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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Tears of sadness
mark end of era

Can it be 34 years since the Pecos Enterprise began publishing a daily newspaper? It seems like yesterday I complained to a surveyor that the semi-weekly Enterprise had too little news of things like city council and county commissioners meetings.

About that time, my son David, 14, began delivering the paper early in the morning in anticipation of getting his motorcycle license at 15 and delivering the promised daily after school.

I remember he was a little embarrassed to be photographed with the younger carriers, because he was so much taller. He knelt at the end of the row to minimize the difference. But he never wavered in his desire to use his beloved motorcycle to earn money. I believe we gave him a Kawasaki on his 15th birthday. Now, at 50, he is riding a Harley.

Not long after the paper became a daily in 1970, I joined the staff as Family Page editor and general news reporter. Scared stiff to be roaming the streets and invading business and government offices in pursuit of the truth.

Had it not been for a deep conviction that God sent me here and would be with me in every difficult situation, I couldn’t have been a reporter, nor later managing editor. I do agree with Tim Gallagher, though, about the importance of the daily newspaper.

“No civilization has ever invented a product as wonderful as a daily newspaper,” said the editor of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star in 2003. “All those crooks being caught. All those high school sports heroes honored. All those garage sales advertised. All that information from all those places on this globe.”

While I have fought for more local news coverage in the Enterprise, I recognize that state, national and world news is important as well. As my daughter said, you know that every wire story in the Enterprise is important, because there is not room to put a lot of junk. She much preferred to get her news fix from the slim Enterprise than to wrestle with the thick St. Louis Dispatch. By the way, she also spent part of her young life writing local news for the Enterprise, and is saddened that an era is ending.

We will miss having all the news that’s fit to print in our little paper. Hopefully, though, without the daily deadline hassles, we will be able to spend more time out there where you are, gathering the little tidbits that make up a community newspaper.

We’ll still sit through long, boring commissioner’s meetings; get up with the chickens to cover city council; stay up late with school trustees and keep you up to date on hospital business.

I plan to halfway retire, keeping only my business manager hat and coming in two or three days a week. If you can’t catch me here, drop an email.

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalm 119:71, NIV

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager and webmaster. Contact her at

Give me Iraq for a month and I
will give you back a democracy

Bold words for a one legged fat guy? Maybe. But I could deliver.

One thing I am just as sure of is that democracy in Iraq will be a farce long after I am through walking this earth unless our democracy-minded Iraqi brothers quit listening to their idiot American brothers.

Quit listening?

You bet.

But, you ask, are not we Americans the keepers of democracy? Is not America the shining example of freedom and self-government?

Yep. Unfortunately, over the past 200+ years Americans lost something.

That lost item was known to our grandfathers as common sense.

Anyone with the tiniest bit of common sense would look at our current efforts in Iraq and cry. It seems that we forgot how to start a democracy of free men and we are only capable of teaching such a system of government as though it begins in Medias Res.

I looked that term up the other day and medias res is Latin for starting somewhere in the middle of the story.

While that might be a nice technique for writing a story it is a poor way to go about starting a new nation.

What we seem to have forgotten is that before we signed our Constitution where we all agreed to treat each other a certain way we killed a lot of people.

We killed all of those who opposed us and all of those who spoke in opposition to us and probably those that looked like they were going to oppose us.

Blood was the beginning of our great experiment in self-government.

I suspect that blood must always be the beginning because, unfortunately, all people are not born yearning for some form of democracy and freedom.

What we have accomplished so far in Iraq is to trick a few poor souls into believing that such a democracy can be set up without killing all those that oppose you.

We have done that by acting like the population of Iraq is akin to the combined populations of Kansas and Missouri and that with just a bit of reason and a little law enforcement to catch the really bad guys we can create a democratic country in the middle of the desert.

It is moronic.

It will get all those who ally themselves with us killed and accomplish little else.

Why? Because a constitution is the heart of any form of self-government. It must be.

A constitution is nothing more than a contract. It is a contract between the people that sets forth the basic rules of life for all those that sign that contract. We as American citizens are signatories of our contract.

We act as though our Constitution is a living creature capable of enforcing its divine will on those nearby.

It is not. It is only as strong as those who sign it, and who read it, and understand it, and who believe in it.

Guess what? The Shiite’s are not going to sign the Iraqi contract.

The Tories would not have signed ours if we had just gone and asked. And, when we decided to sign it amongst ourselves and leave them out, they sent the British Army to nullify our little contract.

It was not until all those who opposed a free American state were dead or too scared to speak, that our contract was worth the paper it was printed on.

When you really think about it, the concept is simple. We use contracts in every day life. Two or more people sign them and then we expect those folks to abide by them. If one party does not then the offended party can appeal to the courts.

The whole system works because all the parties at least agree that the courts will be the final solution.

The system would fall apart if after the court decision losing party then began building pipe bombs.

That is what is happening in Iraq and that is what will continue to happen until Hades is cold. Pipe bombs and misery are the future of Iraq unless the freedom-minded people of that country exterminate the rest. During that time period there will be no Constitutional rights to free speech or prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure or guaranteeing a speedy trial. Those are rights reserved to citizens who sign the contract and the Shiite’s and company will never sign.

So arm the good guys. Arm them to the teeth. Give them every type of conventional weapons system we can.

Then black out every electronic transmission leaving Iraq as we pull our boys out.

A month later we can check back in and see if any Iraqi want to create a democracy. If there are, they will have taken the necessary steps so that a constitution can be signed by the people of Iraq that will be useful for something other than mopping up blood.

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