belief. No matter how passionate you are about doing what you believe
in, someone will be ready to jump all over you for doing what you feel
the need to do. And no matter what happens as a result of your
actions, which were only set into motion because of your
impossible-to-shake beliefs, someone is sure to condemn you for those
results if they did not and do not happen to agree with your beliefs.
So if anyone is looking for total support from the public for doing
what they believe in, you can forget that right now. There will NEVER
be total support until and unless we are all on the same page.
Right now, however, there are so many “pages” that even those who live
in the same country, under the same president or leader, and share the
same desires (whether peace on earth, good will toward men, economic
stability, or free healthcare for all) have different views about how
to go about achieving those goals. Even if they all take the
unshakeable stand that they are not willing to achieve their goals at
the cost of everyone giving up their liberty to some self-appointed
dictator, the hows and whys of going about it will still differ
greatly among them.
So, again, no matter what you believe in, someone will criticize you for it.
Why is that so hard to understand? Why is it shocking or disturbing to
“discover” that everyone does not agree with the “official” stand of
this government, or even with the alternative unofficial stand of
those standing up to the government? And why is it so hard to
understand that the thoughts of leaders of other countries believe in
how they wish to lead their people at least as much as those in this
country believe in what they are doing in that regard?
It seems to me that we — the people of the world, not just the people
of this country — have set up a “nobody-can-really-win” situation
whereby we are all quick to criticize what we have, to condemn the way
the governments are running their countries, and to start wars at the
drop of an instigation. “Sure,” I can hear people say, “and if we
DIDN’T criticize, condemn and position ourselves to be ready to go to
war, we’d be criticized for that, too!” My point exactly.
Perhaps the world is not in the worst shape of its existence since
recorded history, but I can’t say. However, it does seem as though
it’s not anywhere near being in the best shape of its existence. Some,
however, might go as far as to take a “page” from the notebook of
Charles Dickens and say, “it is the best of times and the worst of
times.” Would they be right or wrong?
Every person can only view their own country through the eyes of how
what they see coincides with how they wish it would be. If one batch
of people wishes more freedom from government control, but another
batch of people with differing viewpoints think government has already
gone too far in “allowing” certain people certain rights, and needs to
install even more restrictions, the scene is already set for the kind
of clash that makes for enmity between the government and its people.
Some government officials, from the main leader on down, do not
particularly care what the people think: they claim to be in charge
and they will make the rules and run the country the way they want to,
as they see fit. That sounds about right to them. After all, they are
the ones in charge, whether elected or appointed, or even
self-appointed, as the case may be. (Which reminds me of a Ziggy
cartoon that I saw a long time ago… Ziggy was standing on the street
as a police car went by, and was focusing on the words painted on the
side of the vehicle: We’re cops and you’re not! That said it all.)
Usually such countries are under dictatorship already, if not heading
that way. It doesn’t matter how much people complain or criticize
about how they are being governed in some countries, but in a
dictatorship or under the rule of a tyrant, if you don’t like it and
dare to say so, you are either very, very brave, or very, very
ignorant (that is, if you value your life).
We might wonder why people stay in countries where they aren’t more
free. We might wonder why people stay in countries where they are not
happy. Well, I can always suggest that those who might wonder just ask
around, since there are many in this country who feel we are not free
enough, and many who are not happy with any administration or
politician or law or restriction placed upon us. And yet they would
However, while we are free to protest what we don’t like in this
country, if we go about it in the right way and don’t blatantly break
any legitimate laws, we are still subject to the consequences of our
acts if they don’t work out exactly as we had planned. But even then,
we can rally public opinion or support to our side if our cause is
worthy enough and we can get a particular person or organization to
speak out on our behalf.
And so goes the United States of America. A land we can love and still
be free to hate, if we are so inclined, without wondering if someone
will come and take us away in the night to make an example of us to
the rest of the community, state or nation. Even then, if there are
such situations in which someone “disappears” and/or turns up in a
nonliving state, those who are involved in that situation in any way
are still free to pursue the perpetrators or the cause for such an
outcome. Try doing that in a dictatorship.
So while there may be many things that cause people in this country to
complain or to criticize their government, the good news is that they
can. And the even better news is that as long as we have our founding
documents whereby we get to choose new leaders and new politicians on
a regular basis, we get to have a major say in our government, no
matter what other countries may think of us or say about us.
So, in defense of terrorists and tyrants everywhere, let me say that
they are really just people who want their own way — and they
obviously know how to get it. Yet if they could REALLY understand the
price they are paying for the outcome they want, and what that
particular outcome REALLY means to the whole world, they would most
likely never choose that path in the first place, especially since
what they do to others can just as easily come around and be done to
* * * * *
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.