith and begin the transmission of secret codes. "You must be proud of him".

Peter looked at me as we continued to walk towards his car. A twitch of his eyebrows gave him away. This was a tremendous risk. Outside of the realm of 'the conspiracy' (as we like to call it), a slip up like that could have been lethal. "Yes. It's scary having my son in the middle east, but he loves it. He always tells me that it is far better there than the media would have you believe."

Bang-Zip-Boom! It is done. The coded messages were passed, authenticated and verified. Bi-directional transmission of concepts critical to 'the conspiracy' can begin.

After lighting up, we returned to the party and were happily discussing recent topics ranging from Al Gore's recent lunatic howling at New York University to the death of Ronald Reagan announced earlier in the day. Unexpectedly, a woman who looked to be in her 70's approached us. Peter tells me that this is his aunt and introduces her. I believed Peter, although I suppose it could have been Dick Cheney in one hell of a disguise. I throttle back the radical discussion of topics like the high rate of taxes and the death of personal responsibility. Peter senses my change in tone and says "Don't worry, she's one of us."

As I engage this charming woman in discussion, she states "You know, I almost don't know who to vote for. Things seem to be going so bad".

In my attempt to reassure her, I remind her that while peace is good, freedom is better. And we are far better off fighting battles in Iraq as opposed to Manhattan. She realizes this and no longer seems disheartened about making her choice in November.

After the party was over I thought about what Peter's aunt (a.k.a. Dick Cheney) had said. And I realized that she was 100% correct. Things do seem worse than they did in the Clinton administration. In 1998, I never worried about Islamic radicals or dirty bombs. I was too busy watching my mutual fund and stock holdings scream into the stratosphere, oblivious to the idea that maybe the financial reports were not truly as rosy as what was being reported. In addition, terrorism was something that happened in southeast Asia, not here.

My, how things have changed in a few short years.

But while things seem worse, are they? I could be happy eating fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner followed by a six-pack of beer every night. I may be blissfully oblivious to a massive stroke waiting for me next time I pick up a snow shovel, but am I better off? Is it not better to heed the warning signs and react appropriately to avoid a true disaster?

Neville Chamberlain obtained "Peace for our time" with the 1938 Munich Conference, but at what cost? Only the ghosts of Czechoslovakia know for sure. More recently, the US benefited from a 'peace dividend' during the 1990s, but at what cost? I sure was happy, but the price of keeping blinders on was innocent lives who thought September 11th was going to be just another Tuesday at the office.

'Si vis pacem, parabellum', is a phrase as old as Rome which translates, 'if you want peace, prepare for war.' It may not make you happy, but by heeding it, you will be better off. While I may heartily disagree with more than a few of the current administration's policies, I will not be voting for a president who will let the UN make the critical decisions regarding our national defense and security.

Neither will Peter's aunt, or maybe she was Dick Cheney. You can never tell...


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