Times West Virginian (Fairmont): timeswv.com
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
When Americans go to the polls next Tuesday, most will be
conscious that they are doing more than choosing who will be president
of the United States for the next four years. Like it or not, as
they cast their ballots, they will be deciding America's course for a
From health care to Social Security, from the environment to the
economy, and from national security to individual freedoms, we stand at
This awareness accounts for much of the bitterness now dividing the
country. So much is at stake, and the candidates themselves have
played shamelessly on the emotions of the public as they've fought for
votes. Neither candidate can be accused of taking the high road
on the campaign trail, especially since Labor Day.
But now is the time to set emotions aside, if possible, and look at
facts. Does George W. Bush deserve a second term, or should John
F. Kerry be given the opportunity to steer a new course for America?
We believe John Kerry is the better choice.
George Bush started his term in 2000 with great promise. A
personable man who had brought together many political factions as
governor of Texas, he seemed just the man to heal the rifts on
Washington and get government moving again in the right direction.
When terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, he was the image of strength
and resolve and, again, seemed to be the man of the hour.
But George Bush has not fulfilled his promise, and the more things go
wrong, the more he stands firm in denying that anything is wrong.
Today, 41 million Americans do not have health insurance and those who
do worry that it's only a matter of time until they or their employers
can no longer afford it. The Bush prescription drug plan for senior
citizens is a joke. It favors the drug companies and is so
confusing that only a handful of those eligible have taken advantage of
Time and again, Bush appointees have attempted to weaken environmental
safeguards, meant to protect the land and public health; scientific
data are used selectively to bolster the ideological positions Bush
Fewer jobs have been created during the Bush administration than in any
presidency since Herbert Hoover. Families' real income is
down. Bush didn't cause the recession, but the $237 billion
surplus left for him by Bill Clinton has turned into the largest
deficit in American history, $413 billion and growing. That's a
debt waiting to be paid by our children and grandchildren.
Meanwhile, government in the last four years has grown larger and more
In the name of protecting America, this administration has mounted an
assault on the Fourth Amendment never before seen in our land.
President Bush would continue to chip away at our freedoms and erode
states' rights by appointing openly conservative judges to the U.S.
The "war" on terrorism, which also began with promise in Afghanistan,
has in Iraq blown up into a mess that must be laid at the president's
door. It has been clear for some time now that he doesn't listen
to dissenting voices among his advisers, and while it is true that
Saddam Hussein was an evil man, he was not an imminent threat to world
security, as Bush wanted us to believe. We've now lost our focus
in fighting terrorism and the support of most of our traditional allies.
Bush has portrayed John Kerry as a flip-flopper and an appeaser who
would bow to world opinion before defending America. Both of
these characterizations are false. Yes, Kerry voted against the
$87 billion appropriations for the Iraq war, for example, but that was
because he didn't want to give it to the Bush administration
unconditionally -- and he was right. Yes, he said world opinion
is important when it comes to waging war, but Kerry is also a man who
laid his life on the line defending his country and he has said
unequivocally that he will never put America's security at
What else does Kerry have to offer?
He has a plan to open up the health insurance system now enjoyed by
Congress to small businesses, with tax credits to help them buy.
He has a plan to close corporate tax loopholes that will end rewards to
companies for outsourcing. He has a plan to cut middle-class
taxes. He has a plan to develop alternative fuel sources and
reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He will put environmental
and medical issues back on sound scientific footings. He will
stand up for civil rights and opportunities for all Americans, not the
All promises, yes. But George Bush made a number of good-sounding
promises in 2000, and he hasn't kept them.
© 2004 Times
permission. (Hope Stephan
July 27, 2005)