Speech on Elian Gonzalez in Washington, D.C., Part 3

by | May 10, 2000

…The kidnapping of Elian, of course, had nothing to do with Elian’s welfare. The motive of the raid was obviously an attempt by Reno to short-circuit Elian’s bid for asylum and to railroad him back to Cuba before he could even have a hearing. She was counting on the fact that a six year old […]

…The kidnapping of Elian, of course, had nothing to do with Elian’s welfare. The motive of the raid was obviously an attempt by Reno to short-circuit Elian’s bid for asylum and to railroad him back to Cuba before he could even have a hearing. She was counting on the fact that a six year old boy could not be expected to understand the distinction between freedom and dictatorship and could not be expected to defy the wishes of his own father. So far, Reno’s treacherous ploy has not succeeded. Tomorrow the court will address the issue of whether Elian or his representatives can make a bid for his asylum.

Let us address a deeper question: why do Clinton and Reno want Elian back in Cuba?

The cynical explanation is that Clinton is being blackmailed by Castro who has threatened to send thousands more Cubans to the U.S. if Elian is not returned — an eventuality which Clinton would view as a political liability. Certainly, Clinton is sufficiently lacking in moral fiber to be quite willing trade Elian’s, or anyone else’s, freedom for political expediency, and Reno may be just helping him out. They may want to send a message to freedom-loving people everywhere: don’t be too anxious to come here — you are a big pain, and we may just send you back!

But I believe there is a deeper and much worse reason for Clinton’s and Reno’s desire to send Elian to slavery: they do not think that dictatorship is all that bad! They seem totally indifferent what would happen to Elian in Cuba, which means they are totally indifferent to the principle of individual rights. For the President and the Attorney General of the United States to be so indifferent to the principle on which our country was founded, the principle which they are sworn to uphold, is a moral disgrace.

It is true that the majority of U.S. citizens, the victims of decades of miseducation by our intellectuals and of press coverage that, on the whole, toes the party line, do not fully understand the issue, but our top leaders, at least, should know better. If they do not, they are not worthy of our admiration or our trust and should be condemned.

If Americans and its leaders cannot grasp our core principles, then they cannot defend them. If they cannot defend them, they will not keep them for long. The Elian case is a litmus test of how far we have come — or sunk. If he is sent back, it will be a betrayal of what we, as a nation, stand for.

Let me conclude with a quote from columnist Cal Thomas,” If this is to be the policy of the U. S. Government, let’s take the torch from Lady Liberty’s hand and replace it with an automatic weapon, cover up the Emma Lazarus poem about sending your tired and poor to our shores and post a ‘no trespassing’ sign instead.”

Speaking for myself, if that happens, I will cry for you America.

Edwin A. Locke is Dean's Professor of Leadership and Motivation Emeritus at the R.H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Behavior, and the Academy of Management. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (Society for I/O Psychology), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Management (OB Division), the J. M. Cattell Award (APS) and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Academy of Management. He, with Gary Latham, has spent over 50 years developing Goal Setting Theory, ranked No. 1 in importance among 73 management theories. He has published over 320 chapters, articles, reviews and notes, and has authored or edited 13 books including (w. Kenner) The Selfish Path to Romance, (w. Latham) New Directions in Goal Setting and Task Performance, and The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators. He is internationally known for his research on motivation, job satisfaction, leadership, and other topics. His website is: EdwinLocke.com

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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