November 1, 2004
Our Country Needs Your Vote
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
I like to write about blackberries and possums. Marathoners and summer storms and all my husband's horses.
What I don't like to write about is politics. I don't even like to talk about politics. It gets me itchy and ornery.
So I started to jot down ideas for my weekly column in the Corinth, Mississippi newspaper, skimming through my notebook for something funny that a neighbor said. Or my grandad. Anything but politics!
And I couldn't do it. I couldn't let this election go by without standing up and stating what I believe.
I do not think that everything going wrong in this nation is President Bush's fault. Rich lobbyists were lobbying, our inner cities have been limping along for years, and the recession would probably have occurred no matter who was in the White House.
Besides, we all want the same things for our beloved country: a safe place to ride bikes with our children on sunny afternoons. Clean water. Warm churches. The right to speak our minds.
But President Bush is steering this land in dangerous directions.
I am very angry at the tax cuts he gave himself and his rich friends at the cost of sinking us into national debt from which we may never recover. You and I will be making up the deficits; we already are. My property taxes almost doubled this year; so did my neighbors'.
And don't think that huge and powerful nations can't go bust. It just happened to Russia.
It could certainly happen to us, and we're heading that way fast. Listen to the state and local governments scrambling to pay their bills. Watch Mississippi cutting the elderly off from their desperately-needed prescriptions. And let's not even talk about Tennessee's Tenn Care.
I have nothing against rich people. I know some wonderful millionaires. Bright, hardworking people who do good things with their lives and their money. Go for it, guys!
But how many millions does somebody need? What's the problem with insisting that the wealthy pay the biggest chunk of our country's taxes? After all, that money goes to keep up the roads (on which their trucking companies travel to keep their businesses going). And our military (who're there to keep our borders from being invaded). And scientific research (to keep all of us healthy, rich and poor alike).
Some folks say they feel safer with Bush as our Commander-in-Chief. Not me! He's underfunded Homeland Security. He's stretched our soldiers out on too many fronts. He's sent off our National Guard (who ought to be here at home to protect us from attack or natural disasters).
This world is a big and scary place. Yet he thumbed his nose at our allies when they earnestly insisted we not invade Iraq since there was no indication that Hussein had any connection to al-Qaida or proof that he was building weapons of mass destruction and they turned out to be right.
What's even scarier is that the whole Muslim world is outraged over our invasion of their brothers.
Eight years ago I spent a week in Pakistan, and though obviously an American never once was treated with anything but gentle courtesy. I walked their streets feeling safer than I do in my own hometown.
Today I would not think of setting foot in any Muslim country. Even the moderates are furious, and the number of religious fanatics has multiplied, not decreased. I can only wonder when those fanatics will find a way to strike within our land again.
Our founding fathers did not trust the government. They'd seen firsthand what it could do to them. That's why they held the American Revolution. That's why they set up the Bill of Rights.
The thing I've always admired about the Republican Party is its attitude of feisty independence. And its distrust of Big Government. As one of the most conservative Republicans I know of said, George Bush is not a real Republican. He has enlarged both the government's bureaucracy and its power.
At the same time, he's undercutting Social Security. He's cut funds to the police. He's reduced the EPA's ability to fight against pollution.
I've had two sons serve in the military, as did my husband, my father, and my grandfathers. My heart like yours aches for the families of the eleven hundred U.S. soldiers who've died in Iraq. And for the estimated sixty thousand Iraqi soldiers. Their mothers' hearts are breaking, too.
It is the responsibility of the president to gather the intelligence on which a decision to go to war is based.
Those soldiers died because Mr. Bush's executive branch did not do its job.
And untold thousands of civilians lost their lives. Let's face it: Our "smart bombs" aren't smart. Real people get crushed and burned alive when they strike a city. Remember the screaming children with their hands blown off, the grandfathers with their heads on fire.
On Tuesday I will go to the polls and vote for a man who is dedicated to the welfare of this country. It will not be Mr. Bush.
Then the election thank heavens will be over, and I can write about the Red Sox and the Cardinals. I'll write about fragrant pumpkin pies and scarlet leaves.
And about the need to pray daily for our soldiers. And for our president.
Whoever he may be.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Ryland Bruhwiler is a regular columnist for The Daily Corinthian, a small town newspaper serving rural West Tennessee and North Mississippi.
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