W, Winkie and World War III

Ryan Houk

Once again this week, I sat down with my friend J.D. so we could shoot the breeze and I could brainstorm ideas for my column. Six hours and quite a bit of coffee later, the only conclusion we had reached was that Dynasty Warriors 5 is a great video game.

Unfortunately, I am not a video game reviewer, so it looks like I must, begrudgingly, turn to my least favorite source of inspiration: the actual news.

The president said a cuss word. Perish the thought. And for two days, everyone acted as if it was the biggest snafu of his presidential tenure. We’re talking about a man who has a 365-day calendar dedicated to the inane statements with which he randomly marvels us. We’re talking about a man who referred to his last State of the Union address as “whatever you call it.” Is cussing such a stain on his appeal?

If anyone should be sweating our president’s candid moment, it’s Tony Blair. In the half-minute clip CNN so thoroughly showed us, Britain’s prime minister comes off looking like a tongue-tied “Yes” man with an accent. Bush, on the other hand, finally seems as if he has some semblance of character.

I don’t know what the opinion polls are saying, but for the first time in his term, I almost started to like the guy. Now if we can just get him to stop this stem cell-research vetoing (expletive), we might be okay.

Next, we turn to Tennessee, where Winkie the Asian elephant is in hot water for killing one of her trainers and injuring another. Winkie –who has a reputation for being a “dangerous elephant” — was actually transferred from her former zoo because she had injured trainers there, so it’s not like they didn’t see it coming. Currently, there are no plans to euthanize her, and zoo officials are deciding how best to handle the problem.

I’m glad they chose not to kill her. It’s not Winkie’s fault that — despite hints that she’s not so people-friendly — people keep giving her the opportunity to injure them. She’s just trying to be an out-of-work circus elephant the best way she knows how.

Maybe Winkie’s here to teach us all a lesson. Maybe she’s here to teach us that some things are too big for people to control, and interference isn’t always the best option.

Take this Israel/Hezbollah thing. Despite our president’s humorous claim that all we have to do is get them to stop fighting, there is no end in sight for any Middle Eastern conflict. War has followed the nation of Israel like a lost puppy for as long as history can remember. It’s kind of like the headache that comes with the hangover; it’s unavoidable. And for the first time in a long time, I actually agree with two-thirds of the country. The United States needs to stay out of it.

I know Israel is considered a national ally, and I’m sure — at least, I’d like to think — our government has a good reason for that. But there’s no way this conflict can become the World War III most people fear if the world doesn’t get involved. For no other reason than that, we should just let the kids fight over the sandbox and mind our own business.

If our newly R-rated president feels an overwhelming need to fix a conflict, he should solve the gas problem.

Ryan Houk is a junior English major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].