Monday, June 21, 2004

Leper at Harvard 

How many times do you wish you had spoken out as a public speaker, and particularly a well-known one, said something extraordinarily foolish, but passed because you were afraid to embarass your family and friends? My family knows better than to go to such events with me. Thankfully, his daughter let Alan Bromley attend her graduation from Harvard's Graduate School of Education. He should have known:
The dean of the School of Education talked about our country's isolation and "our need to learn more about" Islam and Muslims--not their need to learn about multicultural capitalism that embraces and allows so many avenues of expression and growth.
And when the rain stopped, Kofi Annan started. Distinguished and eloquent as ever, he first disparaged President Bush (to cheers), then asked: "What kind of world would it be, and who would want to live in it, if every country was allowed to use force, without collective agreement, simply because it thought there might be a threat?"

I raised my hand, and above a whisper and below a shout (so my daughter wouldn't be embarrassed), I said, "Me!"

A few people looked at me, disdainfully, and one apparent father asked me, "How could you not agree with that?"

"Simple," I replied, "the United States, while not perfect, has perhaps the world's best checks and balances of liberties and legalities in the world. And when we've gone wrong, we try to address the wrongs."

I continued: "Would you rather we hand over our autonomy to the French, Germans and Russians, all of whom promised to protect Saddam Hussein for illegal business transactions and payoffs? Or to the nations that comprise the U.N.'s Human Rights Committee--the Libyans, the Sudanese? To whom would you entrust our fate other than to your neighbors? To the Arab nations, for who Judenfrei--and Christian-frei--amounts to a national anthem?"

Without reply, they walked away from me, a leper in the colony of the pure, as I glanced towards my family, hoping they hadn't witnessed my latest provocation.
This the day after Ronald Reagan's death, which warranted no mention from the assembled.

UPDATE: Big Trunk notes that the title of the article, Silence of the Lemmings, was misleading -- there was much applause for Annanhole. Hindrocket's rejoinder:

One thing about lemmings--when they jump over the cliff, they don't try to take anyone else with them. A key distinction, I think.