Friday, October 22, 2004

On the upcoming presidential election

I speak to those Americans who do not have a loved one risking their
lives in Iraq. As you go about your normal life, unencumbered by the
burden to make any personal sacrifice for the war that we are waging
in Iraq, let me be the one to ask something of you.

I ask that you pledge one hour of your time, per week, to review
the images and biographies of those who have given their everything to
continue this democracy.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/

This action by you is made more necessary by the fact that our current
president has seen fit to remove the uncomfortable images of personal
sacrifice from our view. Through his actions no images are allowed which
display the flag draped caskets of our soldiers returning home to the
their country - the country for which they gave their lives. My hope is
that the impact of this small individual effort will lead you to determine
for yourself if our president waged this war with the same honesty as
those who fought and are fighting in it. Democracies require much of the
individuals who share in its freedom. At the top of that list I would
place knowledge, wisdom, and responsibility.

What leads me to question the decision to fight the war in Iraq is
simple. No sacrifice has been asked of the many - only of those few men
and women in the military and the loved ones they leave behind. For the
rest of us it is life as usual - with the added benefit of lower taxes
for everyone, especially the rich. War, with no individual sacrifice and
lower taxes - it doesn't get anymore painless then that.

War by the very nature of the ultimate sacrifice made by some should
require that everyone share in the pain - only then will the best
democratic decisions be made about the future of that war and the wars
to follow. For me there is something grotesque about a country at war
with sacrifice asked of only a few.

If even the president believed this war was justifiable because of
9/11 then why didn't he ask for all of us to sacrifice. With an honest
and provable justification why didn't our leader ask us to pay higher
taxes, or receive lower or no tax cuts, so that we could all contribute
to paying for the war today - and not leave it to our children. With an
honest and provable justification why didn't our leader ask each of
us to move to more fuel efficient cars to reduce the demand for oil
and to use the gas savings to pay for the taxes that would pay for the
war - so our children do not have one more burden placed on their
shoulders. With an honest and provable justification why hasn't he asked
of us to sacrifice even today. Could it be that he and his advisors
realized all along that we the people would require sufficient and
provable justification before we as individuals pledged our commitment
to sacrifice individually.

I leave you with a question to ponder when you walk into the voting
booth on November 2. Do you believe your president has been honest
with you about why he waged this war in Iraq? There will undoubtedly
be many more conflicts in our very near future to ultimately win the
war that began for us all on 9/11. These conflicts will require the
full range of our leaders ability - not just resolve. Unlike our
current president make your future choice using all the knowledge and
wisdom you can find here on earth. In my opinion, then, and only then,
have you acted responsibly and made yourself ready to ask and receive
the wisdom that resides beyond this earth.