by Uwe Siemon-Netto
Evenings in front of the TV have never been my idea of merriment, but in these trying days they seem unavoidable. So here I sit listening to America’s media stars interviewing each other, an annoying substitute for real journalism.
Watching TV has become a trifle less time-consuming since all liberal presenters kowtow President Obama with such embarrassing conformity that I have found it pointless to listen to them. My dilemma is that those posing as conservatives, for example Lou Dobbs of CNN, make my Lutheran blood boil almost as much.
As a Lutheran I believe that in our diverse vocations, which include journalism, we must serve our neighbors out of love; in so doing we render the highest possible service to God.
Now if I belonged to the tiny minority of TV personalities not in lockstep with the new administration what would I focus on? I suppose I would first and foremost express my concern for my weakest neighbors, unborn children, who since the ascent to power of a relentlessly “pro-choice” new President are in graver danger than ever.
But guess what? The fate of millions of babies is far from being the top hot-button issue of Obama’s opponents in the media. Instead they fluster about endangered Second Amendment rights. I admit that as a foreigner I see this insistence on the right to bear arms as an American idiosyncrasy comparable to the Chinese obsession with sucking ducks’ feet. Thus insensitive to this particular topic, I will not opine about it other than to say that it must surely be secondary to an unborn infant’s right to live.
Then there is the media’s recurring whine about how bad everybody else is, particularly Mexico, which is habitually portrayed as being unwilling or incompetent to get its gang violence under control, a menace now spilling across the border into the United States.
Now, I accept that some of these media complaints are valid, but so is surely the Mexican rejoinder that if it weren’t for junkies and narcotics dealers in the U.S., Mexican drug gangs would see little merit in killing innocent people and each other down there. Is America, may I ask, not a market-driven society?
Theologically speaking, it seems to me that an old German axiom I learned in boarding school applies here: “How about first sweeping under your own bed?” Speaking as a Lutheran, this too should actually count as a premier act of neighborly love, and therefore a fulfillment of a divine vocation.
Thinking about drug violence, I always wondered about Singapore, a highly developed state without a narcotics problem. Singapore, you see, hangs drug dealers. Singapore is of course an overwhelmingly Chinese city with exotic tastes. Its people do suck ducks’ feet, and they do hang criminals. Could we not learn something from their strange habits, excepting perhaps the more eccentric features of their diet?
I am not 100 percent in favor of capital punishment, especially when not swiftly and justly applied. So let me posit an alternative, which might sound a little harsh but still might qualify as a Lutheran course of loving action.
Way up to the Northwest of this continent, the United States possesses a chain of islands. They are called the Aleutians, whence nobody will ever be able to swim away from. They could be a perfect choice as a latter-day American Australia where you ship people you do not want to have a near your children.
So here’s the deal: We entice the tiny Aleut population with attractive real estate offers to move to friendlier climes, perhaps even to warm Arizona or New Mexico. Then everybody in possession of more than 5 grams of heroin or cocaine is paid a one-way fare to one or the other of those chilly islands.
There, heavily armed instructors will teach drug pushers how to build igloos, kill seals with bows and arrows, harvest the beasts’ blubber, and raise vegetables hydroponically. Then the new settlers will be left to cope with their new environment. Occasionally a C-130 aircraft will fly overhead, dropping “C” rations for nutritional change and pharmaceuticals to be applied by expatriates with medical degrees, of which there will doubtless be some among the new Aleutian residents.
Here is the charm of my proposal: Once housed in the Aleutian Islands, drug peddlers will never again be able to travel to America’s southern border and trade with Mexican drug lords. There will be peace. And who knows? This arrangement could even produce political benefits of the sort theologians must normally remain silent about: NAFTA’s salvation could actually come from an icy island where drug dealers and junkies snuggle up in igloos enjoying the blubber of slain seals.