Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

May 14, 2013

WE THE PEOPLE: Crashing those Pearly Gates

CROSSVILLE — Too often when one of our “public servants” dies, even if he is a blot on the human race, he is elevated to sainthood before they can get a tag on his toe. Then the press eulogizes him right into heaven before St. Peter can check his credentials. Even those who are a bit skeptical of this revision of history tend to adopt a “forgive and forget” attitude. Margaret Thatcher’s recent death seems to indicate that the British are less forgiving and have a better memory.

The former Prime Minister’s death was celebrated with “death parties;” and the 1930s song, “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead,” shot to the top of the charts. This legacy of hate and anger was the result of policies that “brought unnecessary calamity to the lives of several million people,” according to her biographer, Hugo Young. “Everything was justified as long as it made money—and this, too, is still with us,” Young said.

One of the most insightful articles I read about the Thatcher era was written, amazing though it might seem, by British comedian-actor Russell Brand. He said Thatcher’s ability to ignore the suffering of others was what made her so formidable. Brand said those of his generation who grew up during the Thatcher years were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people’s pain is not your problem, and that pain is in fact a weakness, and suffering is deserved and shameful. It seemed, he said, that “Thatcher’s time in power was solely spent diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most.”

If all this sounds familiar it is because Ronald Reagan, who ushered in America’s greed-is-good era, and Margaret Thatcher came out the same test tube. Although bigotry, racism, and contempt for the poor have been around a long time, Reagan brought it out of the closet. Like Thatcher, Reagan saw the poor as lazy and government dependent. And that, too, is still with us. During the last presidential campaign, it was in full view.

My feeling is that the “death party” behavior of the British was over the line. Regardless of her destructive policies Thatcher’s journey from this life to wherever she ended up should have been treated with some degree of dignity. However, the people are right to remember what she did to their country, just as Americans should remember what Reagan and other presidents have done to our country. I’m not discriminating by party; believe me, I remember Vietnam. Decisions presidents have made in the past continue to affect our lives every day. If we are oblivious to history, we will indeed repeat it.

Instead of the monuments (AKA presidential libraries) former presidents build to burnish their legacies, there should be a reminder of the human costs of their policies. They should erect a cross, star, crescent or whatever for each man, woman, and child whose life was destroyed by their decisions — whether it was by bomb, bullets, lack of medical care, or starvation.

Again I quote Russell Brand because it is something we need to think about: “I know from my own indulgence in selfish behavior that it’s much easier to get what you want if you remove from consideration the effect your actions will have on others.”

• • •

This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at jwund@frontiernet.net.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice