Saturday, September 15, 2012
A DIPLOMAT HAS DIED
This morning I listened to former Ambassador Ryan Crocker pay tribute to his friend Chris Stevens, new Ambassador to Libya who has just been killed in mob violence in Benghazi, Libya. Federal Service runs in my family - State Department, Defense, CIA, Management and Budget. In a movie that inspired me back in the 1950s, an Admiral asks aboard his aircraft carrier (it was the Essex) "Where do we get such men?" Chris Stevens was one of our very best; helping execute our foreign policy in Libya, a policy that is helping the Arab world reach for their freedom. Serving in this theater is full of risk. Even as four lives were just lost in the service of our country, U.S. political sharpshooters were on the scene looking for partisan advantage. It is hard not to be discouraged about trends in world events and in national governance. At times like this I think that maybe we have reached a "Tipping Point." Perhaps we have been on a downhill slide for a number of years, such that "The last best hope on earth" offers not much hope anymore. Let's look at some indicators: A Congress unable to pass a budget or agree on a jobs bill and a deficit reduction package. A Supreme Court that has overturned decades of campaign reform with a decision allowing corporate money to flood our elections. A housing collapse brought about by fraudulent lending - banks that hold up their customers! With a global population growing past seven billion inhabitants, we see enormous disparities world-wide in wealth and availability of resources. Shortages of fresh water and food coincide with dozens of conflicts between tribes and nations. And the USA profits from arming all sides in these wars. How will we know when we have fallen from our summit? How do you ask a warrior to be the last to die in an unjust war? There are no answers that are easy or simple. I grew up pledging to a nation with justice and liberty for all. One nation, not divided. I don't see that nation today. I am afraid that we have passed that tipping point already.