Ike warnings

Perhaps it is fortuitous that we are waiting this weekend to see what an Ike will bring. "Ike" should call to mind a warning this election year. A hurricane named "Ike" can remind us that much of tv weathercasting is hype designed to get all of us a tad hysterical. An earlier Ike warning would alert us to look behind the facades and sound bites of both campaigns to examine their real strategies for the serious problems we are facing in our families, communities, nation, and world.

I'm insulted that the campaigns have regressed to pigs and pitbulls, with or without cosmetic products. It's like being trapped in a high school pep rally watching cheerleader skits and the chanting adoration of the jocks. Could we please, as individuals and as a nation, grow up?

The earlier Ike warned us that "only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing" of government and business interests for the security, peace, liberty, and democratic process to flourish. President Eisenhower was speaking about the dangerous influence of the military-industrial complex at his farewell address in January of 1961, but his warning applies to every aspect of our national life today.

The real "change" that must come about in this election is not a buzzword, but an electorate demanding more from it's politicians than it does from the grocery check-out aisle magazines. We must show that we can understand ideas, ask difficult questions, and recognize the difference between a "reality show" and reality. We must show our understanding that we as a nation are playing for keeps.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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