ALLAN JEFFERYS: Appeasers: Explaining-Away of Evil Is Ruining America
My previous column hopscotched around things that bother us conservatives. This one zeroes in on a specific: those who believe you get more flies with honey than vinegar.
I think you get more with a fly swatter.
Although human nature has not changed much since Cain slew Abel, the world is still permeated with appeasers, rehabilitators and advocates of minimal or no punishment for evil deeds. This flies in the face of empirical evidence that says none of that works.
Neville Chamberlain was perhaps the most famous of the appeasers. He took pride in working things out with Adolph Hitler in the late '30s. How long did that Munich Agreement last? Check the dates for World War II.
So much for appeasement.
Recently, a Vermont judge decided 60 days was enough punishment for a child molester. Sixty DAYS? Why not 60 years? And, of course, we have our own local example of a wrist slap for someone who strangled his wife.
What ails these judges? Does the Vermont crackpot really think "treatment" is going to rehabilitate the molester? Can anyone cite an example of "treatment" protecting future child victims? Or don't children have any rights?
The Eighth Amendment to our Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishments." But who is to say what is cruel? I prefer the approach of Joe Arpaio.
He's that Arizona tough-guy sheriff whose prison has banned coffee, smoking, and porno magazines. He has removed the weightlifting equipment and cut off all but G-rated movies. He keeps prisoners in tents and makes them wear pink boxer shorts. When they complain, Joe points to soldiers in Iraq who are in even hotter tents wearing full battle gear. The sheriff's suggestion to those prisoners who wail about their plight: "This isn't the Ritz-Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."
Let's send all child molesters to Joe Arpaio.
Then there's Australian Prime Minister John Howard's caveat to Muslims living Down Under: "We want them to understand our history and our culture, the extent to which we believe in mateship and giving another person a fair go, and basically if people don't want to support and accept and adopt and teach Australian values, then they should clear off."
Isn't it time we took a lesson from the sheriff and the prime minister? Isn't it time we stopped mollycoddling the criminals? If the Australians are big on giving people a "fair go," so are we.
Emma Lazarus described our feeling perfectly when she wrote, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." We have long opened the golden door to immigrants who contributed to our melting pot. At first, the Irish, the Jews, the Italians, then people from all parts of the earth, came to us and learned our language, learned our laws and worked to become a part of our dream. They helped build this nation.
They became Americans.
Why now must everyone be hyphenated? Why must we teach in their language? Why must we adopt their ways? What benefits generations of immigrants helped define and create, members of this new crowd demand as their rights. And Uncle Sucker opens his wallet.
Must the American dream be torn down by appeasers and super-lenient liberals? When are we going to stand up and take back our country? When are we going to face the judges who think 60-day sentences for horrendous crimes are OK? When are we going to demand that these judges get off the bench?
It sounds so decent and charitable to excuse criminals and call them victims. How Christian and self-satisfied we can become if we only turn a blind eye to evil and pretend that it doesn't exist. If we praise the recovered drug addict, do we not send the message that it's OK to experiment with dope? You can always kick the habit and be praised.
How about a little praise for the youth who never experiments? How about some applause for the person who struggles to climb out of a poor beginning? How about a cheer for those who rise above prejudice and poverty or growing up with only a single parent or winning out on all the other excuses for getting into trouble.
Must we always hand out light sentences for child molesting, calling the molester a victim of a bad childhood, inadequate toilet training or lack of opportunity?
"It's not my fault," the molesters whine. Of course not. It's never their fault. Whose fault is it? The child who was molested?
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic and entertainment editor, lives in Pinehurst. He has written two novels.
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