To the point week of 3-24-11

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OUR COUNTRY ENTERED INTO more conflict this week. After years of sending our sons and daughters into Iraq and then into Afghanistan; this week our country has joined with United Nations forces in enforcing a “No Fly” zone in Libya.

The passing of the United Nations resolution establishing the No Fly zone was barely in print before Colonel Moammar Gadhafi violated the orders, and shortly thereafter bombs were falling and buildings were destroyed and people were living in terror.

Although those in charge of enforcing the No Fly zone say that the main objective is to enforce the zone and keep the Libyan army from killing and terrorizing citizens, the first bombs fell on the residence of Gadhafi and other official buildings, leaving citizens here wondering if we are a part of enforcing the peace; or if we are playing a part in removing a dictator from power.

When all of this started, the first thing I thought of was: “When was the last time anyone heard of Moammar Gadhafi?”

I mean, about a decade ago you couldn’t pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news without seeing his face. He was probably the best-known “world villain”. He was Osama bin Laden before we knew who Osama bin Laden was.

Then, in some strange way, he disappeared from the world stage. We didn’t hear about him and he didn’t appear to be causing anyone any problems. We moved on to other villains, and Gadhafi slipped into that part of history along with Idi Amin and Pol Pot and others.

Then, suddenly, he reappeared.

And, no matter what you want to call it – we went to war.

So, we have Americans in danger in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya; we are monitoring the situation in North Korea; there are Naval ships off of the shores of Japan while the cleanup from the earthquake and tsunami begins under the shadow of a nuclear nightmare.

Maybe there should be a limit on the number of places our soldiers can be in danger at one time.

But the bigger issue here is the transformation of our world in terms of leadership and direction.

Starting with the situation in Egypt, where people used social networks to develop and fuel a revolution that removed a leader in power; that sense of individuals rising up and taking control of their governments and their lives continues to spread.

It’s even happening here, as state capitals in states like Indiana and Wisconsin where citizens are taking the opportunity to travel to see their lawmakers face to face and express their concerns and objections. More and more people are beginning to again discover the concept of “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”; and they are seeing that if they are going to experience change for the better; then it is up to them to be the catalyst for that change.

Let’s just pray that those same citizens of those countries will see the value of peaceable transition; and keep the violence at a minimum.

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We’re now into a month of the Democrats in Indiana camping out over in Illinois, basically shutting down the Indiana Legislature.

With Republicans at work in Indianapolis and Democrats at work in Illinois, the true losers in all of this are the citizens of our state – you and me.

Now, before you start throwing political party rhetoric around, I think everyone needs to come to the conclusion that solving this issue goes well beyond political party affiliation.

This is a state session that requires our legislature to adopt a state budget, having a month of political shutdown isn’t getting us towards a resolution or a budge anytime soon.

You can agree or disagree on the Democrats leaving the state, but it’s bringing everything to a standstill.

If this is going to be a conflict where one party or the other is determined to be a “winner”, then we all need to face the fact that we are going to be the losers.

Personally, I don’t understand why the minority party has left the state. I mean, I understand why they left Indiana – I don’t understand why they left the statehouse.

True, Democrats are in the minority, but if the party, to a person, believes that things are truly not in the best interest of the citizens of this state, then I believe that politically the best thing to do is to come back and vote as a block on those vital issues, and then “go public” and say, in essence, “We did all we could, but we couldn’t stop it. If it causes you as a citizen a problem, then it’s obvious who did this to you.”

For Republicans, they are the majority party in the state legislature for a reason – Indiana citizens voted them into power. When you advance an agenda and the voters embrace it, then you have a mandate to see that agenda through.

The point of contention is, however: was the Republican majority widening in the legislature a result of their platform, or was it a matter of voting against something rather that voting for something else?

Psychologically, every so often voters like change for the sake of change. Voters switch back and forth between parties, putting different parties in power at different levels. We elect a Democrat President; then a Republican-controlled legislative branch.

We are a people who like and seek balance.

But what we cannot afford to do is to judge our current legislature and our current leadership from the aspect of political party politics – but instead on our belief as a citizenry on what direction we want our country to move.

No, we’re not burning buildings and taking over the main square of the capital city; but the events going on around the world should remind us that ultimately this is our government and our country, and we need to continue to realize and appreciate our role in moving it forward.