Contact Us    
Making it Very Clear

by Barnabas
June 5, 2002

Bookmark and Share

Making it Very Clear_Barnabas- ``We are making it very clear to both Pakistan and India that war will not serve their interests.'' —The President of the United States, May 30.

I’m sticking to my dual theme of absurdity and ethics, but I would appreciate it if our newsmakers were more creative in the absurdity department. Absurdity has a silly grandeur about it, whereas fatuity is merely—fatuous.

I do not believe for a moment that the President is a fatuous person. In a prepared speech, if the theme is universal and not partisan, he can rise to eloquence and greatness.

I do believe that in the next day or two his senior advisors or his wife should convince him of what the rest of the world knows, that he has no gift for public extemporaneous speech. Their attempt will be as daunting as the choir director telling a popular but tuneless minister that he should not sing into the microphone; some people are hard to convince that they really are that bad. In the President’s case, they must try until they succeed.

The President has the habit of starting a sentence grandly and ending it with a truism. In the example above—which also contains our ethical point—he surely intended to say more than that war will not serve the interests of India and Pakistan, but he either forgot what it was in mid-sentence, or he couldn’t formulate it on the spot. So he ran for safety: “that war is not in their interests.” I suspect Pakistan and India know that already. I suspect the average fifth-grade class knows it, if the subject ever comes up.

Even best interests do not concern these nations. If they were interested in serving their interests, they wouldn’t have a million men-at-arms strung out along their common border, waiting for an excuse to vent a rage originating in religion but finding expression in nationalism.

My Great-grandfather’s brother and his neighbor, back in the 1880’s, had a long-standing quarrel over a plot of land. It ended when these two old men shot each other to death on the street of a Mississippi town. That wasn’t about land. It was about hatred. So is the Indian-Pakistani confrontation. Reasonable discourse about “interests” isn’t going to cut it wherever hatred is driving the behavior.

That’s why I earnestly hope that the President intended to say more than what came out of his mouth, and that the next time he will. We can afford some absurdity, but we can’t afford fatuity.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Making it Very Clear
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Barnabas
Barnabas Says Goodbye
Moving on, not moving out.
by Barnabas, 1/19/05
Seats on the Fifty-Yard Line
Yet another American value.
by Barnabas, 1/12/05
Ethical Endgame
When children become sexual slaves.
by Barnabas, 12/15/04
Eighteen Years on Death Row
We have redefined 'speedy trial' and 'cruel and unusual.'
by Barnabas, 12/8/04
Hard on Drugs, Soft in the Head
Legalizing marijuana.
by Barnabas, 12/1/04
Wesley and Wal-Mart
Destructive competition as a stinky enterprise.
by Barnabas, 11/24/04
The Mandate to Govern
Third party time.
by Barnabas, 11/17/04
» Complete List (137)

Recently Published
View Article Nor Easter Alert
A troubling forecast for a nation in need of God
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/16/18
A Tribute to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Looking back to where it all began PLUS; There Goes the Neighborhood
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/9/18
A Prayer for the Washington State Legislature
Remembering Billy Graham's example
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 3/2/18
A Sentry of the Past Century
Remembering Billy Graham; PLUS, Cross Words
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/23/18
Another St. Valentine's Day Massacre
When will the craziness stop?
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/16/18
Speaking of the Winter Olympics
A prayer for our athletes and our world
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/9/18
A Call for Respect
Lessons from the State of the Union
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 2/2/18

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2018 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top