Wednesday, October 27, 2004

High Stakes for Church and State

This will probably be my last post before the election, so I'd like to pack as much in here as possible. For starters, I'd like to thank all the people who sent me the links that appear below.

If you follow all of them and read everything, you'll be busy from now until the election. In my opinion, if even one-tenth of the factual information presented in these article and sites is true or if you identify with only one-tenth of the ideas presented, you should have enough to make an informed decision to vote for John Kerry. But that's just my opinion. What's yours?

A week ago Sunday, an article appeared in the New York Times Magazine entitled "Without a Doubt". It was an overview of the president's thought process and how it has evolved over the years and especially since he has been in office. In the course of the article, the writer mentioned an evangelical pastor named Jim Wallis. Wallis is the founder of the Sojourners, a Christian organization President Bush consulted at the start of his term for advice on issues related to faith and poverty. According to the NYT article, Wallis has since become disillusioned with the president.
So I googled Jim Wallis and the Sojourners web site and this is what I found:

Now I don’t pretend to be an expert in Christian theology or Christ’s teachings. Yet I found a lot of common ground between my personal beliefs and the ones expressed in this article. I also found it comforting that there are Christian voices of this type out there.

Here are some other sites that have been recommended to me.

The first is and comes right from Vice President Dick Cheney. You may remember that in the vice-presidential debate a few weeks ago, Cheney cited some statistic, then said - since they kept arguing about statistics - "This is true, you can look it up on" He meant to say, a non-partisan organization that researches, verifies and otherwise checks statements made by the candidates. I don't know how truly non-partisan it is, but it can't be entirely anti-Bush if Cheney suggested viewers go there.Anyway,, an unrelated commercial advertising site, started getting bombarded with hits immediately after (or during!) the debate. After a day or two or this they decided to redirect traffic elsewhere, and make a political statement in the process. So they redirected traffic to George Soros, the multi-billionaire investor, has been posting an anti-Bush blog for weeks. It took him and his team a day or two to figure out what was happening. Then they put up a notice on their home page, saying they had nothing to do with the switch, but that they weren't unhappy with the unintended visits! Anyway, even on, Cheney doesn't exactly come out smelling like a rose. Serves him right.

Other non-partisan sites that research and report on candidates statements include:

The next link points to a speech given last week by Al Gore. Its thesis is that what many people view as President Bush's strength - his resolve against all odds - is actually his greatest weakness. The speech recounts, in one document, the crushing avalanche of information that has been widely reported elswhere. None of it should come as a surprise, but it's a bit overwhelming to read all in one place. It's long, but stick with it, especially if you're a Bush supporter or leaning towards Bush.
There seem to be many other interesting articles here, too.

Where the former VP's speech ends, the following song begins. When ideas are put to music, they can sometimes take on a new urgency. That's what I felt when I listened to this:
If you like it, you can campaign in the shower!

On the next site, Alternet, have a look at "Mideast meets West" (, about a correspondence between an American man (an ex-Marine) and an Iraqi woman, and "I was one guy in a bubble" (, about the lack of outside input into President Bush's decision-making process, make very worthwhile reading. The second article is reminiscent of Mr. Gore's speech. Finally, "The world according to a Bush voter" ( shows the results of a survey of the beliefs held by supporters of President Bush.

Lastly, you've heard of Republicans for Kerry. Now here's: Here is a link to an AP story about the site: AP story on

In closing, I'd like to introduce some historical perspective. In 2000, George Bush lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote. This had not happened since the 19th century. So I went to the Encyclopedia Britannica and looked up Grover Cleveland, who won the popular vote against Benjamin Harrison in 1888 but lost the electoral vote, and Rutherford B. Hayes, who lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden in 1876, but won the electoral vote. Here is what the Britannica had to say about Hayes:

In 1875, during his third gubernatorial campaign, Hayes attracted national attention by his uncompromising advocacy of a sound currency backed by gold. The following year he became his state's favourite son at the national Republican nominating convention, where a shrewdly managed campaign won him the presidential nomination. Hayes's unblemished public record and high moral tone offered a striking contrast to widely publicized accusations of corruption in the administration of President
Ulysses S. Grant (1869–77). An economic depression, however, and Northern disenchantment with Reconstruction policies in the South combined to give Hayes's Democratic opponent, Samuel J. Tilden, a popular majority, and early returns indicated a Democratic victory in the electoral college as well. Hayes's campaign managers challenged the validity of the returns from South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, and as a result two sets of ballots were submitted from the three states. The ensuing electoral dispute became known as the Tilden-Hayes affair. Eventually a bipartisan majority of Congress created a special Electoral Commission to decide which votes should be counted. As originally conceived, the commission was to comprise seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one independent, the Supreme Court justice David Davis. Davis refused to serve, however, and the Republican Joseph P. Bradley was named in his place. While the commission was deliberating, Republican allies of Hayes engaged in secret negotiations with moderate Southern Democrats aimed at securing acquiescence to Hayes's election. On March 2, 1877, the commission voted along strict party lines to award all the contested electoral votes to Hayes, who was thus elected with 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184. The result was greeted with outrage and bitterness by some Northern Democrats, who thereafter referred to Hayes as “His Fraudulency.”
Hayes chose not to run for a second term, but according to the Britannica, he almost certainly would not have been renominated either. Hayes was not the only president to choose not to run for a second term. Much more recently, in 1968, Lyndon Johnson, mired in the Vietnam War, also decided not to seek re-election.

My other historical reference is to the Declaration of Independence. Some people have said to me that in times of such uncertainty, it's better not to change presidents. "At least with George Bush, you know what he stands for." This made me think of Thomas Jefferson's words:

"All Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed."

Of course, he then goes on to appeal to the risk-taking side of us.

May the better team win!



At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two main problems with not supporting Bush and supporting Kerry:

1. Kerry has no policies. He is just anti-Bush. The worst is his
demagoguing about Social Security. He knows that the current Social
Security system can't be sustained, but he promises to sustain it. Bush
is at least trying to think long-term.

2. Kerry represents two conflicting constituencies: wealthy liberals who
are socially liberal and economically conservative (open markets, free
trade, less government regulation, etc.), and middle class workers who
are socially conservative and economically liberal (limit competition,
limit free trade, etc.) He is forced to say opposite things to both. This
is one reason why Zell Miller of Georgia has denounced the Democratic party.

We can all argue about whether going to war was a good idea or not, but
both Bush and Kerry thought we should. Monday morning quarterbacking of
wartime is easy - wars are inherently messy. You don't fine tune them,
and mistakes are made. The press does not want to accept this.

Whether the war in Iraq was a good idea or not, Bush has done a far
better job of projecting US resolve than Kerry, who arguably has
undermined our efforts.

If we follow Kerry's instincts, we will retreat from conflict, both
political and economic. The logical conclusion to this strategy is to
become like the Soviet Union was. Everyone is treated equally (unless you
are in the oligarchy). They all pretend to work and the state controlled
companies pretend to pay them. I'd prefer to see a stronger economy that
gives us greater resources to allow people to help themselves (given that
the national social programs we already have will never go away).

At 12:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former Republican (I worked to start a College Republican chapter at Princeton in the late 70's) I am supporting Kerry this year. Other than projecting
what Karl Rove and others in our oligarchy tell him to project, I think
George Bush has nothing of substance to offer. I have found the cost of
maintaining a U.S. empire is not worth the human cost in lives of Iraqis
not to mention U.S. troops drawn largely from our citizens with the least
hope of other types of work. As for Kerry's support of the war, he
authorized Bush to use force if diplomacy failed; Bush gave up on diplomacy
even though it was answering the WMD question. I think a leader needs to
understand the perspectives of all socioeconomic classes; while I came from
an upper-middle class and very conservative background (most of my dad's
income was investments), I have in the past 24 years broadened my
perspectives as much as I can. I hope you will consult a variety of news
sources including, and become more aware of how our
allies and other countries of the world view us. I don't think they hate
freedom as Bush naively suggests, but they hate our policies to project
power and economic domination onto them and the rest of the world.

I don't think Kerry shares my distaste for U.S. empire, but I think he will
give it a kinder face and reduce the hatred directed at us. I just heard a
BBC report via Democracy Now about purging of African-Americans from the
voter rolls in Florida; when cameras went on, the status of one innocent
black man casting an early ballot magically switched from former felon to
eligible voter. I hope your comment about people taking responsibility for
their well-being will result in justice in this year's election. I can't
support a party which engages in illegal dirty tricks. And I hope you will
look beyond Bush' sound bites of resolve at the reality of his dangerous
policies. Someone who cannot admit to mistakes (except some appointments -
probably people who are now criticizing him), and who in May 2003 said
"Major combat operations are over" has the resolve of a liar or of someone
who does not know himself or know what he says, and I do not want that kind
of resolve representing me. Whether incompetence or premeditated deceit,
it is not good enough for a president. I'd rather have a president whose
family didn't get him out of real service in Vietnam and who performed
bravely and got an understanding of what war is. John Kerry at least has
that understanding which a Bush, protected from reality by his connections,
does not. I have been protected from much by money, but I know enough to
know I haven't the perspective required for a national leader. I don't
think he even is aware that most Iraqis don't want to be occupied by a
foreign power, and that occupation is fueling the "insurgency".

Changing one's mind based on new information is strength; bulldozing down
the same road no matter where it goes is weakness.

Thanks for considering these ideas.

At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Kerry voted for the Iraq War based on the information that the Bush Administration presented to Congress and the American people. This information was knowingly and intentionally false in order to declare war to avenge what was viewed as a personal vendetta. We all would be having a different discussion today about Iraq if Hussein had and used chemical weapons against our troops, if we had found any chemical, nuclear or biological weapons. The bottom line is that there weren't any and our government lied to us. Kerry should have said outright that he voted for the Iraq War based on false information from Bush.

I do otherwise agree that Kerry mostly has run his campaign as the anti-Bush. I think that if he had elucidated his policies clearly from day 1, the race wouldn't necessarily be a dead heat. It's not a good enough reason to vote for Kerry because he's not Bush and this is the dilemma that many people face.


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