Saturday, February 6, 2010


(The following was published in the Newsleader on January 22, 2010)

I have had a tradition of watching the Rose Parade for many years. It seems to get better each time I watch. This year was exceptional however. The floats seemed to be more elaborate than ever. The flowers were more beautiful and the artistic use of all things natural was unbelievable. I loved the bands playing the traditional marching music that we all cherish. Even as a child I watched with amazement the pageantry and pomp. I was raised in East Tennessee and the weather was usually cold on January first, not as cold as Minnesota to be sure, but cold none the less. I was always thrilled to see the sunshine in Pasadena, California and how the parade marchers were not bundled up. I hope you got to watch the parade this year.

This column is not necessarily about roses however. No, I want to ask some questions that occurred to me as I watched the spectacle and tradition of the Rose Parade. I was struck by a thought as I watched. I remembered the young terrorist who tried to blow up the airplane over Detroit. Here is a young man with a very privileged upbringing. He was educated in the finest schools in the world. He has been allowed by his wealth to travel. He has seen the best the world has to offer and I suspect he has also seen the poverty as well. And yet with all his privilege, he has become a terrorist killer. What, I asked, caused this kid to suddenly make the decisions he made? What so overwhelmed him that he chose to not only try to kill thousands of innocent people but to kill himself as well? Was it arrogance? Was it religion? Was his life so bereft of simple goodness and compassion that he lost all feeling for humanity?

Here are some thoughts that may explain some of this nonsense. I believe that he and people of his ilk have no concept of life. They could never appreciate the simple beauty of a parade. They could never understand music or poetry. They could never grasp the concept of art. They are so involved with themselves that they cannot understand that other people and their views have just as much right to life as they. The radical blood thirsty killers who have chosen to be our enemies are living in a fantasy world that will soon come crashing down all around them. Individually their miserable little lives will end in horrible fashion. Whether they kill themselves or whether we kill them, they will die in devastating ways. Eventually this whole radical Middle Eastern problem will end and it will not end as the leaders of that movement see it. No it will end in the total destruction of their way of life and thousands of otherwise innocent people will die with them. It is sad but also I believe inevitable.

So how does this all pertain to the Rose Parade? Americans and other free peoples have traditions of life. Our country was shaped by our willingness to appreciate and accept differences in people and in thought. The Rose Parade is made up of many cultures and diverse people sharing their concept of music and beauty with the rest of the world. The result is a thing of beauty. By contrast, the radicals who choose to be our enemy have a tradition of death and despair. They have no tolerance for any view except their own. Their result will be their annihilation. Given the choice, I prefer our way.

Ron Scarbro January 15, 2010

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