WHERE ARE THE GROWN-UPS?
January 1, 1970
Enough! Enough of the killing and wounding. Enough of rape and torture. Enough of the bombs and missiles, the destruction of homes and schools and workplaces and bridges and roads and buildings and everything that supports and nurtures life. The world desperately needs leaders who are grown-ups, not adolescent bully boys masquerading as men. Here they are – the gang of seven whose sandbox tactics threaten all life on Earth: Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Iran’s Mahmoud Amadinejad, Israel’s Ehud Olmert, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, and the bully-in-chief George W. Bush.
Every parent who has ever taken a toddler boy to an urban sandbox has seen the territorial behavior. Little boys typically seize another child’s shovel or bucket while proclaiming loudly, “Mine! Mine!” Parents or caretakers intervene, teaching the child to share, to recognize what is his and what belongs to another, and to resolve disputes through cooperation and negotiation rather than hurling sand. Sadly, the bully gang of seven act as if they had no parenting. Possibly they are cases of arrested development. More likely, they are mad, suffering delusions of fundamentalist fantasies. Behaviorally, they are stuck in the sandbox, but politically they are in positions of power where their uncontrolled actions threaten all of us.
Now these aging adolescent boys, swaggering to demonstrate how manly they are, wield the most lethal weapons ever invented as if they were sandbox toys. Seemingly incapable of reasoning and negotiation, they resort to the terrorism of war. These merchants of death reap blood profits as the body counts rise, and suicide bombers detonate themselves and everyone else in their lethal range, and the arms manufacturers produce more weapons to nurture endless wars. Enough!
The terrorism of war — the only foreign policy bullies seem to understand – reveals a profound hatred of life. While self-righteously proclaiming he is “pro-life,” the bully-in-chief Bush vetoes stem-call research as murder but promotes the mass murder of war. If Bush and the rest of the gang of seven care about life, they should veto war. In our technological age where nuclear weapons can incinerate civilization, war is unacceptable behavior. If we had grown-ups for leaders, they would declare war obsolete.
Life is the only gift evolution has granted us and it is terminal. We will all die in time. But must the resources of nations – human as well as economic wealth – be committed to hastening death rather than nurturing life?
If grown-ups were in charge, wealth would be spent to make the precious years of life better not worse. It would be spent to improve health, foster education, the arts and sciences, and eliminate poverty. These things are possible if we have leaders who are truly pro-life rather than pro-death.
But first, the people – their parliaments and congresses – must grow up, exercise parental intervention and remove the bully boys from power. Democracy can flourish only if citizens act like responsible adults and demand better behavior. In countries that are democracies, the people have choices. They can elect thoughtful adults rather than bully boys as their leaders. The current line-up of war-mongering leaders raises the serious question whether the people want to be bullied? No homeland can ever be secure as long as terrorists are in charge of governments. If these madmen are enabled to continue their destruction, the entire planet can be incinerated. Perhaps that is what the Christian, Muslim and Jewish fundamentalists want most of all – to be exploded to cinders in some final rapture.