Thursday, November 04, 2004


Words of Wisdom from Zell Miller

America's faith in freedom has been reaffirmed. With the re-election of President Bush, America recommitted itself once again to expanding freedom and promoting liberty. Only the 1864 re-election of Abraham Lincoln, the 1944 re-election of Franklin Roosevelt and the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan rival this victory as milestones in the preservation of our security by the advancement of freedom.

This election validated not just freedom, but also the faith our Founding Fathers placed in average folks to navigate the course of this great nation. By weighing the greatest issues at the gravest times and choosing our path, ordinary people have again accomplished extraordinary things. With courage and caution, rather than fear and timidity, the voters chose a path to ensure others would enjoy the same freedom to set their own path.

This election outcome should have been implausible, if not impossible. With a litany of complaints — bad economy, bad deficit, bad foreign war, bad gas prices — amplified by a national media that discarded any pretense of neutrality, a national opposition party should have won this election.

But the Democratic Party is no longer a national party. As difficult as the challenges are — both real and fabricated — Democrats offered no solution that was either believable or acceptable to vast regions of America.

Listen and learn. Learn that all we choose comes through our values first. It is like Bushido, the honor code of Japan. But this is America's honor code. We start with belief. We start with there are values worth guiding our life by. It may be a vision of God, it may be a vision of what America means, but it is the guiding light of our life. From this concept streams everything else - how to live, what we find acceptable, what we are willing to put up with.

Economics is not first. Pleasure is not first. What we believe in is first. It's not a "values thing." It is the center of our life. When you trash that center, and tell us we are below you because of it, don't be surprised when we don't buy what you say.

It is not that you vote on values and we do not. I do vote on values. It is that our values are different. You value the life of an unborn child over the freedom of choice of a woman (I can respect your choice of values on abortion and am very torn myself). We value taking care of the children who are born, making sure they are not in poverty, can go to decent schools and can access to health care over a tax cut for the wealthy. You value the writing of the old testament (Leviticus) that condemns homosexuality. We value the writings of the new testament that teaches tolerance of others and that God loves us all. I value the life/health of a child and choose that over mercury/sulfur pollution. I value the health of a senior citizen over the profits of a pharmaceutical company (and the pharmaceutical profits pay for a lot of my salary). Etc, etc, etc. It is all values, just different values.
Dingo, my friend, you are spouting party lines. I have read almost the exact words multiple times in the last few months. But he who cannot look beyond his rhetoric is bound to be trapped by the words others give him. If you really want to know what people believe, don't listen what outsiders say about that group...go and look at what the people involved think they believe.

Like most people, I don't fit in a one side fits all mold like you seem to think religious people do. For instance, I work hard for environmental causes, for clean air, water, wildlands. And I do this in part because I believe that God wants us to be good stewards, and screwing up the environment for gain at the expense of others is an evil.

I do believe in the sanctity of life. Therefore, yes, I do believe in the right of the unborn over the convenience of the mother. In my family we have had five generations of crisis pregnancies. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my brother (and his first wife, before they were married), and my youngest niece all have had to deal with the difficult decisions of what to do. And in each case, we chose for life and family because that is what we believe in. It wasn't easy. My grandmother was the victim of step-parent abuse, but she chose to keep my father and raise him.

And because of what I believe (formed in conscience based on values that we are all children of God, and therefore all of us, from the weakest to the strongest, from the ugliest to the most beautiful, are worthy of respect and deserve to be cherished), I will struggle to get people to see that unborn and other vunerable people are worthy of life...that death is not a better option just because it's convenient.

If you think that we in the center draw our strength from a bitter, narrow interpretation of the old testament, you haven't had much contact with most real believers. But this is common rhetoric. I've run across the same quote three times today, and it shows people who are quoting each other without actually finding out the truth.

Step outside of the box. Forget the propaganda machine. Ask questions. Learn what really motivates all those red counties. Those of us who voted for Bush are a diverse group with many motivations, but most of us embrace outlooks and values have been tested by fire over the years, that have shaped the heart of America since it was founded, passed down from parent to child for two hundred years and more. See what they really are. Then make your decisions based on your information, like a wise man, instead of just hearing your rhetoric.
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