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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Single-issue politics fails to serve nation’s interest by Bernard Rapoport This essay first appeared in the Dec. 15, 1983 edition of the Waco Tribune-Herald. Reprinted by permission. Americans will be selecting a president in 1984 and the results will have a significant impact on the direction of the United States. The question is: how seriously do we as Americans assess this responsibility? What brings this to mind is the recent Grenada incident. I have no intention of discussing the merits of the Grenada invasion, but rather to view with alarm that the polls indicated a dramatic shift in the public’s opinion of the president as a result. Again, my purpose is not to criticize or be patronizing of the president, but to point out that one action is not sufficient enough to judge any president. Immediately prior to the Grenada incident, Reagan’s popularity was at a low ebb. Why? One would have to assume that the American.people, after observing him for almost three years, concluded that his philosophy of government was not -consonant with theirs. In the history of America, 10 years from now Grenada may be only a footnote. Yet, it changed the perception of the American people vis-a-vis Reagan overnight. To me, this is frightening. Please take into account that this column is neither pronor anti-Reagan, although I’m sure my views on the subject are well known. It is to lament that the volatility of public opinion with such wide swings involving one Grenada is basis for serious concern relative to Americans understanding both the responsibilities as well as the opportunities afforded by our political democracy. Murray Edelman, a university professor, must have had this in mind when he said: “Political history is largely an account of mass violence and of the expenditure of vast resources to cope with mythical fears and hopes. At the same time, large groups of people remain quiescent under noxiously oppressive conditions and sometimes passionately defend the very social institutions that deprive or degrade them. “Unprincipled politicians have since the beginning of time attempted, and in many cases successfully, to obscure the primary problems besetting their political domain in raising these mythical fears.” For example, I think that most Americans, when they are reflective, recognize that America’s most serious problem is the fact that there are 10 or 12 million who would like to have jobs and can’t find them. In early November, the headline in the Waco newspaper said that one of the firms in our community was laying off 200 people. Imagine the fear, the trepidation, the frustration in that particular individual who needs and wants to work and is told that he or she is no longer employed. Interestingly enough, none of either the Democratic or Republican candidates for president are focusing on this issue. What they talk about in too many instances is not dictated by what is really good for America in the long run, but rather by the single issue which concerns the particular group which they are addressing. Most of these single issues are just the private emotional prejudices of the person or the group holding a particular point of view. Take gun control as an example. Assume there are two candidates one for gun control and the other against. There are too many of us that would vote for a candidate solely on the candidate’s posture on this issue rather than evaluate what his or her positions were relative to foreign or domestic programs. It seems to me that we must approach our responsibility as citizens in a similar manner as we do to the state of our physical well being. To be healthy, we must have equal concern for the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, etc. If we concentrated on only one organ and ignored the rest, we would be seriously jeopardizing our health. Similarly, those who engage in single-issue politics commit the same error. If we had true statesmen as candidates, they would not even allude to these single issues. They would get on with developing a national policy that would ensure continued economic growth in an increasing equitable society. This is the sure way to guarantee that this precious democracy of ours will prevail throughout the ages. We had better get started on this course now, or as Shakespeare reminds us: “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune; omitted, oh the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” Aliff e, American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. BOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 78703, 817-772-3050 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23