Veteran Writer Reviews Election

I've been out of this newspaper for six months. There are a few reasons for my lack of participation.

The first reason is that I've been on the computer Internet. I worked with our local computer server, ACCS, and got a World Wide Website for the company I work for listed on the ACCS home page, which is listed along with some other local businesses and the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

The WWW (World Wide Web) has something for everyone. Whatever your personal interests, its out there somewhere! Of Course, I've been spending a lot of time at political Websites during my after hours web surfing. I enjoy browsing through all the diverse politically opinionated sites on the WWW. This has occupied a lot of my free time during the last several months.

The second reason I have been absent from this newspaper is that I was writing to the Times so much, I was starting to feel like a part of the media. I was beginning to get caught up in the temptation of wanting to write what I thought the majority of the readers wanted to hear. I found myself not wanting to offend anyone or be controversial with many people (a problem which our experienced Times editor doesn't seem to have any fear of!).

I now have a greater appreciation for the task of addressing a large audience from a writer's perspective. I now understand what keeps most people from writing letters to the editor. I have actually lost my nerve. But causing more of a problem for me, I have lost my Muse (one of nine goddesses who inspire writers).

Although I feel so Museless while writing this letter to the editor, I don't want to let this empty feeling stop me from making some comments about the Republican and Democratic political season which occurred this election year. Being a political junkie, I enjoyed following all the, so called, "mud slinging" by the politicians.

Those of you who complained during the political season because you just want every politician to compromise and get along with his or her opponent should stop and think about what the alternatives would be in America if we had a one party government. Years ago, Uncle Joe Stalin had a one party government and Adolph Hitler had a one party government. America presently has a two party government and the conflicts between the two parties are actually beautiful things when we consider the alternatives!

Can you imagine Democrats wishing there were no Republicans in our National and state governments? (Without my Muse, I may have been a little naive in my wording of that question).

Let me try it again. Can you imagine Republicans wanting every Democrat, who runs for office at election time, getting defeated by a landslide to his or her Republican opponent? It seems the popular answer would be "yes" to both questions, doesn't it? (Think about this and you figure it out!)

If my memory serves me right, it seems someone once explained on this page several months ago that American politics is sort of a battle between liberal hearts and conservative minds. Would that mean that with democracy in our Republic, we get the mixed product of those two forces? I think it does! At any one point in our country's history, some would argue that we need a little nudge in the mind direction while others would argue that we need a little nudge in the heart direction.

Back in the days when I felt bolder, I tried to make the case that America needed to move in the more conservative direction to make up for some liberal excesses of the past. At the same time, I tried to objectively explain why some held to the opposite viewpoint. (Believe me, on the Internet, many folks resourcefully express a viewpoint in opposition to mine).

It is probably true that there is a little conservative and a little liberal in all of us. It is just that each of us allows one nature or side of us to show through while restraining or suppressing the other side. The paradox is that conservatives (most Republicans) believe that, left free from government control, people will generally do the right thing and generously take care of their neighbors; yet it is conservatives who believe humankind is basically not good.

On the other hand, liberals (most Democrats) believe that humankind is basically good, but government is needed to force people to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you". I couldn't resolve this paradox during my more inspired days of thinking and I'm afraid I'm less equipped now to figure it out any time soon. But that is the beauty of politics.

The absence of politics in America would mean a one party government. Do any of you really want to do away with politics in America? Once upon a time, Stalin had a desire to do away with opposition politics in Russia and Hitler had a vision as a young man to do away with the conflicts of politics in Germany. Were the Russians or the Germans better off by getting rid of the conflicts in their political systems?

Americans, stay vigilant and be thankful for the political conflicts and heated arguments which you see between our two parties.

As mere fallible human beings, always question whether your positions are arrived at from selfish "me first" motives or selfless concern for the future of America, our children and our grandchildren. But use civil friendly persuasion, try to show understanding while disagreeing with each other, and do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

This last principle transcends the natural conflicts of politics. This principle should always dominate our actions toward one another. And remember, history shows that Stalin and Hitler both rejected this principle and its source. Thank God we have the free will to be political creatures!

--Kenneth J. Wolf #54 (11/09/96)

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