By David Michael Rothschild
many of you, my interest in the 2004 presidential campaign
was born not out of a bold vision for the next four years,
but out of a very real concern for the future of our country.
George Bush's cowboy diplomacy has made America an international
pariah, spoiling generations of good will, while guaranteeing
years of costly and unnecessary war. Young Americans are dying
daily in Iraq, a war created on false pretences and a peace
that lacked any serious planning. Bush tells us that freedom
of speech is expendable, because we are in a uniquely dangerous
security situation. He has done little to restore the legitimacy
of our electoral process and implies that those people who
question his pernicious policies are traitors. How can we
export democracy and promote the American political system
as a positive alternative to current religious autocratic
governments, when we consider democracy and freedom of speech
expendable at the first sign of trouble?
Bush mortgaged my generation's future: our tax money, our
education, and our Social Security and Medicare, to pay for
his wars and his contributors (read Halliburton). No one disputes
that two trillion dollars in tax cuts will produce some jobs,
but Bush is prevaricating the eventual costs versus the potential
gains. The tax cuts are going to pay for themselves in the
same manner that Gulf War II was going to be paid for by Iraqi
oil money. He equivocates the effect and design of his tax
cuts to convince people that he is being fair, while he makes
our tax code increasingly regressive.
Bush obfuscates the relationship between business and the
environment, convincing citizens that protecting the environment
costs jobs and that his dangerous environmental policies restore
a legitimate balance between business and nature. He has provided
shallow and misleading answers to our current health care
crisis. He uses our nation's money and power to close health
clinics at home, and around the world, because they refuse
to follow his mandates and fight AIDS without condoms.
He has declared married gays as the greatest threat to our
security. In theory, marriage should increase stability.
He used the FCC to investigate Janet Jackson's breast, while
refusing to sit for the 9-11 Commission. He spent more money
investigating the Columbia disaster than 9-11, the outing
of CIA agent, and Republican senate staffers stealing internal
Democratic memos combined. He is not interested in accountability
or truth. The federal government, led by a self-proclaimed
federalist, harasses and arrests medicinal marijuana growers
in the "sovereign" state of California and doctors in any
state that allows euthanasia.
George Bush uses fear as a tool to mask his intentions and
policy. It is the central theme of his campaign. That is why
80-year-old nuns need to take off their shoes at airports
while millions of tons of cargo enter the country unchecked.
He is a threat to our security, our liberty, our health, our
education, our environment, our solvency, and our future.
He promised honor and integrity and delivered mendacity. Yet,
while he wants me to fear terrorists and unbigoted progressives,
my interest in the 2004 election is grounded in a different
fear. A fear of America as a bankrupt nation, raped of its
liberty, power, and prosperity by eight years of shortsighted
pillaging by Texas oilmen.
Howard Dean tapped into my fear. "I Want My Country Back!"
With that message, Howard Dean encapsulated my anxiety and
concern about the course of American policy. He refused to
be bullied by Bush's popularity. He took on the President
and tried to make him accountable for his actions. Dean built
his base on fear, using the inimical policies of Bush as the
basis for his support. Bob Graham used his pulpit to let the
American people learn the truth about the War in Iraq. Wesley
Clark physically grabbed the American flag and let everyone
know how patriotic it is question the President. John Edwards
provided the rhetoric that allows us to connect with those
American people who are in the "other America" (i.e. everyone
but the millionaires) that Bush has stolen from to pay for
his tax cuts for the wealthy.
John Kerry is a better leader because of their insights and
examples. John Kerry is the "real deal." He has allowed me
to channel my hatred of Bush into a new hope for America.
He will restore respect and friendship from other nations.
Just having a leader who demonstrates a desire for peace and
understanding will provide more security in a day than any
aggressive war could possibly accomplish.
He has a plan to provide health care to children. He promises
to fund education initiatives (a key reason that "No Child
Left Behind" will never work is the $6 billion that Bush forgot
to include for it in his budget.). He will work to control
the cost of higher education, the key to upward mobility.
He will provide relief to states when they need it, to ensure
that basic services (like Medicaid and CHIPS) are not cut
during recessions. He will reinstate a progressive tax structure
to provide fair distribution of sacrifice while also promoting
corporate investment and growth. He will provide funding for
alternative energy that will end our dependence on international
oil, spur business with the exportation of technology, and
will save the environment for future generations. Furthermore,
it will free generations of American soldiers from fighting
and dying for oil.
He will endorse full civil rights for all Americans. He
will protect freedom of speech and control a government that
actually promotes democracy, abroad and at home. Kerry will
protect the freedom to control your own body and the separation
of church and state. He will restore the American Dream for
all of those left behind by Bush's targeted upper class gifts
and frightened by Bush's irresponsible foreign policy and
bigoted right-wing social agenda.
John Kerry will become the next President of the United
States by offering America a choice between the Real Deal
and Bush's Raw Deal. One program uses diplomacy to save money,
lives, and prestige, while making America safer and more secure.
The other program is so concerned about diverting attention
from domestic programs, that it is willing to sacrifice the
prosperity and peace of a nation. One program offers a fiscally
responsible economic plan that ensures the solvency of our
social programs while stimulating real job growth. The other
provides large benefits to the upper class while starving
funds for programs that help promote equality of opportunity.
Finally, the Kerry program emphasizes common sense social
programs that provide safety and security while not abridging
our individual liberty. The Bush plan intrusively dismisses
liberty and justice for unrealistic social engineering that
is defied daily by our actions and our desires and is hypocritical
to his personal and party ideology.
John Kerry's Real Deal will not only save us from George
Bush's Raw Deal, but will give us a renewed faith in America's
ability to deliver for its citizens and serve as a beacon
for the world.