To the editor:
Carol Whitehead began her excellent June 23 column with: “Where has common sense gone in this country? Remember Peter, Paul and Mary’s song ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’ It’s easy to say greed or racism or ignorance are culprits.”
I well remember “Where have all the flowers gone,” especially the line “When will we ever learn?” As a nation, do we learn? Peter, Paul and Mary, along with many other celebrities, protested the unnecessary war in Vietnam. Did that prevent war profiteering in Iraq some four decades later by the military industrial complex? Do those who say war is necessary join our military and lead our troops into battle, or remain safely out of harm’s way and coffer their profits?
Are greed, racism and ignorance culprits in our national loss of common sense, or is the problem greedy manipulation of ignorant racists? Following the civil rights movement, our country prospered tremendously as the rising economic tide “lifted all boats.” Under and uneducated workers, regardless of race, prospered in unskilled manufacturing jobs until corporations abandoned their workers and our nation for the virtual slave-labor of third-world countries. An independent presidential candidate warned us that bipartisan free-trade agreements would benefit neither the foreign sweat-shop cheap laborers nor the displaced American workers. Who profits from globalization, other than the job movers? Time has proven Ross Perot was right, now hasn’t it?
Mrs. Whitehead wrote: “We have become a divided nation. A nation based on hate, greed, mistrust and fear cannot prosper.” And this is so true! But the greedy can make exorbitant profits by displacing common sense with perpetuation of hate, mistrust and fear. Where has common sense gone? Nowhere in the minds of intellectuals. But common sense has yielded in the minds of ignorant racists to the inflammatory rhetoric of brilliantly tactful radio and TV commentators, who wrap their hate mongering in the figurative flag of patriotism, and the racism they fan the flames of in their claim of being religious.
Robert C. Currie Jr.