A Lack of Faith - Just Read the News
JD Lock, Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired)
30 July 2004
The Presidential election of 2004 will most likely go down as a most unique national election not because this great Nation has two candidates who lack the most fundamental and basic prerequisites to be President but because the election will be a vote of ‘no confidence.’ Should Senator John F. Kerry be elected, it will be because we as a people have decreed ABB…’Anyone But Bush.’
Bush failed to win a simple majority in 2000, and it took a Supreme Court ruling, right or wrong, to win the Electoral College. Pitifully, after nearly four years, little seems to have changed for he still does not seem to have earned a simple majority.
Why no confidence? Just scan the newspapers and the reason is strikingly obvious. The following are four story lines from the front pages of major papers on 28 July:
White House to Project Record $420 Billion Deficit
Iran Reportedly Resumes Work on Nuclear Equipment
Food stamps rise from 6.1% to 8.1% of families
Doctors Without Borders to Leave Afghanistan
1. The Deficit has increased the National Debt to a projected $7.2T…that’s trillion…for FY04. Amazingly, the Social Security trust fund that is annually tapped and accounted for “Off Budget’ is not part of this $7.2T in debt. This ‘tap’ is an additional $2.2T over the past five years…that’s trillion…that must eventually be paid back. Given the decreasing ratio of contributors to payees, where will this money come from? This is not all because of 9/11 and terrorism. Tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy and Corporate America with debt spiraling out of control? Insanity! And I speak as one who’s only recently moved into the tax bracket that benefits the most from those cuts. These cuts are just plain wrong.
2. Iraq—WMD, terrorist ties? These grounds for preemptive war have been publicly exposed as non-existent. We are breaking our military going after a paper tiger Iraq that had no influence beyond its own borders, while leaving a real terrorist threat and WMD proprietor, Iran, free to continue being a true member of the 'Axis of Evil.' Iran has been, and continues to be a greater threat than Iraq ever was. Unfortunately, as Colin Powell noted prior to our unjustified ‘preemptive’ attack, we ‘broke’ Iraq and we now ‘own’ it thus limiting what should be true GWOT pursuits.
3. The economy is a mess, and, again, not because of 9/11 or terrorism. If employment is rising, why has the number of families seeking food stamps also risen so dramatically (25%) in the past year? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the vast majority of 'new' jobs are minimum wage? Maybe the unemployment statistic has fallen because many who were seeking jobs have stopped seeking them out of frustration?
4. The real war on terrorism, Afghanistan, was an initial success that has turned into an unpublicized and unmitigated disaster, so much so that a Nobel Peace Prize organization, DWB, has decided to pull out after 24 years because it's too dangerous to operate in country. Too dangerous? This is an organization that operated in a Soviet occupied Afghanistan! To pull out during an American occupation REALLY makes a statement, and it's not a good one.
Four topics just from one day’s news events. Just think what could be written about the Bush Administration given a week, a month, a year of daily news events? No confidence, you bet. Bush and his administration were failures in the vast majority of issues days leading up to 9/11. Just review the headlines; they were on the ropes. 9/11 'saved' the Bush administration, provided it a second opportunity, and they’ve incredibly squandered that along with world empathy and support.
What concerns me the most about this man, however, is the fact that he honestly believes he's destined by God to lead a great crusade. Destined by God? My God, what arrogance. Bush works to bring himself across as 'the Chosen One,’ destined. As recently as 16 July, he actually spoke to this destiny before an Amish crowd of 60 in Lancaster where he was quoted as saying "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job." God speaks through George W. Bush? Jay Leno said it best: "In a speech the other day to the Amish, President Bush said that God speaks through him. That’s what he said. I don’t know, do you think God would mispronounce that many words?" Though I am a firm Christian, I have a problem with a pandering leader who wears his religion on his sleeve.
Yes, as one can easily tell, I lack confidence at all levels in Bush and others around him—Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft. As a retired active duty officer, as a West Point graduate and former Assistant Professor, as a warrior Airborne Ranger, ‘W’ should be concerned for I voted for him in 2000 wanting to believe integrity would be brought back to the office. However, since then, this President has only played and confirmed my pre election concerns. Kerry has not won my vote; ’W’ lost it. It's that simple, really. I’m all for a President with conviction; but, I’m adverse to a President whose conviction is continually wrong. Even with Kerrey’s ‘waffling,’ he should statistically get it ‘right’ half the time. Given what we’ve had with our current administration, I’m saddened to say that I’ll just have to settle for that.