- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The root of the problem is greed

Phillip H. McMath says the choice for president this year is between a believer, President George W. Bush, and a thinker, Sen. John Kerry (“Choices for president” Op-Ed., Friday). Mr. Kerry is a person of faith, a believer, and a thinker. I don’t believe Mr. Bush’s faith is any stronger or better than Mr. Kerry’s. Wouldn’t Mr. Bush be a much better president if he were also a thinker?

Too much is made of Mr. Bush’s faith. One can be a person of faith and be dead wrong on many issues. Millions of people of faith in America do not agree with Mr. Bush’s unnecessarily taking our country to war in Iraq, with his bias toward the rich, and with his penchant for using faith to advance his political agenda.

The chief cause, directly and indirectly, of most problems among people and nations is greed — the love of money and power. It is the cause of wars and worldwide terror. No nation is blameless when it comes to greed. A nonviolent crusade against greed would begin to address the root cause of the pervasive evil that infects the world. Greed sure gives us something to think about.

PAUL L. WHITELEY SR.

Louisville, Ky.

Healing postpartisan depression

Like hopeful new parents anticipating the birth of their first child, the nation anxiously waited to see the face of the future (“Post-election facts and variables,” Editorial, Tuesday). Shrill partisan voices warned us that the future of our country rested on the outcome of this national election. Polls showed that Americans believed the stakes have never been higher. Each side judged the other to be unfit parents.

Now, after weeks of mudslinging, an emotionally exhausted public is left to make sense of the results and interpret what it means for our democracy. We have personalized the outcome of this election and what they mean for our families, our communities, our freedom and our safety. Alleviating the post partisan blues may be difficult for some. It definitely will require more than two aspirin and plenty of fluids.

As a former state legislator and a mental-health nurse, I know it is important to pay attention to Postpartisan Depression Syndrome. As a political leadership coach, here are a few recommendations to help you manage through this transition period.

(1) Take time. Sadness and disappointment heal over time. Avoid rushing to judgment or making rash decisions during post-partisan depression. The body needs time to rest. Anne Morrow Lindbergh said, “Life is always somewhere between retreat and renewal.”

Know that taking personal time for retreat will lead to your renewal. Avoid spending time with strident friends or listening to harsh media programs. Protect your psyche and do something fun.

(2) Grieve. Any loss involves grief and the feelings that come with it. In fact, it is best to acknowledge your feelings, which may range from frustration to anger. To move through the stages of loss, you must accept your feelings and understand that it is normal to feel depressed when your vision is lost. The sooner you embrace your grief, the sooner you will heal and be able to move forward.

(3) Dream again. Polls show that Americans are the most hopeful people on Earth. Since our country’s birth, we have always held grand dreams. Some Americans are asking whether the best of America is behind us rather than before us.

A full-blown case of post-partisan depression may mean that you have lost your American dream. Begin again. Renew your dream by thinking about your dream and what you want for your family, your community and your children. This is an essential step to heal post-partisan blues.

(4) Converse. It is important to share your dream with others and invite them to do the same. In certain indigenous cultures, dreaming together is the way that a community is built. People share and listen. This will be the most challenging part, but it is an imperative part of the process. To do this, you might consider joining or forming a conversation group similar to Let’s Talk America and Conversations Cafes.

(5) Hope: Understand that breakdowns precede breakthroughs. Growth and learning are both a process of letting go as well as embracing new potential. Often it is through defeat and disappointment that we discover a new path. Loss leads to new possibilities and it is through this understanding we can find hope in the face of defeat.

Healing your postpartisan depression will contribute to the collective healing of our American family. Let us use this time to grieve, reach out to one another, listen, converse and dream again.

DONNA ZAJONC

Bainbridge Leadership Center

Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Do judges contribute to AIDS?

Thomas Sowell (“Stop and think: Part III,” Commentary, Saturday) sounded reasonable enough when he said that liberal judges contribute to problems with crime in the black community. But his point about how liberal judges cause higher AIDS rates by legitimizing the “gay lifestyle” was a bit more puzzling. Does he honestly believe that homosexuals, before all of these liberal judges supposedly took over the benches, weren’t running around having unsafe sex? The outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s — back when many states still had Supreme Court-sanctioned sodomy laws on the books — would seem to suggest otherwise.

ROB RANDHAVA

Washington

Consider the warning

I was appalled, but not surprised, that neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry addressed the core of the message Osama bin Laden sent us in his last videotape (“Bin Laden threatens more strikes,” Page 1, Saturday). Reading the message closely, it is clear that bin Laden is saying that if Israel doesn’t stop killing Palestinians, al Qaeda is not going to stop killing us. The warning is unmistakable.

The official party line is that Israeli treatment of the Palestinians (seizure of land, killings, destruction of homes, destruction of food supplies, etc.) is irrelevant to Islamist terrorism.

The party line says that all Palestinians are natural-born terrorists and that their war of liberation against Israel is unjustified. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry seem to espouse this line. But the most reasonable leaders of the Islamic world say most Islamist terrorism would stop if the Palestinian conflict is settled equitably.

Americans obviously find it impossible to see U.S. policies as those abroad see them. The Islamists don’t hate us because we are Americans. They hate us because of what we are doing to them and their brethren.

It should be clear that as long as the U.S. government and Israel work hand in hand to harm the Palestinians, Americans are going to get shot or blown up in return. If you know the history of the Middle East, you will know that the Arabs have too many valid reasons for hating our policies and actions against them — and for hating us.

I wish that all Americans would consult authoritative, objective sources (the British government, Yale University, Brigham Young University, etc.) and research the history of the Palestinians starting in 1880. My sense of justice is beyond insulted by the cruel things that were done. If you don’t know the history, you don’t know the truth.

We have paid a heavy price for that history, which is characterized by robbery, murder, terrorism, bigotry and intolerance — and the price to Americans, I suspect, is about to go up massively. I don’t think that price is going to be measurable in mere dollars.

DON JONES

Fernandina Beach, Fla.

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