Many of the world's and nation's leaders, or wanna-be leaders, are acting like unruly children lately.
Trouble is, they're playing adult games with dangerous, sometimes life-threatening agendas.
*Remember the playground bully who didn't like what someone else said?
"Take it back!" he yelled. "Take it back!"
Some Muslims are reacting the same way following Pope Benedict's XVI's comment in which, as the Associated Press reports, "he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad as 'evil and inhuman' and referred to spreading Islam 'by the sword.'"
The Pope owes no one an apology for -- in his position as the earthly head of one of the world's largest churches -- simply stating what has been proven as a fact. Since when do extremist Muslims suddenly have the right to dictate the world's beliefs?
Extremists have quite a bit in common with bullies and drunken barroom rednecks who think every problem can be solved by forcing their views, using fists, bullets and bombs, on everyone else.
*But extremist Muslims don't have a lock on going too far.
Enter President Bush and his minions, who insist on CIA-sanctioned torture and imprisoning thousands of individuals without stated charges or access to legal representation.
Of course, the secrecy-oriented Bush White House doesn't want us to know about any of it.
Few people are naive enough to believe playing goody-goody with terrorists will lead to obtaining needed information. But using inhumane tactics isn't the answer.
Like it or not, it DOES matter what the rest of the free world thinks of us, in every way from economically to militarily. And, although members of America's military are pledged to give their lives if necessary, should a life be lost due to another country trying to get revenge for our mistreatment of another country's prisoner?
Right is right and moral is moral. The United States doesn't need to fight terrorists by bringing itself down to their level. A firm belief that right wins in the end is imperative.
Ignore politically-tinged claims that if you don't support Bush you don't support our country or its military. The bedrock of America is democracy, not one-sided political talk.
*And, like the kid who taunts his or her classmates, misstatements, stretched truths and outright lies abound in this fall's political advertising.
Remember the little loudmouth who yelled, "She's got cooties!" at an unsuspecting victim?
Some political candidates in key races are being imaged as if they've got cooties -- or as if they've eaten too much spinach and bacteria is spewing in all directions. Imaged? Yes -- because images are what the misleading advertisements are meant to form.
If Pinocchio were a member of one of either party's national committee his nose would be several miles long.
Here in Tennessee, watch the national-level Democrats' and Republicans' ads spout lies that Senate candidates Harold Ford Jr. and Bob Corker won't say they approved.
Don't say, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" among some overzealous party activists. They may take it literally. That is, if there's enough heat left near them following their verbal outbursts.
Many unruly children end up being grounded or losing privileges. Some adults who would stretch law and morality while claiming to be helping us could use a little punishment as well, through the court system.
Often, though, those who need punishment most are the ones demanding to dish it out.
David Melson is a Times-Gazette copy editor/staff writer. Responses welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.