Friday, March 28, 2003
They're off and running
A surprisingly good turnout of Carlisle's registered voters, 50 to be exact, was on hand at the annual town caucus on Monday night to name candidates to fill expired town government positions. The majority of those nominated for town offices are running for re-election and are running unopposed, but in contrast to the past several years there are contests for three offices · selectman, library trustee and the three-year term for planning board.
With Town Moderator Sarah Brophy stepping down to spend the next year traveling, former selectman and Mosquito cartoonist Tom Raftery has decided to run for this one-year position.
There are three candidates for two openings on the board of selectmen · incumbent Doug Stevenson, finance committee member Tony Allison and conservation commission assistant Francene Amari-Faulkner.
The position of library trustee has two candidates incumbent Brooke Cragen and council on aging treasurer Ted Read.
For the three-year position on the planning board, a newcomer to town, Dan Schultz, is running against incumbent Dan Holzman.
As reported in the Globe NorthWest section on March 24, there is a trend in neighboring communities, as well as across the nation, which finds voters ignoring local elections and fewer citizens running for elective office. This makes the turnout at Monday night's caucus all the more encouraging. Still, one can't help but recognize that many of the candidates that were nominated are running for re-election and have given generously of their time over the years. But why are so many of these candidates running unopposed? In a democratic society one wishes for opposing views to be voiced and the electorate to have the opportunity to pick what they believe are the best of those views. Let's hope more candidates will come forward in future town elections.
For those who have changed their minds and decided to run in this election, pick up a "Town Nomination Paper" from the Town Hall, obtain 20 signatures from registered Carlisle voters, and return the paper to the town clerk's office by 5 p.m. on March 31.
I had misgivings about writing this column, as the week between its writing and its publication may bring much that shifts the sands of opinion. But it does not feel right to present now, as I had planned, my observations about the Youth Commission and our monthly Friday Night Live events for Carlisle's youth.
My views about the war in Iraq are independent of what happens in the next week or two. For many, this seems not to be so; the justification for the war is based on the expected outcome: victory will be swift, there will be few casualties (among our soldiers and among Iraqi civilians), caches of chemical weapons will be found, and Saddam will be caught or killed. Success will be determined by these same standards.
I fear such a determination of success. I fear it will reinforce the hubris of the hawks advising our president, who will lead us into military adventures less easily "won." This is a far cry from the "humility" that candidate Bush called for in America's dealings with the world.
The destruction of 9/11 need not have also destroyed the value of humility as a national asset. I believe that a thoughtful inquiry into why American power and influence are resented around the world (along with an inquiry into what seems to be concurrent respect and appreciation) need not be viewed as treasonous.
Declaring that terrorists are evil and that we, the good, will root them out wherever they may lie was an immediate emotional response to 9/11. I fear it has become the basis for our foreign policy and that it has been mistakenly applied to Iraq. There are too many evil leaders in the world for us to take them all out, to use our president's terminology.
In the self-righteous attacks on those who tried to use the United Nations as a restraint on overweening American power, let us not lose sight of the many deals with various devils made over the years as we sought to balance the power of the evil empire of the Soviet Union. My point here is not to revisit the sins of our past or suggest we can make no moral claims for action. It is instead to suggest that, as the only remaining global power, we understand worldwide concerns about how we wield it. Seeking to delay or obviate war through diplomacy seems a pretty benign check on our power.
Our power will serve us best (and the world outside our borders, for which the administration now shows such disdain) when we are thoughtful in its use, considerate of the consequences. I fear for the future of Iraq when I look at Afghanistan. As we turn our attention elsewhere, reports are that it is rapidly returning to a lawless land, the women about whom we were briefly so concerned suffer anew, and conditions are again ripe for terrorists to set up shop there.
If we lead by the example of what we are doing in Iraq, we end up in the position of the parent who says, "Do as I say, not as I do." Is it OK for America to reject further diplomacy and invade Iraq because we are strong enough to do so on our own? Do we want a world that gives us the kind of respect that is won through fear · either fear of war or fear of threatened loss of aid if others don't vote with us? Will that kind of respect reduce the threat of terrorism and help bring peace and justice to the world? I fear not.
© 2003 The