Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Anticipation

Got an email this week from a friend in Brazil who reminded me that Brazilians are anxiously awaiting the outcome of our election, and, in fact, I am sure this is true around the world. I saw a news article about protestors in Great Britain and how a major newspaper there had invited readers to mail letters to undecided voters in an Ohio county about the election, expressing opinions on how those voters should vote. Of course, many Americans were offended by this, as, no doubt, many British would be offended if we did something similar.

I sit here with baited breath and can hardly wait for the election returns to start trickling in. I believe this is the most important election of my lifetime and that George W. Bush's first term will go down in history as one of the most important Presidency's in our nation's history. Certainly it is far more significant in foreign policy than either of the two Presidents in the 12 years before him, Clinton and Bush, Sr. Both of them did some good things, but September 11 eclipses that. Our whole world changed in that one day. And America became a lot more like other countries who have suffered from terrorism on their soil for decades. Our self-assurance and sense of security were threatened, and it shook us up. It continues to.

I wonder if people all over the world are anxious as I am about the election results. For many Americans, like me, the choice is clear -- traditional values on which our country was founded are at risk. And that means the reality of who we are could change if John Kerry is elected. And that would have implications far beyond this generation and change our country negatively forever -- our whole national identity. For others, George Bush is too smug, or even arrogant. He lied to them (although they stumble when trying to explain and prove this). He has made people in other countries hate us. He is fighting for oil. They have various reasons, none of which hold up well under careful scrutiny.

Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with everything George W. Bush stands for or has done. He has been stubborn at times when he should not have been. Some of his advisors have mislead us, and his continued support of them bothers me. And then there are my fundamental issues with the Republican Party. For example, I believe we need gun control. I believe the Founding Fathers who wrote our constitution (and whom, by the way, wrote clearly in many other writings of their faith in Jesus Christ as the principles upon which this country was founded) never anticipated the diversity and power of weapons that are available. And throughout history, despite the freedoms accorded us, Americans have had to make sacrifices to their own freedoms because of irresponsible other citizens who take advantage and abuse their freedoms. You simply don't need a gun that can shoot through three houses to protect your home. And since those same guns are being used by criminals, some limitations are a good idea. Even a necessity. I also, as Christian, do not believe Jesus Christ would take up a weapon to protect Himself. That was not in His character. But getting back on track here, George W. Bush is a good and decent man who really cares about people. He also is decisive at a time when we need a leader who makes tough decisions and stands by them. No human being can be perfect in that. But we need to project strength because we have been attacked to our core. He is also a Christian and thus shares the fundamental values on which this country was founded and which the majority of Americans still hold dear, despite what those on television and in journalism try to project. They are not mainstream America, believe me.

His opponent, on the other hand, changes his views when the wind blows because his primary platform is "elect me at all costs." If you hate Bush, vote for me. If you hate war, vote for me. No my ideas aren't better, no they're not that different, and who cares about the consequences of them, just vote for me. I'll do whatever it takes to convince you. Hardly decisive. Hardly strong.

There are a lot of people who feel different. And many foreigners would agree with them, but they don't know Bush's character the way Americans can. They only see him as the bullying President whose decision to go to war have negatively impacted their economy or who protects American businesses by refusing to bow to trade deals that might not be good for America. Do I think he's wrong in this sometimes, yes. But the point is, the reality is different from they view they get in their newspapers and television -- which often are far more biased than our own and censored by governments so they only hear what the leaders want them to hear.

In any case, I wonder how the world would react if they knew George W. Bush the way so many of us know Him and saw a more well rounded picture. I wonder if America were not the power it is and the terrorists and others with ambition ran rampant, how they'd like an indecisive American President.

I probably should to make my opinions and the thoughts behind them totally clear. But I try to keep these postings short enough to read through fairly quickly and give just enough info to provoke thoughts. The reality is I am deeply concerned about the outcome of this election because of how it could destroy the traditional foundations of our way of life. And the impact of that around the world would likely be immeasurable!

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