By Robert Fabio
We need a leader who can unite – not divide – us
I have to agree with Bruce P. Murchison (“Democratic scare tactics won’t beat Bush,” July 22 guest opinion) that George W. Bush could win by a landslide – not because he’s a good leader, but because the Republicans with their ace in the hole will outsmart the Democrats again.
If Kerry (gains) too much of a bounce, or develops too great a lead, Vice President Dick Cheney likely will pull out of the race citing “health reasons,” leaving the door open for an unstoppable Bush-McCain or Bush-Powell ticket.
Either one would make Bush more palatable. But as many knowing people feel, with any Bush victory, the country loses.
Mr. Murchison asks us to remember the universal support for President Bush after 9/11. I say remember him before 9/11, when his administration was ridiculed for inactivity on the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Back then, his ratings were unfavorable. But after 9/11, they soared.
Now, after many mistakes, his ratings have fallen. Why then can’t people explain their opposition to the president? Probably because there are so many reasons, people are left speechless trying to select one.
However, if there’s one reason, it is this: The president has corrupted the unity, support and compassion we had for him after 9/11 by promoting his administration’s divisive agenda. I cringe every time I hear one of his deriding sound bites.
How dare Bush insult us with his: “If we’re not with him, we’re anti-American?” An American is one who thinks and voices opinions, and when confronted by an enemy, we Americans, conservatives and liberals alike, fight to preserve our liberty.
We need a leader who can unite, not divide, who can comprehend both sides of an issue and work out win-win solutions. Bush is not such a leader. His values do not foster liberties. On every issue, following his values, we get no win-win results. It’s his way or the highway, and there always will be losers.
Speaking of losers, considering the president’s problems, why hasn’t Kerry generated a larger following? Democrats seem to be in awe of the Republican steamroller, its deriding of liberals and calling Kerry the most liberal senator. Why in this day and age are liberals automatically considered losers or not patriotic? Haven’t as many liberals laid down their lives for their country as any other group?
Liberalism is the freedom to pursue one’s liberty, to favor the overall good for people. Thus I would categorize 90 percent of Americans as liberal.
However, if a person has achieved significant wealth and comfort, they tend to want to maintain such, to conserve what they have and take on conservative viewpoints: “Let’s not change anything to jeopardize our status.” This conservatism serves them well for a while. But when approaching death, many make amends by becoming liberal again.
I find it amazing that although most Americans are sensitive, generous and liberal at heart, when influenced by divisive single issues, they support conservatives and vote against their own best interest.
Let’s end the notion that liberals are losers. We may be unorganized, but that will change because liberals have the ability to promote and achieve win-win outcomes.
History shows many liberal achievers in our past, but for brevity, I’ll note just four:
• John F. Kennedy, in his day, received flawed intelligence leading to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. But unlike the current administration, Kennedy accepted responsibility for that failure. He wanted us to pursue a liberal agenda by saying “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Are we losing touch with that honorable goal? Are our conservative leaders causing us to think “me first,” disregarding the overall good?
Later, during the height of the Cold War, Kennedy avoided a World War III by negotiating a peaceful resolution to the Cuban missile crisis. With the armed forces on alert and thousands of itchy fingers that could have triggered a nuclear holocaust, Kennedy negotiated a peaceful win-win resolution limiting casualties to one. Today, millions are alive because a liberal president didn’t rush off to war.
• Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated many programs during the Great Depression to restore the economy, get people working, help the needy and improve the infrastructure. This wasn’t done with “voodoo, trickle-down economics,” but with what we should call “bubble up, can-do economics.” He also initiated the Social Security System to help the elderly live more comfortably. FDR restored hope with his “All we have to fear is fear itself” speech. We don’t fear much with our military might today, but we should fear the lack of education and our inability to comprehend issues, which leads us to blindly follow arrogant, self-serving leadership.
• Seventy years before FDR, when our nation was facing its biggest challenge, the Civil War, liberal Republican and former trial lawyer Abraham Lincoln served our country. We know Republicans also can be liberal. Lincoln pledged that “a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.” In today’s two-tiered society, our president’s policies are more like a nation “of the powerful, by the powerful, for the powerful.” We need to restore the people through education and, as Lincoln stated, with “malice toward none” and “charity for all.”
• Finally, we must not forget that in our heritage was the greatest liberal of all time. He talked of peace, not war; love, not hate; compassion, not intolerance; all of which we so dearly need today.
He said all we need is to have love for God and for our fellow man. Yes, liberals be proud. We’re in the best of company. Remember that 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was also a liberal.
Robert Fabio (firstname.lastname@example.org), owner and operator of DJ’s Computers, is an education activist.