10/15/2001

 

Column Will Seek Solutions

 

As this is the first of a regular column, let me tell you a little about myself. Iíve lived in the Prescott area about 10 years. I came here simply because I like the area and itís a good place for my children to grow up. Previously I lived on the central-coast of California for about 10 years (Yes, Iím one of those transplants.) I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

 

From the age of 17 to my early 20ís I wandered around the country and lived in a variety of places including New Hampshire, Cape Cod, Baltimore, and a few months in Florida and Texas. But I like Prescott and intend to stay. Although, as any working age people who try to move here know, itís a tough area to make it in. In this small, local economy it took years to get a computer consulting business going.

 

These days, though, Iím busy writing software that controls medical equipment invented and developed right here in Prescott, for a company at the leading edge of their specialty. Thatís one aspect of consulting that was always fun, discovering how many unnoticed companies there are that deal mainly with customers outside the area, many doing exceptional things.

 

Iím here to put forward an alternative view, though Iím not a cookie-cutter anything. I sometimes disagree with the typical liberal opinion (sometime Iíll write about affirmative action) but more often I disagree with the typical conservative opinion (as Iíll get to shortly). Some of my opinions are far out and donít fit any box, and you may get a good laugh out of them. Thatís okay too. I hope weíll have some laughs along the way.

 

But then you, the reader, probably donít fit any mold either. Iíve seen numerous polls that show that most Americans are a little conservative on financial issues but a little liberal on environmental and social issues.

 

But regardless of differences of opinion, the most important thing to me is to cut through the rhetoric and find solutions to problems. Some issues are undeniably difficult, but often there is much common ground, and just a few specifics that sincere people disagree on. An example is school vouchers. Reasonable people on both sides want the best education for children but disagree on how to get there.

 

So where to begin with this alternative view? Why, by disagreeing with the editor of course.

 

The editorial of 9/24 took to task a Berkeley, California official whoíd like to put the brakes on a headlong rush to military action. And hereís a good example of finding the specifics of what we do and donít agree on, and of using a constructive approach. I agree that the official took the wrong tack. But I also am glad there are some dissenting voices to make us think twice. If military action is necessary, when the time and target are right, letís do it hard and fast. No half-way stuff, no incremental steps. Hard and fast is the best way to end it quickly with a minimum of damage.

 

But letís be clear about exactly what the goal is for a given military action. Is it necessary? Is it effective? And are there any long term side-effects to foreign relations?

 

And letís not be too quick to criticize ďpeace-niksĒ. For one thing, criticizing someone for advocating peace is something that ought to be done only with considerable thought. Secondly, donít throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some of them may have unrealistic ideas, but there is also some truth to their point that we have made foreign relations mistakes in the past, and have perhaps made more enemies than we needed to. Thatís no justification for terrorist actions. But if one of the tools in securing ourselves against terrorism could be smarter foreign relations, then letís use it. These relations are never clear-cut. Thereís no white-hats and black-hats. Sometimes you have to work with one undesirable group to suppress an even less desirable group. Sometimes that backfires. Sometimes we make the wrong choice. All the more reason to be brutally honest with ourselves about any mistakes weíve made in the past, and learn from them so we have a minimum of enemies in the future, and a maximum of goodwill with other countries to work toward our mutual security.

 

As for approach, I donít want to advocate a ďpolitically correctĒ ban on calling people ďtwitsĒ. Some people are. But I donít think stooping to that in an editorial is helpful.

 

If you have any issues youíd particularly like to see addressed with a ďfind the common groundĒ approach, whether theyíre local or larger, but local people are interested in, let me know. Maybe we can get some constructive dialog going.