Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Choosing a President

I like driving cars with standard transmissions (That’s a “stick shift” for the automotive illiterates among you!). There’s something about going through the gears that is most satisfying, pushing the RPMs until you reach that top gear – then you’re cruisin’!

Presidential elections typically start out in the lower gears, finally reaching top gear, then cruising into the Home Stretch. That’s where we are right now. The first of the debates between the two candidates is over. We’re now just twenty-seven days from the election which will decide whether George W. Bush will continue as our president, or whether Senator John F. Kerry will be the new president. I can guarantee one thing – on Election Day the news pundits will still be saying, “It’s too close to call.”

I first became interested in presidential elections in 1960 when Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon were the candidates for their parties. Every election since, even the ones where a candidate would win decisively, the media would always say, “It’s too close to call.”

I often hear people say, “Gee, I don’t know yet which candidate I’ll vote for.” Let me tell you how I determine which of the candidates to vote for. It’s not very scientific. It’s not clever. It’s not even difficult to understand. Allow me to explain.

As a man, I believe the Bible gives instruction and guidance for life. Having committed my life to Christ, it is my pleasure to follow the Lord. My first responsibility is seeing to the safety and security of my family. This is uppermost in my thinking. Next, if my family is to be secure, I must see to it that my community is secure. For my community to be secure, my nation must be secure.
Should we be concerned about the economy, health care, Social Security, public education, adequate policing services, and the myriad of other national and state concerns? Yes, of course we should. But these issues become moot if we are not secure as a nation.

The war on terrorism is not going to end any time soon. Terrorists do not care about you at all. They are not satisfied with simply leaving you alone. Neville Chamberlain attempted this with Hitler’s Germany in the late 1930’s. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. These hateful extremists want to kill you and destroy everything you have and enjoy as a free people. To misunderstand this is to place yourself and everyone you care about at risk. No amount of reason, no attempts at placating these misguided fools, will be enough. If that could work, I’d be all for it.

Consider the nations that have been attacked by terrorists: The United States, France, Russia, Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the list goes on. We have chosen to fight this war. Others have not. I’ll not soon forget the words spoken to me when I was visiting the bishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Djibouti, Africa. He said he was so grateful because, “the United States is the only nation willing to take the responsibility for battling the terrorists.”

So, I ask myself which candidate has the best plan for protecting my country? That plan then becomes the basis for protecting my community. And ultimately, this plan is useful in protecting my family. This becomes the linchpin for everything else.

Let me remind you of a quote from President Bush when he addressed the nation in November of 2001. He said, “Terrorists have no home in any faith. Evil has no holy days.” You see, these murderous thugs can only control people through intimidation and fear. At some point the world community will push back – hard! There will be no support anywhere for these ideological zealots.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear boxing promoter, Don King, speaking with such erudition during an interview. He was quite a sight to behold, wearing a star-spangled shirt, and holding two American flags. I wrote down a comment he made which sums up our current situation. He succinctly said, “Terrorism anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere.” He’s absolutely right.

This is why for me the decision on who I vote for is simple. I ask myself, “Who do I believe is going to do the best job of protecting our nation?”

It all comes back to my God-given responsibility to protect my family. So who am I voting for? Let’s just say the choice was easy, and I’ve made my decision.

How do you decide who to vote for?


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