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World Heritage Sites. Biosphere Reserves. World Religion. New World Order. Globalization. Do these words and terms ring a bell? All are among the concerns guiding the efforts to strike fear into Americans about the mission of the United Nations. The Union Sovereignty Committee, a group of local residents who subscribe to these fears, is trying to put a countywide initiative on the ballot to declare Union County a U.N.-free zone.

THE EFFORT is misguided and wreaks of paranoia. And it puts a black mark on Union County's reputation as a civilized and progressive place to live. The anti-U.N. effort is all about fear-mongering and the spreading of some unsubstantiated assertions based on unidentified sources.

Among the assertions are that the United Nations' goal is world domination — the "New World Order,'' as they call it. America's sovereignty is at stake, and with it Americans' freedom, they say. National parks, monuments and preserves are part of the globalization movement. Mother's Day, even motherhood, are targets because of a proposed U.N. treaty that calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Global taxes, the International Criminal Court, foreign aid, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund are all part of the U.N.'s supposed secret agenda.

AND LEST WE NOT forget — the media is part of the conspiracy. The U.N.'s reach is so broad that the fear-mongerers will probably swear this editorial was orchestrated by the New World Order's evil-doers. But the fact is, the U.N. does not control America's media, nor has it ever tried to.

The assertions are hogwash and to some extent seem racially motivated. The U.N.'s mission isn't evil. Working toward peace between nations and helping to see that problems such as hunger and education are addressed are admirable, not contemptible. The members of the Union Sovereignty Committee have a right to espouse their views, as they have done over and over again through letters to the editor on this page. But the fact is those views are extreme. The fears border on paranoia.

THE GROUP'S PROPOSED initiative, in and of itself, seems harmless. It would demand that "no United Nations presence nor actions ... may take place in Union County for the reason that the foreign U.N. Charter, resolutions and agendas violate the intent, spirit and purpose of the law and the protections guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and thereby threatens our sovereignty and the sacred will of the people.''

Most of us realize that the initiative really amounts to much ado about nothing. But the reputation our county would get should such an outlandish initiative make the ballot or be approved — as it was in Grant County in May — would take years to overcome. Northern Idaho is still trying to overcome the reputation the white supremacists brought to that region. Grant County didn't do itself any favors socially or economically with its U.N.-free zone initiative.

Union County needs to avoid such a stigma.


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