CORRESPONDENCErnLetter From Indianarnby William L. Ishy, Jr.rnBo Gritz and Middle Americarn”You want to go see Bo Gritz burn thernU.N. flag?” My libertarian neighbor Bill,rnduring the l-inal days of the last presidentialrncampaign, was making me an offerrn1 couldn’t refuse. I have always beenrnhalf-frustrated by mv failure to take advantagernof all those radical activities inrnmy college days during the 60’s. Thisrnlooked like a great opportunity to makernup for lost time.rnOn the way down, Bill filled me in onrnthe details. Bo Gritz was running forrnPresident of the United States and speakingrnat the Indianapolis Baptist Temple,rnthe flagship—or at least the most combativern—fundamentalist church in Indianapolis.rnThe church was hosting a conferencernof the American Coalition ofrnUnregistered Churches, a group of congregationsrnthat refuses to register withrnthe IRS in order to avoid governmentalrncontrol of religion.rnBo Gritz, in ease you don’t know him,rnis a lieutenant colonel and former GreenrnBeret. He led an unsuccessful MIA rescuernmission into Southeast Asia andrnhelped negotiate the surrender of survivalistrnRandall Weaver to the variousrnforces that had surrounded his home.rnAccording to Bo, he speaks Chinese andrnSwahili, so he’s no dummy. He’s norncoward either. He claims that the Justicernand State departments told him hernwould spend 15 years in jail if he did notrnforget what he knew about governmentrndrug-trafficking in Burma. He didn’trnand was tried, but acquitted.rnAfter Bill and I arrived, we walked pastrnBo’s “campaign headquarters,” a trailerrnwith a lot of flags. I was encouraged. Afterrnall, a low-budget campaign probablvrnaugured a low-budget government.rnSince I am not a fundamentalist andrnsince we were late, I was rather nervous,rnbut the atmosphere was relaxed. Therernwere children and parents milling freelyrnaround the entrance and even in the auditorium.rnHere at least were people forrnwhom the phrase family values undoubtedlyrnheld some meaning.rnCandidate Gritz had already begunrnhis speech. I was immediately impressedrnby the high level of discourse at this politicalrnrally. Of course, candidate Gritzrnhad his share of cliches. “America is arngreat Christian nation.” “Let’s takernAmerica back.” Best of all was his campaignrnsymbol—a plunger to be used forrnthe removal of federal bureaucraticrnwaste. The audience, which consistedrnmainly of apparently lower-middle-classrnand not highly educated church-goers,rnseemed to follow all of this with a goodrndeal of enthusiasm and interest. It madernme realize how pathetically inept andrnuninformative are our contemporary politicalrnspeeches. Surely the impatience ofrntelevision is the major problem. As if tornprove my point, the TV cameras neverrnentered the church to cover the speech,rnbut waited outside to take a picture ofrnthe flag-burning, the media event.rnI was also confirmed in my belief thatrnRepublican “moderates” are out of touchrnwith the interests of Middle Americans.rnParticulariy striking was the fact that Bo’srnstrongest attacks were made on the veryrnaccomplishments of which Republicansrnhave been most proud. Mentioning thern”great victory” of the Persian Gulf War,rnBo promised that he will not send troopsrnoverseas but will fight for everythingrnwithin the boundaries of the UnitedrnStates. Bo Gritz, to some of the loudestrnapplause of the afternoon, spoke ofrn”world tyranny” and a “Luciferian system.”rnTo the hisses of the audience, hernquoted from Republican speeches advocatingrnthe use of U.N. troops as “preventativernpeacekeeping forces” to maintainrninternal order in all nations andrnpledging allegiance to the “sacred U.N,rncharter.” He then called for our withdrawalrnfrom the UN. Bo’s speech comesrnto mind while I watch our U.N.-controlledrnsoldiers return home in body bagsrnfrom our “humanitarian” mission in Somalia.rnRegarding “free trade” pacts likernNAFTA, he says he is for fair trade becausern”free trade means America on herrnknees licking the foreign hand that feedsrnit.” He wants an America that is self-reliantrnand not dependent on foreignrntrade. (I had a few misgivings at thisrnpoint. Does this mean I have to drinkrnonly California wines? I decided, however,rnnot to raise the question in a Baptistrnchurch.) He stated that “communismrnand free enterprise are belly up” and,rnwith some not so gentle swipes at DavidrnRockefeller, that what we have in Americarnis “corporate fascism.” In contrast tornmy experience of the 60’s, Bo did notrnmean to use the word fascist as a swearrnword for anyone to the right of the SDS;rnrather, he was attempting to use it in arnmanner somewhat equivalent to its originalrnsense, to describe our present systemrnof collusion between the governmentrnand multinational corporations to promoterntheir respective monopolies.rnThese negative reactions to Republicanrnpolicies in international politics andrneconomics represent a crucial value inrnmost Middle Americans’ lives, which Republicanrnmoderates seem only to havernthe vaguest notion of and apparently norntolerance for. Middle Americans are nationalisticrnor, perhaps better put, patriotic.rnWhen Bo Gritz suggested that wernnot send any troops overseas, but ratherrnsell weapons to foreign countries, thernman seated next to me laughed and said,rn”Yeah, and then they can use them to killrneach other.” While I do not think thatrnmost Middle Americans would go so far,rnand while I think my Christian brotherrnwould find his sentiment hard to justifyrnin the light of the faith, it seems clear tornme that most of us in these parts arernconcerned first with what is best for ourrncountry and are strongly suspicious ofrnall these foreign endeavors by ourrngovernment. People generally want tornhelp, but not at the cost of our nationalrnsovereignty or economic health.rnOur native patriotism and even ourrndesire to help can and have been used byrnthe federal government to draw us intorninternational conflicts. Most people’srnsupport here of the Persian Gulf Warrnwas due not to their commitment tornthe New Worid Order, but rather to patrioticrnpride in our nation’s military, justrnas much of the support for the VietnamrnWar was a patriotic reaction to leftistrncriticism of everything American. Onernhopes that American citizens will growrnmore suspicious of this renewed internationalismrnand interventionism. Perhapsrnwhen they see that it is actually beingrnused to maintain a large government bureaucracyrnin the post-Cold War era andrnMARCH 1994/41rnrnrn