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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday, June 4, 2004

Our View

Dear Grads: The world is still a mess

From the smallest rural college to the most prestigious Ivy League university, graduates fidget while commencement speakers offer time-tested, recycled themes heard for generations.

Grads, you’re the hope of the world.

But the world is still a mess. Earlier graduates haven’t been able to eliminate the mess. Some of them may even have helped cause it.

Like their fathers and grandfathers, today’s seniors will find war very much part of their lives. It was one thing, however, for Cold War superpowers to face each other menacingly with nuclear missiles a generation ago. Now we’re up against stateless, rogue global terrorists driven by fanatical, distorted religious dogma that make yesteryear’s East-West tensions seem wieldy.

Ironically, as the killing spreads, religion is a subtle theme as terrorists target "infidels" and U.S. strategy is driven by President Bush’s faith-based denunciation of "evil."

Graduates also will find the American industrial giant in turmoil. Jobs and industrial production are being lost to foreign economies. America’s global alliances are in tatters.

War isn’t the only failing that graduates will encounter. Weakness of character is afflicting virtually every layer of U.S. society, poisoning even such institutions of virtue as religion and the news media.

Collegians embarking on careers may find temptations to be expedient, cut corners, wink at codes, go along to-get along, compromise honesty--the supposed route to personal riches.

Nothing recent so symbolizes the corruption of character as audio tapes broadcast by CBS television this week of stock traders at Enron, the mother of all corporate cheats, giddily mocking the plight of the elderly as Enron deliberately drove up the price of California electricity to make criminally usurious profits.

Graduates tempted to abandon character should remember images of executives being led away in handcuffs to be fingerprinted en route to prison for corporate fraud.

What will fathers headed for prison say when asked by their children, "Why are you going away, Daddy?"

Will they cheat again with a lie? Or, will they finally level and admit to them as well as themselves, "I’m a crook and I’m going to prison to pay for it."


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.