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Thursday, January 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 77

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Start ‘decade of nothing' with MYOB

Margaret Mitchell

I usually like to start the semester with a kind of "welcome back" sort of thing, but I think that maybe it's time for a little "out with the old and in with the new," the new being a new attitude ... and it's called Mind Your Own Business.

This decade, the decade of nothing (‘00), has gotten off to a rousing start with people who just cannot seem to MYOB. Only 20 days into the new century, many people are already out there trying to get their 15 seconds of fame, pontificating about issues that are none of their damned business. For example:

Elian Gonzalez. Can someone please explain to me how half of Miami and several of the current candidates for elected office managed to create such a mess over a six-year-old boy, and why it is any of their business?

Everybody knows that a child belongs with a parent unless that parent is for some reason unfit. This is not only what the law and courts have said, but it's the right thing. The fact that a parent lives in a country ruled by someone you personally hate with every fiber of your being does not make a parent unfit. Sending the boy back to Cuba is not "sending him back to Castro" unless Elian's new living arrangements are to be in the spare room of the presidential palace and Mr. Castro becomes "Uncle Fidel."

Not only should the boy go back to his father, but he should immediately be taken away from those bloodsucking relatives who parade him constantly in front of the TV cameras.

Next: NAACP vs. South Carolina. What's the issue here? It depends on who you ask. The NAACP says it's about removing a symbol of slavery and South Carolina says it's about their right to fly any flag they please over their own state capital.

Is the Confederate flag a racist symbol or not? I don't think it matters. Racism, like beauty, ugliness, sexual harassment or stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. If you believe it is racist, so be it; if you don't think it's racist, so be it; if you are a racist and fly it proudly, so be it. But the issue isn't which opinion is "right" or "wrong," it's about who makes the decision.

What I find so interesting about this situation is that what the NAACP is doing is a good illustration of the reason the Confederate flag came into being in the first place.

Think about it: Why did the Civil War take place? Slavery? Well, sort of. The core issue to the Confederates in the South was states' rights; they seceded because the "Union" government made a decision that directly affected their lives and then demanded compliance with that decision.

Looking at it from a personal standpoint, if you were in a relationship with someone who only did what he or she wanted to do, who insisted that everything be "my way or the highway," and if you didn't go along, he or she would make your life miserable until you did, would you stay with that person?

This country was founded on the principle that we should be free to make our own decisions. The pilgrims left England for the freedom to live as they saw fit. The American Revolution was fought because England insisted on telling the colonists what to do.

The NAACP's role should be to support state-initiated actions, but they have no business creating the action themselves. It is also totally inappropriate for them to make decisions for the state by issuing threats of "do what we say, or else." Some survey claims that 60 percent of South Carolinians say the Confederate flag should go. If that's true, then those people, and no one else, need to be the ones to force the issue. Anything to the contrary is tyranny, so MYOB.

Mitchell, a junior political science major, 
can be reached at smeggie37@compuserve.com.
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