This tragedy and all of its underlying conflicts of values has something to say to everyone, but I touch on it here only because of what it says to me about America at large. It is one of those cases that provides an opportunity to reflect on American priorities. For me (at this writing the appellate court has not made its final ruling), it has been a shameful episode for U. S. policy and one that raises troubling questions. At bottom, the case is heavily ideological and has been described as “the last battle of the Cold War”. This element of the fight cannot be ignored and, in that context, it must be remembered that the Castro regime still holds some loyalties and sympathies among the cultural leftist elite in this country. To wit, Castro’s champions in this contest have been of the American left, led by the National Council of Churches and the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church (my church, I am ashamed to say). In the resulting spin from these organizations, other liberal elites, and a complicit mainstream media, we have been led to believe three things critical to subsequent public opinion polling on the issue: (1) family unity trumps freedom, (2) there is essentially a moral equivalency between the U. S. and Cuban regimes, and (3) the anti-Castro Cuban-Americans in Miami are to be demonized and disregarded as a cabal of kooky right wing zealots. All of these points can and should be refuted, and some political and opinion leaders have attempted to do so. Unfortunately for U. S. policy and, more tragically, for Elian Gonzalez, the political right in the U. S. has been fragmented or strangely muted at a time when bold moral leadership could have made a difference. For example, the Republican Congress could have approved legislation granting the boy permanent U. S. residency and bears responsibility for the mess for not doing so. As to the early morning raid to transfer custody of Elian to his father as nominee for the Castro regime, suffice to say that even the prominent arch-liberal constitutional law professor, Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, has written that Attorney General Reno’s “decision to take the law and child into her own hands, even if well intended, strikes at the heart of constitutional government and shakes the safeguards of liberty.” In the end, we should have many questions to ask of the Clinton/Gore/Reno administration about its motives and rationale in the management of this case. The loyal opposition should get about the business of the inquiry.