|Thursday, April 18, 2002||ISSUE #226|
COLUMBUS: Well, I've put this off about as long as I can. I delayed writing my weekly annoyance a few extra days, just waiting for Peace to break out. Since there's no news to report, we'll do just what they do on television under similar circumstances... we'll chat among ourselves.
Remember when our President announced from his ranch in Crawford that he told Prime Minister Sharon to pull out his army, "without delay"? Then he sent Sec. Powell over there to talk to 'em, and if necessary, lasso 'em and bulldog 'em back on their side of the line.
Well, the Secretary must have left his lasso in Texas. Nobody got roped. He spent ten days seeing the sights in the Middle East, (or was it 40 days wandering in the Wilderness?) and left for home saying he made some headway. If I heard it right he said, "We came over here not knowing if Israel would pull out in two weeks or two months. I am pleased to report progress: Israel told me yesterday it would definitely be two months."
But you can't blame our Secretary of State. He knew he wouldn't get anywhere when he headed over there. If he had intended to win, he would have taken General Swartzkoff.
You can't really blame the Prime Minister either. When our government was tracking down Dillinger and his gang in 1933, did they announce, "Two more weeks, and if we don't get him, we quit looking."? Mr. Sharon is a fighter and always has been. That's all he knows. Johnny Cash sang about a Boy named Sue. Would you want to be a Man named Sharon?
Can you blame Mr. Arafat? Many people do, but he is a fighter and that's all he's known for years. What is it he is fighting for? Well, it's always for a bit more than anyone wants to give him. But it's less than he thinks his people deserve.
Those countries in that region don't realize what they're giving up. Millions of people from all over the world would pay thousands a piece to take a 10-day tour of the same places Colin Powell visited. There ain't hardly a nicer territory on Earth than around the Mediterranean in the spring if you could just keep politics out of it.
But you can't blame it all on politics. It's more on their particular brand of politics.
Over here we got politics, but it's mainly for the humor. Take Florida. (Now admit it, as soon as you read "Take Florida", didn't you burst out laughing?)
You remember what happened back in the election of 2000. The sides was split 50-50, right down the middle. For more than a month, the number one hit on television was that live show from West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. They should have called it Survivor 0. The Newscasters thought it was drama. But for the ordinary viewer... they were watching it as a comedy.
Did the tourists stay away from Florida because of all these political battles and turmoil? Not on your life. This spring they had more vacationers than ever, and you can't give all the credit to Walt Disney's 100th birthday, fast cars at Daytona and cheap beer on the beach. Political comedy is attracting a fair share. Janet Reno for Governor. Katherine Harris for Congress. See, you laughed again.
Well, this chat doesn't have a stopping point, so I'll just sign off with an inkling of a Peace Plan. I may reveal more details next week if no other plan succeeds in the mean time. It involves a 20-mile wide strip of land running north-south to be inhabited only by those sworn to a peaceful existence with their neighbors. All combatants would be forced to live separately on either side. I'll leave you in suspense as to whether this Plan refers to the Jews and Palestinians in Israel, or the Democrats and Republicans in Florida.
Historic quote from Will Rogers:
"I've got a plan that'll stop all wars. When you can't agree with your neighbor you move away. With your wife, she either shoots you or moves away from you. Now that's my plan. Move nations away from each other. Take France and Germany. They can't agree, so take France and trade places with Japan. Let Japan live there by Germany. If those two want to fight, let 'em fight. Who cares. We'd run excursions to a war like that.
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