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Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2002/ 17 Shevat, 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

State of the Union: Declaring War against 'Enronistas'

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- WASHINGTON | Thank you. Mr. Speaker, thank you. Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, distinguished members of the Congress, honored guests and fellow citizens:

Today marks my first State of the Union address to you - a constitutional duty as old as our republic. It seems appropriate to begin with what's been on all our minds these past several months: the cowardly attack on America's heart that has precipitated our current war.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: This war will not be over in a week, a month or even a year. This is going to be a long, long war. It may last two years or five years. That is because in this war, we do not fight a nation or a people. Instead, we are fighting against Evil and Greed.

Before I proceed, let's be clear. We are not at war against all capitalists. Most capitalists are good, G-d-fearing people, which is not to suggest, I hasten to add, that there aren't many perfectly lovely secular humanists who are marvelous capitalists, too. We are a diverse people, as no one needs reminding, and we embrace all capitalists, regardless of race, creed or immigration status.

As I was saying, most capitalists, give or take a prayer, are at their core just like you and me. They believe in personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and hard work. They believe in playing by the rules.

To the mainstream capitalist, many of whom I count as close friends, we say, hugs and hail fellow. To the fringe capitalist, who has brought so much sorrow and pain upon so many fellow Americans, we say, justice.

Let there be no doubt: We will not tolerate these radical capitalists, who practice a fringe form of capitalism - a fringe economic theory that perverts the peaceful, fun-loving, awesome free-market economy that keeps us all happily distracted from such unpleasantness as that dreadful ongoing business in the Middle East.

These fanatical capitalists care about no one but themselves and define their lives by materialistic excess. They're users and abusers, and if the check's gonna bounce, we gonna trounce. Oh, drat, terribly sorry, that was apparently someone's idea of a joke at TelePrompTer headquarters. Ha ah, ahem, well, as I was saying These fanatics befoul the spirit of Adam Smith and distort the soul of laissez-faire capitalism to justify their own selfish ends.

We will not forget their indecent treatment of employees. We will not forget people like Homer Gustafsen, one of the many hardworking Americans who sweated in the bowels of Enron's palatial headquarters to feed his family and educate his children, all the while saving for his and his beloved wife's golden years, only now to find himself dead broke and heartbroken. Homer? Would you mind standing for just a moment? (Applause).

Homer Gustafsen, ladies and gentlemen, and his lovely wife, Gertrude. Real Americans, real capitalists. Thank you, Homer and Gertrude, thank you.

Evil, my fellow Americans, evil is what drove Enron's evildoers to such dastardly extremes. They will not get away with it because, let me be perfectly clear: To the extent that such greed-grabbing evil invites greater government scrutiny and, thus, greater government control, they are enemies of freedom. For this they will pay the ultimate price. Justice will be done.

This group and its leader - excuse me, my fellow Americans, I seem to have lost my place. Pssst, Ari, what was his name? Oh, yes, its leader, a person I've only met casually named Kenneth Lay - are linked to many other organizations, but not the U.S. government, let me quickly add. We will seek them out, too.

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command - every means of accounting, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence and every last inch of Scotch Tape if that's what it takes to reveal and defeat the freedom-haters among us.

Our nation has been put on notice: We are not immune from corruption. But we will not yield until we have restored integrity to our capitalist system and faith in our free markets. Let me close by urging you to continue to spend lavishly, both to stimulate the economy and to bolster your own consumer confidence. To do otherwise, my friends, is to let the Enronistas win. Thank you, and God bless America.


JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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