Springtime reverie brings some nagging questions
© by Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
Thursday, May 3, 2007
It may be the lusty month of May for Guinevere, but
for the rest of us it's time for spring cleaning.
Preparing for summer, when I will lie in my hammock pondering the great
mysteries of life, requires that I clear my mind of the little annoying
questions that lurk there in dark corners, waiting for sunshine and
Have any of those environmentalists who choose paper over plastic at
the checkout counter ever lived downwind or downstream from a paper
mill? If they had, they might be tempted not only to wrap their
purchases but also wipe their behinds with plastic. Hey, a new and
improved project for Sheryl Crowe!
On the issue of the environment, I keep asking my liberal friends, and
getting no answer: Didn't global warming -- by definition -- begin with
the end of the last Ice Age, in roughly 16,000 BC, long before man
invented the SUV? So is our goal now to reverse that warming and begin
the next Ice Age? As the world turns, cycles happen.
Would those who want Massachusetts to refuse federal funds for
"abstinence-only" sex education have foregone government money for
anti-smoking programs unless they also taught kids how to use tobacco
Why do some of the same people who hate their country for intervening
against the torture and murder of the inhabitants of Iraq insist we "do
something" about the genocide in Darfur? What if "divesting from
Fidelity" doesn't stop the killing and the United Nations, as usual,
does nothing? Should we invade? And then what? Nation-build? Deal with a
Darfur Civil War?
How come when I inform my readers that 199 Republicans and 105
Democrats voted to protect ordinary citizens from lawsuits when they
report suspicious activity at airports, someone writes a letter to the
editor accusing me of Republican bias? What are those 105 good
Democrats, chopped liver? Nope, pointing out that
Tierney prefers to let these citizens go through lawsuit hell is not
necessarily pro-Republican; it's just anti-Tierney.
I generally enjoy both Joe Biden's and Newt Gingrich's agile,
inquisitive minds. I don't think that Biden should have apologized for
calling Barack Obama "articulate." It's not as if all U.S. senators, no
matter what their color, are naturally articulate. Take Ted Kennedy, for
I also wish I could forget the sound of Gingrich apologizing in
Spanish, with an appalling accent, for referring to a Miami "ghetto." In
the first place, Newt, this is America: Speak English! In the second
place, the word, according to Wikipedia, means "an area where people
from a specific racial or ethnic background and united in a given
culture or religion live as a group in seclusion."
So it seems an attribute worth mentioning if it fits the senator from
According to that definition, my entire Catholic hometown in western
Pennsylvania was a ghetto. It's also a word I sometimes use to describe
But here is my question: What on earth did Biden mean when he blamed
"the Gingrich revolution" for the massacre at Virginia Tech?
When asked, Biden said that he was referring to the general "incivility"
that began when Gingrich and his allies took over the House of
Representatives. So ... partisan politics, created by our founding
fathers when they encouraged the creation of more than one political
party, leads to murder by a crazy Korean? And is Biden claiming that
Democrats never indulge in political incivility? I don't get it.
I'm really glad that the House budget passed last week without new
taxes. And I want to appreciate the opposition of Speaker Sal DiMasi to
Governor's Patrick's proposal for "closing tax loopholes." But I keep
wondering: How much of that opposition is due to the fact that the
governor embarrassed the speaker's Economic Development chairman, Dan Bosley, D-North Adams, when he offered him a powerful position in his
administration and then withdrew the offer after the election?
I'm no Bosley fan, but he does know business issues. The legislative
message seems clear: The governor should have had the House expert on
his team. Most things on Beacon Hill are either personal, or a
premeditated method of fundraising. If the governor were more of an
insider, I would suspect the usual game: Someone threatens the business
community -- the parts with lots of money -- and then its defenders hold
political "times" while business lobbyists line up at the door.
May Day, with its traditional protests, reminded me that more
Americans were killed last year by illegal immigrants -- committing
crimes, driving drunk -- than have died in Iraq.
A nagging question: Would the people who refer to "the wasted lives"
of military personnel killed in this war use that same phrase if we had
lost World War II? I think if we were all speaking German or Japanese
now, we would still honor those who fought our enemies and tried to keep
America free. The fact that the Bush administration, unlike Roosevelt,
Truman and Eisenhower, has done a terrible job of running the war, only
makes the efforts of our present military heroes more commendable, it
seems to me.
Well, I've asked my questions. Would feel better if I had some answers,
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens
for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and
Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and
Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the
Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.