Last Hurrah

October 2004


In the final days of the campaign, the American people are faced with a difficult decision that will have lasting effects on this nation's future, far beyond the next four years. It is very important that the American people understand what is at stake in this election so that they can make an informed and prudent choice.

OK, I know, we're all sick of hearing about this election. I considered writing something this week that had absolutely nothing to do with politics, but in the end I had to climb up on that soap box one more time.

I believe that we are far less safe today than when Bush took office four years ago. I believe that this is so because of the U.S. National Security policy enacted by the Bush administration. That document makes it a matter of official policy that America, for the first time in its history, claims the right to conduct first-strike military action against other countries. It doesn't really matter whether you think war is an acceptable implement of national policy; telling other nations that you are ready and willing to attack them if they don't do as you say gives them every reason to prevent you from doing so with every means at their disposal.

Iran and North Korea have concluded that we are less likely to attack a country if they possess nuclear weapons -- therefore, they have made a tremendous effort to acquire nuclear capabilities and may even now have the bomb. This is a direct and logical consequence of the Bush administration's National Security policy. China has switched from maintenance of a huge defensive military to the rapid development of significant offensive capability. The United States is at great risk, a much greater risk than we have been in since the days of the Cuban missile crisis.

Practically every expert in terrorism, excepting a few from places like the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think-tanks, declares that terrorism is largely a policing problem. If you get other nations to honestly join with you in eradicating terrorist groups and in diffusing their popular base by addressing the most urgent needs of the people in question, you will reduce terrorism. The Bush administration takes a different view, and even if they are successful in the short term in killing today's terrorists, their actions will ensure that the next generation spawns 100 times more desperate lunatics willing to die for their parents' death or disgrace.

On the economy: for whom is the economy better? It isn't better for me. I got a reduction in my federal income tax that amounts to a few thousand dollars over four years. My children's portion of the NEW national debt made by the Bush administration in the same period is four times the value of my tax cut. My property taxes have gone up substantially. I'm paying way more for gasoline. I have even less security about my job. If I lose my job, the new jobs created by the Bush policies pay far less. Poverty is up substantially. Personal bankruptcies are at an all-time high. Health costs have gone through the roof. Like the lady in the burger ad: "Where's the better?"

I don't make half a million dollars a year. Maybe if I did, I'd feel like things were better for me. But I don't, and the vast majority of the American people don't. When they vote for an administration that favors the rich, those same policies hurt them. Why do they vote to hurt themselves and their families to benefit rich people? Some do it because they firmly believe that they will themselves be rich one day soon. Some do it because they believe in things without any evidence. OJ was guilty. Saddam was going to attack us. Giving rich people even more tax breaks while cutting back on funding for people in need is good for America. The National Enquirer only prints the truth.

Even if you have done well under the current administration, I urge you to examine the New American Century doctrine and consider whether you want to confirm such a radical, reactionary agenda that will fundamentally change not only how this nation is perceived in the world, but will also change the very meaning of being an American. We used to vilify nations who claimed the right to strike first. We used to be a generous and forgiving nation. We used to be a hopeful nation -- not just for ourselves, but for the whole world. Don't we want to be those things again?

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