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We're running out of room and time

 
October 31, 2022

"Your gross generalizations, pot stirring and slanderous comments are no different than what you are supposedly taking a stance against. And, at least one group above shouldn’t be included with the others anyway," a reader said in response to an editorial I posted recently on Facebook, reprinted here. "Instead, why not use your platform to look for the common ground that brings us together in this community. Not on what separates."

I've reported news in Boundary County for over 30 years, and I hope most who've read my work with any consistency recognize that I have no pretense of perfection, but that I never back away from hard issues, succumb to threats or alter the tenor of what I write to appease anyone. I cater to no cause or faction. but do my best to convey truth as best I am given to see it so as to honestly inform and serve my community.

My three decades of reporting news in Boundary County are replete with stories I would much rather have not had to tell, but to have refrained would not have brought the community together. It would have left unexposed secrets to fester in the dark, allowed questions and suspicions to linger.

And the past six years are replete with painful editorials I never imagined I'd be compelled to write.

But there come times in history that demand the sounding of alarms, times of inconceivably great division that erupt out of long-simmering discontent, resentments and fears. Times when easily refuted lies are believed with ferocious and fervent conviction by that faction who see change in a society not as progress, but as a threat, who see gains made by others as losses to themselves.

In such times, harsh and uncompromising words must be said. Without hesitation and without equivocation. Without fear. The words often draw ire and don't always work, but still, they must be said. Not in hope of eliciting a change of mind in the true believers, but instead to give pause to those who still question, time for a moment's thought. Time to consider.

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war," Abraham Lincoln said at his inauguration in March, 1861. "The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.'”

On April 12, the southern slave owners chose the field of battle rather than the path of reason, clinging to false ideals and high-sounding principles so as to retain their right to a peculiar form of property, slaves. People. Men, women, children. Each, according to our nation's Declaration of Independence, equally endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A web of lies, false assertions and imaginary threats, believed fervently by large factions who saw themselves as victims even though they were clearly the aggressors, kept that terrible war going until the Union narrowly prevailed four bloody years later.

"It's not slavery, but state's rights we fought for." "Slavery is an institution beneficial to our inferior black brethren, our superiority ordained by God." "Their lot is made better by our firm but benevolent guidance." "The northern liberals want only to deprive us of our rights and liberties, to usurp for themselves our rightful place in the governance of this once great nation. They are out to subjugate and destroy us."

Time has proven such assertions false. They are and will ever be lies. The indisputable truth was first enunciated in this nation's declaration of independence from King George and Great Britain. Yet there are many today who still believe the lies, still admire the old south and its ways, still believe the south will rise again.

Our nation was a melting pot; the British ruling parts, the Quakers others, the Dutch. The Spanish, the French. Protestants, Catholics. Those indigenous to this continent, those chained below decks as cargo in ports far away and brought to this nation against their will.

All had aspirations. All had hopes, dreams. Love. Each and every woman, child and man was entitled and due that greatest of assertions underpinning our democratic form of governance, entitled to all the essential ideals of our humanity. That they were created equal. That they are endowed, by their Creator, with rights unalienable. Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness.

All men... not just me. Their creator, not just mine. Equal. None lesser, none superior. These are self-evident truths we ought all find easy to believe.

Fast forward about seven decades.

For over ten years, world leaders watched the unlikely rise to power of the Austrian corporal, Adolph Hitler, most with benign curiosity, many with unalloyed admiration. As other world leaders groveled, some in his own country, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill kept a wary eye on der Fuhrer. On May 4, 1939, in a Daily Telegraph article, he sounded the alarm, predicting a "new outrage or invasion" by Adolph Hitler, "most likely against Poland."

He was roundly ridiculed. Every attempt was made by leaders of most of the allied nations to appease the upstart from Bavaria. Churchill refused to capitulate. The attack came September 1, 1939, setting off World War II.

"We will never parley; we will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang," Churchill proclaimed with great indignation. "We shall fight him by land; we shall fight him by sea; we shall fight him in the air, until, with God's help, we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its people from his yoke."

Neither Lincoln nor Churchill had premonition of the future, but they could read the signs.

Hitler did invade Poland. Then France, Russia. For "lebensraum." Living space. It was a long standing lie widely believed based on the presumption that the German people were superior, and as such entitled ... chosen to rule, and to rid the world of "undesirables," Jews, gypsies, queers, Jehovah's Witnesses and more.

Based on the lies of a charismatic leader expounded by a propaganda machine unparalleled in the annals of history, Germany and the Axis came close to establishing a Third Reich; an authoritarian realm envisioned to rule the world beneath an iron jackboot for 1,000 years. The German people, Hitler proclaimed, were victims of a world that would deny what was owed them, and they believed with the fervor of a cult.

Despite Hitler's every lie refuted, his claims to purity and superiority debunked by the "inferiors" who stumbled or were carried out of his concentration camps to give first-hand testimony as to the atrocities of those in the Nazi regime who aspired to erase them, there are many in this nation and abroad, who still believe the lies, who still laud the Nazi goals, still worship Adolph Hitler.

The extreme are entitled to their ignorance, but the sensible are not obligated to give credence to their stupidity.

Fast forward eight more decades. There are now ever louder grumbles of a second civil war in the United States, ever louder rumbles of discontent among nations, raising concerns of a World War III.

This nation today stands on the edge of a precipice and there appears little chance for talk, little hope for reason. No telling if we might step back toward sanity or walk off the edge to oblivion.

Once again the signs of coming catastrophe and conflagration are there. So many in the U.S. accept the outlandish lies, baseless assertions and ever more inane conspiracy theories, wearing hats and waving banners with cult like devotion to a political movement bent on destroying the foundations upon which this country was built. "The 2020 elections were stolen." "January 6 was a peaceful gathering." "A cabal of ultra rich cannibalistic pedophiles are conspiring to rule the world." "The 'woke' are out to cancel us and our culture." "The Democrats want to kill us and they welcome crime and illegal immigration."

"We are victims, and we must protect what is ours."

It's too early to tell what lies ahead after the November midterm election of 2022, but I do think we are in for interesting and even more trying times. I fear we've seen but the very tip of the iceberg, and we're rapidly running out of both room and time to turn the ship.
Mike Weland
Publisher

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Mike Weland, Publisher
mike@9b.news  

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