Skip to comments.Mea Culpa, we whispered...
Posted on 11/13/2004 3:58:22 PM PST by pickrell
Many of the young voters of the United States are unsure of exactly what to make of their first vote. They've tasted the heady thrill of being politically involved for the first time and they've sipped the power of "having a voice". And yet for many, their candidate didn't win. For the novice, this must seem somehow terribly unfair. My advice to you is to step back for a second and consider what may be to many of you a foreign concept. That of being careful what you wish for.
It is innocuous sounding, and the sort of common sense nostrum that no one really pays much attention to, while the far more important matters of proving your independence and stepping into your adulthood are on the line. But when you really begin to mature, it will play an amazing role in shaping your decision making. At least, it had better. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that without learning this critical lesson, most of the rest of your life will consist of "life happening to you", rather than you controlling your life.
And make no mistake- casting your vote is not the same as rooting for the high school basketball team, despite what the cheerleaders assure you.
What I'm talking about is the inescapable responsibility for your actions, that attaches to your vote, as well as everything else in your lives. This essential understanding of the cause-effect relationship in life should be the most important lesson taught in, at the very least, one of your high school years. But it won't be. Bill Cosby may not be prevented from alluding to it in public, but further discussion will be shut down hard. Powerful vested interests realize that the only way that their agendas can be advanced is to keep your attention diverted elsewhere, and away from the effects of your own past efforts and actions.
There are no do-overs. There may be another election that comes around in a few years- there always will be- but the actions that your candidate proposes, and if elected may in fact implement...will have repercussions that fall squarely into your lap. It may be, however, that you don't fully realize yet what that may cost you.
The liberal media loves to promote the idea that elections are like oil paintings. They only face forward. This is a lie, and with age, you will understand this. When the country elected the administration before this one, many voters didn't seem to realize or believe that their votes might set off a chain of decisions on the part of their winning candidate that would produce a spiderweb of consequences, and bring havoc to them in the future. Mistake not- the future IS here.
I would like to think that most of the voters in this election realized the same thing. But then, to clarify what I am trying to illustrate to you, let me go back to the days when many of us oldsters were your age- not in condescension, but in an urgent note of warning.
In the hot summer of 1968, the United States seemed to be going mad. We were then also involved hotly in another war that many were becoming unsure of. Those of us who were entering our junior and senior years in high school, were beginning to argue against the war. Some of us wondered whether it made sense to let the Soviets supply weapons and war materials to pawns in a third world country, and watch with no risk as our troops bled and died, fighting to keep a creeping evil from overwhelming yet another small country. We didn't see convincing evidence that the indigenous troops were actually fighting as hard as they should in their own defense. We didn't believe that the war could be won. We were polarized, and the Big 3 networks made sure we knew it.
We saw only what Walter Chronkite decided we would see, and we had no clue as to the awesome power that gave to unelected celebrities. Worse- we all liked him, and believed that he would have made a neat grandfather. We were so stupid.
So, we attended rallies, and we added our voices. We thought that we were the voices of reason. We were so certain.
What we were, perhaps, was too young to realize the full implications of what we were doing. It was popular then to accuse the "patriot crowd" of blind, reflexive, reactionary obedience to authority. It was exhilarating to be invited to "planning" meetings. Most of all, it was astonishing to face the level of emotion regarding the war. It reminds me of today, and of the then-unheeded advice from older mentors that we were just too clever, too certain, to listen to back then. We only knew that we were going to be old enough to vote in the election! That meant that we were pretty darned smart, buddy.
Long dormant raw nerve endings have been re-aggravated by today's collisions in the cultural war. A war that many hoped was past and safely unable to cause further pain, was re-injected front and center into the political spotlight by a candidate who felt it would serve his purposes. It didn't. The reason it didn't was that some of us have re-thought our actions and beliefs from so long ago, and have been forced to realize that we all bear responsibility for those actions. Age is no excuse. Maybe we all had some valid points...and maybe we all tried to forget that painful period for good and sufficient reason.
What Mr. Kerry didn't appreciate was that many of us back then were soon faced with some unpleasant realities. Many of us were badly shocked when we began to realize that not all of the protestors approached the Vietnam war resistance from the point of view of preventing pointless waste of our troops. We watched in mounting horror as the venom of a hard core group of older students became apparent. These "comrades" hated our fighting men- the same fighting men who earlier had graduated from our schools and who had been sent to war by our parents! They burnt and spit on our flags, spit on our returning soldiers, and they vowed to change the world. I could kick myself for not understanding back then what these people really were, and the danger that they advanced. Can't go back, now. No do-overs.
While most of us grew up and made lives for ourselves, many of the "comrades" secured positions for themselves in which they could "teach" the next generation of students. They quietly completed their liberal arts degrees, and filled the ranks of teachers, journalists and politicos. They muscled their way to the top of unions, or secured the law degrees that would enable them to challenge "incorrect" decisions by voters. Some even leveraged their way into judgeships, and were directly able then to dictate "corrective" judicial interpretations. And they kept the "cause" alive. They are some of your teachers, and academics, even now.
The reason that they did these things is that they never, EVER, suffered the doubt and regrets that the rest of us did. In their monomania, self-examination was a foreign concept. They were absolutely committed to bringing about change no matter what the cost. They desparately need now to prevent "the cost" of what they've already done from ever becoming widely known. This abandonment of ever facing the consequences of the choices that they have forced onto others is a character flaw that cripples them as human beings. It never matters what they did...only what good intentions they had. They are sure that there is no hell- that there just can't be, hopefully. Because the carnage caused by their arrogance and complicity will damn them for eternity if there is. Better to say there isn't. Better to hope there isn't.
Many of us thought back then that the social safety net tried out in the late sixties was a mark of a caring nation. The true believers among the comrades worked to ridicule and deny the initial evidence of the harm being caused by these ill-advised programs, which actually reversed decades of gains in lowering poverty, limiting out-of-wedlock births, and expanding our middle class! Results weren't the point, only "the cause" was the point. Community was an "old Europe" concept, Family was an anachronism.
When the harm eventually became undeniable, they then argued that not ENOUGH money had been spent, and that the corner was soon to be turned. When misguidance turned irrevocably to evil, however, is when even the redistributionist/society's-always-at-fault/extremists THEN argued that, "Well, we can't end the programs now, because that would cause riots in the streets and anyway, only the poor are being crushed. And they vote for "us" reflexively anyway!" As Clinton reasoned, "We'll just have to win....".
And if it requires the accumulated capital of the 10 generations before us, being spent on these theories, well...it'll just show how committed we are. No need to maintain a national surplus, or guard a national inheritance, when no amount of money is too much in advancing the cause.
The rest of us saw that the carnage inflicted on an entire generation of victims who thought themselves "cared for" by the enablers, would not easily be reversed. The rest of us knew that by warping their "championed victim's" learning-and- earning mechanisms, the lower class were being controlled and used by some very clever and despicable politicos, who were inexplicably cheered on by the liberal media. We had much to learn about the extent that these people would go to to retain/regain political power, and thereby to advance their vision of utopia at any cost.
And we had much to learn about the opportunity costs of wasting our accumulated national savings on self-destructive theories. When that money would be critically needed later, it wouldn't be there, and...it would just have to be borrowed. From our overseas friends.
Back then, as we watched Vietnam fall to the communists, and saw the "re-education" of their citizens; when we saw the Chinese-trained Pol Pot seize power in neighboring Cambodia and immortalize the phrase "killing fields" with the bodies of millions of Cambodian corpses, we were struck down to our knees with guilt that perhaps, (though we hoped privately that we had advocated against the U.S. government's policies for good and noble reasons),...we may not only have been wrong, but far more terrifying, were perhaps partially at fault. We soon prayed that as mere high school students, that maybe, hopefully, we overimagined our own tiny impact upon the war. Our McGovern votes were mercifully ineffective. In the event, we were denied what we wished for, and thereby spared at least that...
Most unmercifully, we will never know for certain. We only know that a wall now exists to honor the dead, and that some old newsfilms hold an indictment of those who slandered them, even as they were buried. We only know that for a while we stood beside those slanderers in the naive belief that all men are basically good, and that no harm could come from speaking against what might have been a mistake. We only knew. We only knew. It's what we didn't know that will haunt us.
Realizing that what you may have believed, and thereby acted upon in your ignorance, was perhaps only a small part of a larger, then unrealized truth, can drive a man to his knees, years later, and make him pray for a mercy that may not be. That...we also don't know. We'll never know whether the ones who gave their lives thinking to prevent further enslavement of men in a distant land- who only did what their country asked of them; and who forever forfeited the chance to make their own rich lives and legacies- will somehow understand and forgive that we didn't know. So much of tragedy is what we didn't know. It always is...
We don't know what would have happened if the Allied Powers had militarily confronted Germany when they suspected that the Germans were developing forbidden weapons of war in the 1920's and 1930's, (as the Germans did at Lipetsk, Russia, and other secret places). We can only guess that we would have done, when no great weapons caches were found, and that the only "evidence" discovered was the fresh construction of concentration camps meant secretly to finally solve the "Jewish question".
The odds are, that many among us would have said "Look...it's not as if we found mass graves or anything. If we did, then we would CERTAINLY have been justified to take action..." [My, how we have progressed today...]
As it was, we probably would have re-imbursed the Germans for any collateral damage done by our armed forces to those "peculiar community showers" in the new camps that we found, and left with our tails between our legs. Because we didn't know then...what we know now. And we are a wiser, more suspicious nation now, fully aware of mad killers.
But we can, at least, resolve, as our penance, that as a man and as a nation we will forever henceforth do our utmost to look beyond our juvenile certainties, and strive with our best efforts to examine every aspect and ramification of the arguments presented, before we so quickly take up our banners. We will realize that the consequences of our being wrong can harm so many. That "all politics are local", only if the overriding concern you have is for yourselves and your group alone...and let the rest of the nation and the world pay the bill. And that some situations do come down to accepting the lesser of two evils, or at least to trying to minimize the harm that evil men can do, and that craven men will accept, as long as the economy is good and there's promise of a chicken in their pot tonight.
Maybe if we also try to explain to as many young people as we can, that your vote to "protect Social Security", before you understand what Social Security really IS; that your vote to regain France and Germany's "respect", without realizing the history, and present depravity, of European sophistication; and so many other lies that you have been told by the educators and role models that you may at present respect, has been a disappointing blessing in disguise to you.
It is no crime to be young. And passion for a cause is no vice. But blindly mistaking talking points...for "thinking points"...will come back to haunt you. Be young- but be as certain as you can about your course of action. Ask the occasional old fart what he thinks. And listen. You don't have to agree, but you will find that in all of life there is "...the rest of the story."
The rest of us can only say Mea Culpa.
LOSERS, My daughter voted for the winner! She was looking forward to voting for Bush for a couple of years!
And even though we are stuck in a blue state neither me, nor any of my three new voters for Bush felt our votes were wasted. They are in that three million plus margin that shows the losers what losers they are.
My son turned 18 on October 11th. He and all of his friends voted for Bush.
Everyone's children who are old enough should read this.
You too, Elvis.
The best article I've read all day. Thanks!
But you are "preaching to the choir."
Why don't you post it at:
So, the only way ffor young progressive liberals to avoid this evil plan was to either vote for Nader (not possible in all states), vote for Bush (not acceptable in some radical progressive neocommunist areas) or not vote at all. These youngsters outslickered the evil administration and Karl Rove BY NOT VOTING at all!!
And, by not voting at all, if Kerry is correct and the draft is reinstituted, thse clever liberal progressive thinkers have reduced their odds of being drafted to the same as the most well connected Halliburton oil executives son.
Very moving piece.
Unusual point of view, and you're absolutely right.
Even having been part of that generation, having gone through those years and looking back on them, I've never thought about it from this perspective. This should get published beyond FR.
"....But you are "preaching to the choir."
Why don't you post it at:
You're right. I suppose it is easier to speak to friends.
Takes less nerve, for me anyway. Thanks for the link, and I will post it there right now.
You guys can scrape up the charred remains of me right after they fry me! Have a good evening...
I am doubly shamed now. I can't post to this "DU" that you referred me to, because that would be a violation of their rules. As stupid as this sounds, they have a right to have their "no conservative thought rule" honored. Incidentally, have you actually read their rules? I just did! These are, I am now shocked to realize, the most anal retentive, hidebound, single-minded folks that I have ever encountered, at least to judge from their rules. How can they ever hope to taste new thought processes if they wrap themselves in this cocoon of isolation? I welcome the good challenges to my thoughts...as I'm sure we all do. How else to grow?
All kidding aside, I am now more depressed for these folks than ever. We weren't THAT obnoxious before we grew up, were we? Or don't I remember?
Don't apologize. If you hadn't clued me in to who these "DU" folks really are, I wouldn't now understand the contempt that so many Freepers seem to regard these folks with. I was puzzled over the last few months, but it makes a whole lot more sense now. Your suggestion to check these guys out though is probably one that should be "required reading" for all new Freepers!
We should have pulled up their site without your having to prompt us, but I'm glad you did. Thanks again, from all of us newbies!
This election was an opportunity for Vietnam vets like me to finnaly spit back in the faces of all those left wing losers from the 60's and Kerry was their poster boy. Let me tell you something IT FEELS GREAT!! I'm loving all the left wing angst. The last laugh is the best laugh.
Me too! Yippee!
Your original posting is great and needs a larger audience. Suggest you send it as a letter to the editor to a conservative newspaper like the WASHINGTON TIMES.
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