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Things fall apart when the center cannot hold

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I'll start with another quote. It's from Google and expresses the meaning intended by Yeats way back in 1919. “It means chaos is descending upon the world; the forces that should bring order are failing to do so … and if it doesn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you may, in fact, be dead.”

I am not dead, but I am 91 years old and have an awareness of the past bloody century that most of you do not share. It was the bloodiest century in the history of man; but unless we profit from past experiences they, unfortunately, may even be exceeded in Century 21.

Let me first suggest you forget for the moment the popular use of right and left to describe political thought. It really conceals a rather frightful fact. A circle is far more descriptive and as you go around in either direction you will encounter the extremes of left and right and find they are equally the total denial of the rights of man as described in our Constitution. The best examples being the Nazi Party (full name The National Socialist German Workers Party) and the Soviet Union Communist Party (creators of The USSR (full name Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). They were both brutal dictatorships and you may notice that each used the word socialist. We fought a bloody WW2 against one and a long cold war against the other.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to take a quick journey through some of their wonderful contributions to mankind. As you accompany me on this abbreviated set of events please remember I was aware, I observed and served our country through most of the last century. Some events occurred when I was very young but they appeared on Pathe News when I paid a nickel to watch a movie. Maybe an example or two would help establish my bona fides. I remember when Haile Selassie left the League of Nations after they failed to help him resist Mussolini, when the Japanese bombed Shanghai, the sinking of the USS Panay, communist firing squads shooting Russian Kulak (land-owning farmers) that were resisting being sent to communes. These instances and many others have affected my entire life. Let's proceed.

For starters let's mention a few events courtesy of the far right. The Holocaust is paramount; the murder of over 6 million Jews and others deemed undesirable (perhaps deplorable). First to unleash total war waged with indiscriminate aerial assaults. They also treated Slavs as subhuman. At the same time, the Japanese committed gross brutalities such as the rape of Nanking and the employment of thought police. Skipping on to the era of the McCarthy hearings: My wife and I attended some of these in the old Senate chambers while on leave visiting Washington, D.C.

At that time America was reacting to the theft of atomic secrets and growing recognition of the threat posed by the Soviets. I think the far right was in full swing but the rule of law, through due process, finally carried the day to the sanity of our Constitution and the middle way. I think the far right has been reasonably controlled since then. The skinheads, KKK and militia and their ilk have never posed a significant threat. Make no mistake the elements of far-right extremism are out there waiting for a chance. They are part of all populations as power is always being sought.

Today's concern is more focused upon elements of the extreme left. It's their day to instigate and agitate as they seek power. There is a long history of extreme socialism; let's just mention a few. Chairman Mao was a real master at remaking a society. For starters consider the program of “let a Thousand Blossoms Bloom.” Once they were identified by blooming they were eradicated. That was only the start. He wanted to create the Chinese industry so they made the “Great Leap Forward." Everyone had to make steel in backyard furnaces. Hey, I'm serious here. The steel was useless but was created by stopping farming and millions starved! Next, the Cultural Revolution. It resulted in utter chaos imprisonment, death, and all the usual results of some nutty program which was really only instituted to maintain control over the rank and file citizenry. One cannot forget 1989 and the Tienanmen Square massacre. Currently, his successors have imprisoned the entire Islamic Uighur population of the Xinjiang Region. Over a million are in real concentration camps getting “reeducated.” I guess they are considered deplorable. Currently, China is encroaching upon the liberties enjoyed by Hong Cong.

I'll spare you Cuba and Venezuela. Most everyone is aware of their great accomplishments.

Here is what I think. We are throwing rocks and insults at one another to no avail. The hardcore opinions, be they liberal or conservative, will not be changed by any argument. It's up to the center to hold to our Constitution and resist the drastic programs being espoused. Do you really think we can implement the green revolution without creating our own version of a Great Leap Forward? Can health care for all, a la the Federal government, be instituted without a version of the Cultural Revolution?

Can't you see the blood on the street when all fossil fuel and even cows are outlawed? Join me. Get and always carry a copy of the Bill of Rights. Use it to evaluate grand schemes and extreme proposals. Bring it out during civil discussions with friends and neighbors. As an example ask how one can support sanctuary cities and also believe in the rule of law. Finally, let me outline the history of one great urgent source of fear. It started in the '70s with fear of the coming Ice age. Then that became global warming. After major advocates got froze in place on a boat in the Antarctic, global warming became climate change. All this is to induce fear so citizens will accept government control to their detriment. The political extremes are always merely a means of gaining power. It every instance the little man, Mr. and Mrs. middle class, will get screwed!

Our Constitution divides power. It recognizes the greed commonly found in mankind throughout the ages and provides a way for you and me to enjoy rights given by our Lord; not some politician. Set your personal compass on true north which is our Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Some folks think it's a nuisance and would make drastic changes or ignore it. We must not let this happen; our republic is at risk! In some eyes I may be a senile white toxic male, a deplorable person, a racist, a homophobe and whatever; but I love and believe in my God, and my Country and will defend the Constitution 'till my dying day.

We are the Center; we must hold!

— Retired Col. Ed Sperry, U.S. Air Force, Corvallis


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