Horner: Life has more important things to offer

Dr. Tim Horner

What’s the most important thing in your life right now? Grades? A troubled relationship? Parents? Your weight? A great relationship? Or Weapons of Mass Destruction? No brainer, right?

Why is it that more older people (I proudly count myself one of them) seem to be preoccupied with elections, foreign policy and politics? Is it because we have now grown up and have our lives so organized that we can focus on more abstract ideas? (yawn) I have thought a lot about this because in college, I was completely apathetic about anything outside my reach (for girls who always seemed to be just beyond my grasp). Now I have four kids, a job and mortgage. I am practically dead, non? Is my life sorted out? Do I have nothing better to do than get “involved” in the world of politics? Quite the opposite.

As I have gotten older I have realized that the people who are responsible for shaping our culture and making decisions which affect my life and the future of my kids are just old people like me! When I look closely at them they don’t look magical anymore.

I realize that they make mistakes (sometimes huge ones!) and they do not have some secret recipe for running this country. In some cases they are clueless, childish, and vindictive. This is terrifying to me.

This realization came late in life and it has caused me no end of grief. In the last two years I have watched this country turn in a direction that has lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent people with the toll rising every day. And based on what? Nothing. No, worse than nothing, we were led into war by false information, perhaps even lies.

Now I do not want to sound like some who promise to find WMD (in my case, this means Weapons of Mass Deception) even though there is no smoking gun, but I have realized that this country can turn on a dime if its people do not participate in democracy and apply a healthy dose of skepticism to its leaders.

James Madison, one of the most influential shapers of our government, understood that democracy only works when people make their leaders answer to the words they speak and accountable to the actions they take.

Read the Declaration of Independence if you don’t believe me.

Up until a few years ago, Americans had been pretty good about holding their leaders accountable for an ethical standard of behavior. If a leader did not make good then they were simply not re-elected.

Now it is time to hold our leaders accountable to the words they spoke (even though they try and wiggle free of them) and for every drop of blood spilled (regardless of nationality). Loyalty to a leader should never make us turn a blind eye or suppress our questions.

As a democrat, I could not support Clinton when he lied about having “sex.” And for that bloodless lie he was impeached. How many Republicans can honestly support Bush when we all now know that the scare over WMD and the links to Al-Qaeda have been proved to be nothing more than that: A scare.

It is time for us to put our parties aside and ask the simple question: Did the American people need to be deceived in order to justify the invasion of Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein? Anyway you answer, it is not a pretty picture.