I was driving down the highway in central Indiana many years ago when I saw a homemade sign on the side of the road. It read: "Get U.S. out of the U.N.".
It was obviously homemade -- it had none of the seamless perfection of the billboards that dot and sometimes overwhelm the landscape.
Having nothing better to do, I turned that message over in my mind. What does it mean, get the United States out of the United Nations. The message was clear, but I wondered what brought that on.
Two decades later, it is abundantly clear, even if I don't agree with the message.
The United Nations has, if nothing else, provided us with a forum for the world's representatives to sit down and listen to one another's viewpoints.
Sometimes we all listened, many times we didn't.
Kruschev beat his shoe on the table -- a Soviet version of the child's "I can't hear you."
In the past few days, the North Korean delegate walked out of the U.N. after saying sanctions against his country would be considered an act of war.
Then, Condoleeza Rice and our president, George W. Bush, appeared on TV saying things like, "North Korea won't listen to the world. They have violated the expressed mandate of the United Nations and must be punished."
Wasn't it the United States that decided to invade Iraq after the United Nations said no?
Maybe the United States should be punished, using the same logic.
As a Christian, I am a firm believer in "Vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord of hosts" and "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
If George and Condy are right and I am wrong, then the U.S. will be blessed. But if what I fear is happening, we may be taken to the woodshed. (That means we will be disciplined for the sophisticates not used to Hoosier lingo.)
I do believe we can't have it both ways. If North Korea was wrong for testing a nuclear device because the U.N. said so, then the U.S. was wrong for invading Iraq. The U.N. was just as vocal about that, before we decided to go in with a very small group of countries who have proven to not be very committed to the project.