Beyond that road lies a shining world.
Beyond that road lies despair.
Beyond that road lies a world that’s gleaming.
People who are scheming.
Never a pain or care.
He’s liable to find a couple of surprises there.
The Boy and the Stage Manager, from “The Fantastics.”
This song is a duet with the naive Boy singing one line, a
s he leaves his sheltered home to see the world, while the Stage Manager responds with warnings.
This month, we relate to the more familiar opening song, “Try to remember, the kind of September ...” as the musical takes us to the time when we were young and innocent. Nowadays, if you wanted innocence, you’d probably have to experience it by age 7 in a television-free home.
My 11-year-old grandtwins just saw “The Hunger Games”, about an ugly future after Big Government gets total control. Their father took them without having checked the plot, and regretted it: very scary film, though a big hit. My granddaughter has recommended the three serial books, which I’m now reading. Haven’t been able to get her to read “Anne of Green Gables”, my favorite book when I was her age.
Like Anne, I’ve focused on enjoying the shining, gleaming world, thinking about despair and hunger just long enough to send checks to charity and years ago, sponsor two little boys of Sierra Leone through the Christian Children’s Fund. Lost track of them when CCF had to flee from the country’s brutal civil war; they are probably dead or missing limbs, since the Revolutionary United Front hacked off hands and arms of boys who wouldn’t join the army. Maybe my two sponsored children were forced to do the hacking themselves.
This of course was only one of Africa’s recent civil wars/genocides; glad my own hominid ancestors left that continent and settled in what became Yugoslavia, Germany and Ireland. Glad my more recent ancestors left Yugoslavia and Germany before the world wars, left Ireland before they starved to death. Glad they all
came to America.
As part of initiation at Penn State, my freshman class was required to see a documentary about the Holocaust. I’ve read “Exodus”, seen “Schindler’s List”, and enough similar books and films to be on the side of Israel even if it means watching it preemptively bomb Iran into the Stone Age. I’ve been rooting against the Persians ever since I stood on the high burial mound at Marathon imagining the battle between the statist Asian hordes and Athenian democracy. Now it looks as if the latter is about to be brought down by classic human stupidity; glad I returned to America, which has more time.
Trying to understand what makes the world tick, many people are tempted to divide themselves in broad, simple ways: by race, creed or color; East vs. West; Republican vs. Democrat. Much more simply, I divide people in all those groups by smart or generally confused like me vs. inexcusably stupid, and I’m doing it more as I get old and cranky. We’re seeing grand examples of stupid on the news this week: radical Islamist mobs storming the embassies of the country that tried to help them escape brutal dictators and civil wars and land on the side of freedom.
I’m a taxpayer activist, not an expert on foreign policy. But since it’s become painfully obvious that there are no experts on foreign policy, my opinion is a good as those who are paid to be said experts, and so perhaps is yours, so don’t let’s be timid.
The Obama administration blames the uprisings on a video – which I’ve seen, it’s laughably silly – lest anyone blame the president for not paying attention to intelligence briefings. Stupid people may indeed be using a stupid video as an excuse to riot; but the fact that these attacks started on 9-11 tells us the uprisings weren’t just spontaneous. President Obama should have to explain why Marines weren’t guarding our diplomatic property in northern Africa. As ABC’s Martha Raddatz said on “This Week” Sunday morning, “I’m pretty sure there are Marines in Paris; why weren’t they in Tripoli?”
While some want to blame all Muslims, I was struck by the signs held by anti-mob Muslims in Libya, one saying: “Sorry people of America this not the Pehavior of our ESLAM and profit.” Profit? Then I realized they were doing their best to spell “Prophet.” How hard it must be, trying to form a good country, while ugly mobs swarm like mindless, poisonous jellyfish.
There are good people, all around the globe, balancing the stupid, the evil; appreciating what America tries to do to hold back the darkness. Unfortunately with our growing national debt, we may not be able to help them much longer.
Our ancestors came here because here is better than there. The United States of America is the closest thing humanity has found to a shining world. Let’s not
exchange it for what Paul Ryan calls “debt, doubt and despair.”
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.