- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 18, 2006

Teddy Roosevelt on hyphenated Americans

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. rightly called today’s multilingual election ballots “a serious affront to generations of immigrants” who “made great sacrifices to learn English,” (Inside the Beltway, Thursday). Such political pandering to self-styled leaders of ethnic and minority groups threatens the American melting pot and demeans the memory of the “huddling masses yearning to breathe free,” in the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

What would this great 19th-century lady say about the 30 states that today require multilingual ballots and the cost of interpreters to explain them?

Teddy Roosevelt saw the issue clearly nine decades ago. In a New York speech to the Knights of Columbus, he said: “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism… The only absolute way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

He was right, as was another great American; Charlton Heston in 1998 told “Meet the Press”: “I don’t think we should be broken up into little enclaves, gypsy camps, each with its own agenda, like a Balkan nation…We are supposed to be one nation, united. That’s the way the country was invented, and that’s the way I’d like to see it happen again.”

So would I and the vast majority of Americans.


Chevy Chase

Budget blinders

Brian Riedl actually digs up the data on the federal budget, and provides the link for anyone who cares (“Myth of spending cuts,” Commentary, Friday). Twenty-five years ago I used to have to take a hike to the local public library and ask the reference librarian if I wanted to see some hard, objective data on the U.S. budget. On the rare occasions that I took the effort, it was really shocking to compare the data with what was usually presented on the front page of the Post, New York Times, or even the Washington Star, long since defunct.

What is really disturbing is not so much the myths cited by Mr. Riedl but the sorry state of journalism that rarely lays out the data for a reader to ponder and leaves it at that. Instead, what the reader gets is spin and a perpetual abuse of language — cuts are not really decreases, and time intervals are adjusted to prevent any kind of objective context. All one can infer from this is that the newspaper editors and reporters must consider their readers to be dumber than stumps.

Apparently they feel all they have to do is spoon-feed their readers the proper view of the world, at least as they see it. Well, I would not count on it.



A shot heard ‘round the Beltway

It simply amazes me to watch the rabid left-wing media and congressional liberals try to make a political issue out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s hunting accident (“Cheney accepts blame in shooting,” Page 1, Thursday).

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer gave the left-wing Sen. Joseph Biden, Delaware Democrat, a carte-blanche soapbox on which to attack Mr. Cheney. Yes, he and Al Gore make great bookends.

Could this have been handled better by the Mr. Cheney and his staff? Perhaps. But honestly, since it doesn’t involve national security, or any illegalities, I really do not see the big stink, except that coming from the far left.

In fact, I am proud of Mr. Cheney, whose main concern has been and continues to be the health and wellbeing of his injured friend.


New Bern, N.C.

I am wondering just what advantage the press is seeking. Why are they harping on the “hours” elapsed between the vice president’s nightmare and their exalted selves being notified? A nation ho-humming domestic electronic surveillance is hardly going to see Mr. Cheney’s unfortunate experience as anything but an unfortunate accident.

For an hunting accident, it was a rather mild one. The details surrounding Vince Foster’s demise are a bit sketchy even today, more so than the details of Mr. Cheney’s mishap.

They must be “shooting” for something Chappaquiddick.



“Our printers raven on the agonies of their victims, as wolves do on the blood of the lamb,” Thomas Jefferson said to James Monroe in 1811. Alas, the freedom of the press will continue to thrive and will survive through this media circus of the new millennium.

The people will reclaim the press as their say and watchdog from the pillars they once were. They will become each others’ voices. The free press that once was the medium of the people has now become part of the establishment and just another nuisance to deal with.

Big media is no less an industrial complex than any other. Like the others, it has a profit motive. While many journalists still get misty-eyed as they think of themselves as champions of the little guy, they still belong to a global media business that is just as big as the global petroleum or mining industries.

The media industry today, just as other aging giants, is living in the past, using old ideas while fighting to retain dwindling market share.Just as the aging manufacturing industries fend off the new by offering greater monetary incentives, the dinosaur media holds on by using hype and half-stories.The old media flounders in nuisance as the new free press flourishes through a seemingly infinite number of sources.

No longer do people have to take the old media at face value. The information age is here. More and more people will be drawn to it on a global basis because in this new media the people themselves are becoming each others’ eyes and ears.

Human creativity, entrepreneurship and freedom have led to the explosion of technology that will expand the true ideal of a free press further than the eye can see. Of course, there will be roadblocks as the old movements and organizations put up a fight to stem the free flow of information. If the old media industry could have a tariff enacted to slow the competition, surely it would, but the demand for truth is so great that it will never be stopped.

The new free press will only get stronger as we make our way deeper into this new century. As one day, when a blank piece of paper lies next to the antique printing press, so too will the hulks of the old media buildings lay next to the crumbled brick of those old buggy-whip factories.



Heavy-handed in Massachusetts

An imperious Massachusetts state pharmacy board dropped a bomb on private enterprise and individuals rights this week when it ordered Wal-Mart to stock the “morning-after pill” (“Wal-Mart to sell morning-after pill,” Nation, Tuesday). The “morning-after pill” sometimes prevents pregnancy and can also end the life of a developing human embryo.

Massachusetts’ move to expand abortion rights into abortion mandates further advances this curious campaign of “pro-choice” abortion advocates. “Morning-after pill” mandates snuff out the choice of businesses like Wal-Mart and individual pharmacists, who are apparently expected to check their consciences at the pharmacy door.

One of the successful plaintiffs in the Massachusetts suit, Dr. Rebekah Gee, summed up her case by asserting, “My patients should not have to shop around.” Abortion advocates have found yet another new right in the Constitution — the right not to have to shop around.

That would be news, of course, to the Massachusetts delegation to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. In an age of despotism, those revolutionary thinkers dared to declare that no one should be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

With its heavy-handed ruling, the state is poised to be hoisted on its own petard. Businesses eventually relocate when overburdened with crooked conditions of commerce. Individual pharmacists will take refuge in other states when they recognize that the ink seems to be fading on the Bill of Rights in the state of Massachusetts.


Senior Policy Analyst

Christian Medical Association


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