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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 19, 2008 / 13 Adar I 5768

Misplaced hope can be dangerous

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Hope is a dangerous thing," says "Red" to "Andy" in the 1994 film "The Shawshank Redemption." Red, played by Morgan Freeman, means that Andy, played by Tim Robbins, risks despair if he hopes to get out of prison.


The sentiment is worth considering when it comes to politics. Can too much trust in a politician also be dangerous and lead to despair, even cynicism? Those old enough to recall the political scene in the '60s when first John F. Kennedy and then his brother, Robert, were assassinated, know the dangers of hope and what can happen when such hope is crushed. In the '60s, crushed hope produced rebellion, even anarchy, along with despair.


Now we're told (by members of the Kennedy family, no less) that Sen. Barack Obama is the reincarnation of the hope that was lost when Jack was murdered in 1963 and Bobby was killed in 1968. And we watch as another generation of the young, informed by their history books and black-and-white film of those days, become disciples of another young and handsome politician with a pretty wife and cute children. Will history repeat? God forbid. But will another generation be disappointed when the one in whom they are placing so much hope cannot possibly deliver?


This is where mature and experienced adults can steady the enthusiasm of the young and inexperienced. The Washington Post Magazine recently carried a cover story by Jeffrey Birnbaum titled "How Lobbyists Always Win: Dispatches from Washington's Relentless Growth Industry." It is a reminder of how, no matter who is president and which party controls government, lobbyists are part of the permanent class and very little can change without their participation and approval. Numerous "reformers" have come to Washington in the past, promising change. As often happens, they don't change Washington; Washington changes them.


One of the Kennedy campaign songs in 1960 was "High Hopes." The original lyrics of the song include the line "He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes." That could describe Barack Obama.


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Hope must be grounded in objective truth otherwise it quickly becomes wishful thinking. I might hope my team wins the championship, but if they lack the talent it isn't going to happen. I might hope to win the lottery, but I don't play and if I did, I'd have better odds of being struck by lightening than taking home the jackpot.


Placing hope in politicians absolves too many of us of our responsibilities. In 1994, when Republicans were on the verge of returning to power in the House for the first time in four decades, one of the books making the rounds was "The Tragedy of American Compassion" by Marvin Olasky. The book traced the history of compassionate behavior and found that most of it came from individuals and religious institutions. The religious institutions offered hope by dedicating themselves to changing the lives of people whose bad choices had put them in need of help. Changed lives produced changed behavior and, thus, changed circumstances, leading to a more hopeful future. Olasky wrote that tragedy occurred when government began to occupy the space once dominated by religious and personal charity, displacing hope and leading to despair.


The "hope" being sold by Obama and his true believers is misplaced. Obama cannot deliver; he cannot save; he cannot improve individual circumstances by redistributing wealth and talking to America's dictatorial enemies. He is selling snake oil.


The writer of the Christian Bible Book of Hebrews says that, "faith is being sure of what we hope forů" (Hebrews 11:1). What we see in Barack Obama is a man with great rhetorical skills, who is untested in battle. Many are projecting their hopes on him because he makes them feel good. What commander would put a low-ranking officer in charge of all troops during wartime? We are close to making Obama our commander in chief with no hint of how he might perform, other than to withdraw troops from Iraq.


A President Obama might be worth the risk in peacetime, but with crafty enemies seeking to destroy us, can we afford to make what might be a fatal mistake by electing someone upon whom too many of us gave projected, ungrounded hope?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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