Support This Site Design and Sell Merchandise Online for Free

Monday, October 18, 2004

A Turning Point in History

In two weeks we will go to the polls and cast a vote to elect the man that will lead this nation for the next four years. Very rarely in history have Americans been faced with a choice as important as the one we will make on November 2nd.

In 1994 the Republicans shook the Congress loose of the grip of the Democrats who, until that mid-term election, had controlled it for decades. I, being a Democrat at the time, comforted myself with the realization that it didn’t really matter who was in power. Life would go on as it always had. Complacency became common as we became comfortable.

The 1996 election did not prove to be any different. While I was a Clinton supporter at the time, I don’t imagine the world would be dramatically different had Bob Dole won. The budget would probably still have been balanced. There would have probably still been a surplus. And the economy, still riding the internet wave, would have boomed.

The only possible difference I see is that George W. Bush would not have been elected and could not have led this nation through the days of September 11, 2001. I doubt Bill Clinton’s, I doubt Al Gore’s and I even doubt Bob Dole’s ability to have done so with as much strength and courage as was displayed by our President of the time.

With this election, then, we have arrived at another great turning point in history. President Reagan envisioned as much during his time when 22 years ago he foretold of the fall of Soviet Communism in his “Westminster Address.” As a people under the leadership of Reagan, we may have doubted but we did not fail. We met the stringent demands of our responsibility to freedom and the world. And on November 9th, 1989, Americans watched as the Berlin Wall was torn apart. Just two years later, Reagan’s vision became reality as the Soviet Union fell to the same fate.

Last November President Bush echoed Reagan’s sentiments about the spread of freedom in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy. He explained the need for America to help freedom find a footing in the Middle East.

To the critics and doubters that say democracy in the Middle East will never work, Bush quoted Reagan in labeling such belief “cultural condescension.” He continued:

“After the Japanese surrender in 1945, a so-called Japan expert asserted that
democracy in that former empire would ‘never work.’ Another observer declared
the prospects for democracy in post-Hitler Germany are, and I quote, ‘most
uncertain at best’ -- he made that claim in 1957.”

What form of scholarship do we adopt when we declare a culture too backward to be free? The people of the Middle East have been oppressed by the lust for power of a few men, not their devotion to religion. As Bush countered in his speech: “A religion that demands individual moral accountability, and encourages the encounter of the individual with God, is fully compatible with the rights and responsibilities of self-government.”

And again the problems of oppression, poverty and stagnation “are not the failures of a culture or a religion. These are the failures of political and economic doctrines.”

A great and strong democracy is not made overnight. It, perhaps, can not even be realized in a few years time. It could take decades and it may never succeed without aid to protect the many against the few that would still seek to oppress.

We were not born a perfect nation. Nor have we reached our zenith yet. In its infancy even the great “American Experiment” allowed so very few to be involved. From our moment of independence, it would be 144 years before women would be given the vote. It was nearly 200 years before African-Americans would truly realize the same.

We are nearly all of us a people descended from the oppressed. Perhaps our grandparents were fortunate enough to be free at the founding of this nation. But they were still citizens of a nation escaping persecution and oppression. A very many of them came in servitude—white and black. They, like the people of the Middle East today, could only dream of the freedom we have.

What if the intellectual elite had told them democracy could not work, a free society could not stand, and they listened?

With the freedom they created comes our responsibility to others.

One man in this election is as fully devoted to finding peace through spreading democracy as Reagan was twenty years ago. Only one man has that resolve. That is why I believe this election is important. In this election one vote does make a difference.

So when we vote on November 2nd, we must remember that—once again—while we may doubt, in this moment we must not fail.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on BlogShares