The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 19, 2002 · Page 4
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 4

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A4 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION THURSDAY • SEPTEMBER 19,2002 Editorial Due respect We must honor influence of 'greatest generation' before it is lost T ime passes, and one generation passes the baton to the next. The World War II generation has been called the greatest generation, and those who are a part of it are shrinking in number. That challenges the children and grandchildren of that generation to honor and respect the values and legacy of the great ones now, before they are all gone. The Associated Press, in its analysis of 2000 Census data, reports that the number of World War II veterans in Kansas decreased 38 percent over the '90s, from 95,785 to 59,013. What makes the World War II generation the greatest in recent history? Simply because they lived through tremendous sacrifice, on a level at which most of us have not experienced since. This is not to say that veterans of World War II were any more courageous or valiant than veterans of any other war. All veterans deserve equal respect for their personal selflessness and bravery. Warfare has changed, to be sure. World War II was fought in the trenches, in the conventional sense. Modern warfare has not eliminated all risk of life, but technology has replaced much of hand-to-hand combat. The bigger picture, though, is a nation that completely committed itself to the war effort in the 1940s. The battle was fought not just on European soil or in the South Pacific but here in America, where civilians worked and families rationed to support the war effort. That, after having survived an economic depression this country has not experienced since. We should not want future generations to experience those same sacrifices. Most people hope their children and grandchildren will have better lives. But sacrifice builds character. Today's youngest generation does not know sacrifice, relatively speaking. Sacrifice seems to be not getting a car until age 17, instead of 16. Or getting only the three-bedroom house, not the four. The "me" generation is aptly characterized. Again, this is not to say that younger Americans are all bad and that all our senior citizens are so much better. But as a society our values and priorities have changed, and changed perhaps because we have not endured the same struggles, because most of us have not gone without, because our lives have been relatively comfortable. World War II veterans do not seek glory They are, quite the opposite, mostly a humble group, preferring generally to keep their war victories and their war horrors personal. Neither do those who fought the war on the home front seek sympathy or special recognition. But they deserve undying respect. They sacrificed for the relative peace and comfort Americans have enjoyed in the generations that followed. editorial by John D. Montgomery lmont@dallynews.net The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. The joys of politics I would like to thank The Hays Daily News for the opportunity to practice two of my favorite loves, journalism and politics. Two things people love to hate. I am not a professional writer. My two years of journalism experience in high sfehopl-jyere. spent at Th^e Golden Qbecpm- t . ing proficient at Foosball. I have written letters to the editor, but in' my letter from the editor, I was told that he was looking forward to my "insight and satire." That's a lot of pressure for someone who barely graduated high school. I do write a newsletter for the local Democratic Party, but deadlines are set by me and are about as regular as someone who eats a lot of cheese. As I begin this column about politics, I feel like Elizabeth Taylor's eighth husband visiting with her about sex. I know what to do, and I know what to say; I just don't know how to make it interesting. But I'm sure he tiled, and so will I. I love politics. I love local politics. I love state politics. I love national politics. In that order. When I talk to groups about becoming involved in politics, I tell them that a person can be involved in local and state politics without a lot of money Sorry to say, but with campaign laws the way they are, unless you have a lot of money to donate, you will not have much access to the person you are supporting in a national campaign. The media talks of voter apathy, but mere is a lot of media apathy also. Last week, Democratic candidate for State Treasurer Sally Finney was in Hays to cut the ribbon for our Ellis County Democratic headquarters. I sent a notice to seven local news sources, and one showed up. I think whenever you have a candidate for statewide office in your city, it is news. The fact they are in Hays is news, just as a candidate not showing up in Ellis County is also newsworthy I think our local voters deserve to know who take our votes seriously It was in the early '60s when I first whet my political appetite. Back then, politics was the news. It seemed this Norb Dreiling was always coming up with clever quotes. I have no idea how many times Norb was actually quoted, but it left an impression on me. In later years, John Bird added flavor to stories about races, as he was the county chair and later state chair during Joan Finney's years as governor. When I am going through my political files, I wiD run across a note that I had written in my much younger years from a meeting with John or Norb. I always took notes, hoping some day mat I would be following in their footsteps. I wasn't totally odd. Now, my dad was my greatest hero, and I liked Mickey Mantle and George Brett, but my true heroes played in the political arena. By the way, my father gave me my first political advice. When I asked the difference between Democrats and Republicans, he told me when Republicans are in office, the rich have money, and when the Democrats are in office, everyone has .money An observance that has stood the test of time. Although my first political experience did not occur until 1972, my interest in politics started in junior high. My first work as a volunteer was to lick envelopes for Joe Norvell's House race. A few years later, it was an honor that John Bird would ask me to be involved in a small inner circle that assisted Norvell in his unsuccessful re-election Senate campaign, which launched now Congressman Jerry Moran's political career. Less than 200 votes separated the two when the ballots were counted. Over the years, I have been involved in countless campaigns, and here's a little secret: It is a lot more fun to win than to lose, it is fabulous to be involved in a successful campaign, but it is truly special to watch someone win their first campaign. If you think being an adviser or the chair of a party is about getting quoted in the paper or radio or television, you are grossly mistaken. Jim Carville and few like him get that kind of duty. My oldest son, Craig, is now serving his second election as field coordinator for the state party His first duty this year was getting our headquarters ready. A pet store had just moved out, and while he and some volunteers were tearing out the shelving, there was a dead mouse along with its droppings and nest inside a concrete block. I'm sure as he cleaned that up, he was not thinking of the glamour of politics. It surprises me how different generations view politics. The "Norb" generation tends to respect politics. My generation tends to despise it. The jury is still out on the new generation of voters. When talking to high school and college students, they as"k why laws seem to be written against them, especially the drinking law. They can get married, go to war, be tried as adults and get executed in some states, but they can't drink a beer. Rumor has it that one of the young adults arrested last year- at Oktoberfest for minor in possession of alcohol reported to Afghanistan a few weeks later. My answer is that elected officials don't have to listen to them, because they don't vote. About 10 percent of 18- to 21-year-olds vote. In direct contrast, citizens 55 years old and older vote. That's why at election time, candidates are wanting to save Social Security and add prescription drug coverage to Medicare. In Ellis County, less than 20 percent voted in the primary Statewide, despite well-financed, contentious primaries in the Republican governor's and attorney general's races, there was still a record low turnout. On Sept. 11,2001, every American became a pan-Jot; less then a year later, most Kansans were too lazy to go to the ballot box. I believe poll tics is the art of compromise. We have lost a little of that. I blame it on the very conservative right wing of the Republican party Not everything is black and white; politics is about finding that gray area in the middle. I'm fairly certain conservatives blame it on something else. If you vote, you are involved in politics. Hopefully, you listen and read about the candidates and the issues, so that you are informed. In the weeks ahead, I will lend my opinion to this paper every two weeks. As asked, I will try to be insightful, perhaps educational and sometimes entertaining. Finally, not only do I love politics, I love politicians. Whereas politics is an exchange of ideas, politicians present these ideas. I have friends on both sides of the aisle. I consider Dave Coen, the past chairman of the Ellis County Republican Party a true friend. I am an unapologetic, left-wing liberal Democrat, and he is the exact opposite. We agree on nothing except for the fact we are friends. In any event, in the upcoming weeks, I am probably going to make some people unhappy I invite you to do what I do. Write a letter to the editor. Glenn Staab, a lifelong Hays resident and former city commissioner, sells insurance anc real estate and is the Democratic Party chairman for Ellis County elcodemo ®odsys.ne Saddam and the chicken hawks WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the debate over the fate of Saddam Hussein moves rom a simmer to a boil, perhaps you lave noticed that the Scrupling Few are again employing the term "chicken lawk." The Scrupling Few are those who at once are negative toward war with Saddam and also positive — at least vaguely positive. This is not to say they are positive for war exactly but for good things to come from Washington, despite the evil Repub- .icans. In describing the Scrupling Few, one cannot be much more concrete. They worry, they pontificate, they Scruple. That is about it. Save for one other thing: They apply the term chicken lawk to those who favor war but have not actually experienced war. Then they Scruple about having done so. It is fair to say that the Scrupling Few are on both sides of the issue of war with Iraq. They are also on both sides of the legitimacy of the term chicken hawk. Some would call them poseurs — the less mature would call them chickens. New York Times columnist Bill Keller mployed the term chicken hawk the other day in a typically mealy-mouthed column whose vaporous point was that the Scruples of Sen. John Kerry about attacking Baghdad must be taken very seriously because of his Vietnam War record. On the other hand, "the current White House warriors" should be taken less seriously because they are not actually warriors — neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney served in Vietnam. On yet another hand, Keller does not mean to say that lack of a war record disqualifies a statesman from advocating war. And on his third hand, Keller displays Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, two chicken hawks whose military decisions he presumably admires. (Incidentally, Keller must know that chicken hawk Reagan served in the mill- R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. COMMENTARY tary. He is merely Scrupling again.) And on the fourth hand, Keller does not approve of the term chicken hawk, though he does not disapprove — regular readers of Keller's New York Times column must be devotees of magic acts. Continuing his balmy sleight of hand with the term chicken hawk, Keller raises the key question: "Does that mean that those of us who avoided combat, including the current White House warriors (and your astigmatic columnist (self-effacing humor, that!)), are less worthy of trust on the subject of war?" Well, as you can imagine, Keller believes himself abundantly worthy of our trust, despite his admission to having "avoided" combat. He is, however, less confident of investing trust in the president and vice president. Now is it fair or even accurate for Keller to accuse them of avoiding combat? Strictly speaking, he is saying that they "shunned" combat. Has Keller any evidence? Perhaps it is at this point appropriate to interrupt Keller's magic act and puncture another of the liberals' many myths about the Vietnam War. Keller and his confreres would have us believe that any member of the Vietnam generation (roughly, those men of draft-age between 1964 and 1975) who did not serve in the military "avoided" the military. That would make the Vietnam generation the largest cohort of draft dodgers in American history. It would also make Bill Clinton just one of the guys — though his now well-documented efforts in the 1960s to avoid his physical and dupe his draft board were highly unusu- al and shameful. Only about 8 percent of the Vietnam generation ever went to Southeast Asia, most to Vietnam. Only about 25 percent ever served in any branch of the military, overseas or stateside. Today, the liberals solemnly praise the Vietnamese veterans, but during the late 1960s and early 1970s, they often reviled them as war criminals. Jane Fonda went so far as to call our POWs "hypocrites and liars," for claiming torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Thus some 75 percent of the Vietnam generation never wore a uniform. They were not supposed to. The military had no need of them. If it had needed them, standards would have been lowered and exemptions tightened. The vast majority of the Vietnam generation's draft records were perfectly legal and honorable. Finally, Keller's dismissal of President George W. Bush's military service is as misleading as his dismissal of President Reagan's. When the other 75 percent of his generation was following its civilian pursuits, the future president was flying F-107s in the Air National Guard. Is this combat avoidance? Tell that to the tens of thousands of National Guard troops serving abroad in the war on terror. Bootlegging a person's military record into his presentation of whether or not to fight a war is another example of the genetic fallacy. The validity of an idea depends on the coherence of the evidence adduced not on whether we like or admire those advancing the idea. If the Scrupling Few come up with a compelling argument for allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power, I shall be on their side. But to Scruple is not to convince. R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor- in-chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. Why America's become sissified "America: A Sissified Nation" was the title of an August 2002 column that brought in hundreds of favorable responses, mostly from American men and women who were not sissies. In that column, I argued that we Americans have become sissified and are meekly giving up essential liberties in the name of fighting terrorism in exchange for trivial amounts of security. Instead of allowing the war on terrorism to provide political cover for taking our liberties, the president ought to give credible notice to countries who harbor, aid and abet terrorists that they will face massive military retaliation that would not exclude nuclear weapons should our intelligence resources discover them to be the origin of a terrorist attack. Allow me to speculate on how we became a sissified nation. In a word or two, we've become "Oprahized" and "Springerized." You say, "Williams, what do you mean by that?" It's simple: We've become a nation increasingly ruled by emotions and feelings - in a word, feminized. Men and women have different psychological make-ups. Women tend to be more nurturing, sensitive and submissive. They demonstrate greater feelings of love and tend to exhibit grief to a greater extent than men. On the other hand, men tend to be more competitive, aggressive and hostile than women. Female characteristics are vital to a Walter E. Williams COMMENTARY well-ordered society, for they exert a civilizing influence. I'd never want to live in a society where women didn't have a major role in the rearing of children and management of the household. However, sensitivity, nurturing and a capacity to exhibit grief are not the best characteristics for political leadership. We've just finished an outpouring of sensitivity, emotions and exhibition of grief on the first anniversary of a terrorist attack that's been compared to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which ushered us into World War II. But let's compare the one-year anniversaries of both attacks. Jennifer Harper writes in her article "No Time for the Mawkish" in the Sept. 11 Washington Times. She says, "Nobody was for 'healing' on Dec. 7,1942, and 'closure' was the last thing anybody wanted," adding, "no flowers, no teddy bears and no exploration of the national angst. No presidential admonitions to think of Shinto as a religion of peace, no appeals to understand the frustrations that drove the misunderstood Nazis to rape Poland and bomb London." First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt told Americans why she opposed any com- memoration of Pearl Harbor: "It is not a date for a holiday; it is a date that should make us work." Back then, Americans of my generation hadn't become sissified and controlled by emotion. We wanted blood and vengeance that ultimately saw the complete, merciless, devastating destruction of the evil Axis powers. Harper writes, "The Americans of that era, now fading swiftly into the unremembered past, had no time for such navel-gazing." The Dec. 8,1942, New York Times wrote: "We have no instinct for glory. What we do surely have, collectively, is a determination to put all we possess into this necessary and unpleasant task. Our emotions are deep and not noisily expressed, (but) we know that we are destined to play a decisive part not on this continent alone but throughout the world. That knowledge steadies us, and brings us together." I have just as much sorrow for the victims and their families of last year's Sept. 11 attack as any other American. Rather than last week's commemorative celebrations, emotional outpouring, not to mention political showboating, not doing anything publicly would have spoken volumes. But if we just had to do something to mark the occasion, we would have honored ourselves and the victims more by a full-scale air and sea attack on Iraq. Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., and a longtime syndicated columnist. A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and Reader Forum policy include a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimo- nials or group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601.You also can send them by e-mail at letters@dailynews.net. Please include an address and daytime telephone number. V \

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