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Where is your sense of outrage? BY BERNARD RAPOPORT As I received the notice from the Waco Tribune-Herald that it was time for my column, I became a bit dismayed. Nothing seemed to be eating on me. Throughout most of my years, every day I seem to awaken with a revolting kind of discontent always rebelling against one thing or another. All of a sudden, on this particular day, my soul didn’t seem to be stirring. I contemplated for a moment and remembered that protect your name \(there is a price one cannot pay for \(meaning that learning is a continuous and never-ending injustice \(Don’t accept things as they are. Be a leader, It was on this particular day that things had gone well, but something was missing. Where was my sense of outrage? Did I look at the world and see everything coming up roses? It appeared the Berlin Wall was coming down. Hungary was grasping for freedom, and Poland had overturned the communist government. Things, indeed, were looking up. The cause of freedom once again manifested that it could be contained for a moment but not much longer. Yes, freedom would always win, but only so long as mankind was willing to pay a price. Sometimes the price was, indeed, very dear. Those who make a difference in the world are those who have a cause. I have always wanted to be one who would make a difference. On this particular morning I awoke and realized I had no cause. Then I was shaken because I remembered that William James had said, “The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.” Of course, he implied we must all have causes, at least for those of us who want to try to be “good.” But those who simply exist in the world make no contribution one way or another. It is the select few who have that cause in which they believe and to which they devote themselves and for which they become advocates. Yes, one should always have a cause. On the other hand, a word of caution. Sean O’Casey warned those who were overly zealous, “Be brave, be brave, be brave. But don’t be too brave, for too much bravery leads to bravado.” In Waco there are so many “good men and women.” Whether it is a park, a zoo, a symphony, a Hippodrome, a Caritas, a Boys Club, a church or a synagogue, each exists generally because one or two people make it their cause. People not only can, but do make the difference. Perhaps on this particular morning, I was in a state of ennui. Complacent. Bored. Willing to accept what is. I didn’t stay there very long; I opened my eyes and began to reflect about the state of the world. I quickly concluded that my problem was not that there were not enough causes, but simply I had not selected my cause for that day. I made up my mind to address a particular one. I did so I gave it attention. I made some contribution toward ameliorating the conditions which would improve that particular situation, and I felt better at the end of the day. I wish I had more days where I could have that good feeling. Each day I live, I am persuaded more than ever that the test of one’s character is not only his or her willingness to adopt causes, but equally important is the quality of the cause. One must always be restrained, however, and be conscious of Emerson’s admonition: “Character is that which can do without success.” I began by telling you about the day nothing seemed to be eating at me. Today the opposite is true. As I write, one of the headlines is “Pay RaiseEthics Bill Passes.” Our elected representatives in both houses of Congress have monstrously demonstrated their disdain for the cause for which they were elected. The “cause” of service to the nation is dwarfed by the apparent commitment of the member to being re-elected to an increasingly plush position. It’s not the raise that is irritating; it is the phony cosmetics that were used, such as the word “ethics” to justify a serf-serving “cause.” The crumbling of communism or more accurately of Marxism is best affirmed when one understand that the basic tenet of Marxism was that the ends justified any means. History reveals one indisputable fact the ends do not justify any means. In face, the means determine the ends. Those who become zealots in a particular cause need to be forewarned that no matter how noble the cause, how you defend or pursue it is all-important. The motivation for these few paragraphs is the revulsion I feel at the actions of so many in pursuit of what they deem to be a “worthy cause,” yet which they profane with egregious actions. It may take a little longer, but good causes are worth the extra effort. Reprinted with permission from the December 6, 1989 edition of the Waco Tribune-Herald. American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. SOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 76703, 617.772-3060 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer 20 DECEMBER 15, 1989