Nearing the time to vote – Democrat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Less than two weeks to go before all this campaigning comes to a screeching halt. It may be hard to believe since, as I mentioned last week, I seem to be obsessed with politics these days. The truth is, I’m sick of this campaign and definitely want to take a break from the dirty business of politics.

My obsession hasn’t been with politics so much as it has been with trying to sound an alarm about what the current administration was planning before it sent us to war in Iraq and with an attempt to get people to realize that when our elected representatives distort the truth, deliberately mislead the country, or lie to American citizens that it represents a threat to this nation.

I have failed miserably in that mission and, in the process, got caught up in the tawdry obfuscations that politics has become.

The reason I haven’t endorsed a candidate for president, or any other office, is because my mission was not to convert anyone to anything. I was attempting to get people to recognize that we had been lied to, that the Bush administration is still lying to us, and that Americans should be outraged that their elected leader – whether they voted for him or not – had violated his oath of office and every ethical and moral tenet of a democratic system of government.

That’s where I failed. I failed to understand how deeply partisan most people are. The hard core Democrats are going to support the Democratic candidate; the hard core Republicans (or conservative Democrats in this neck of the woods) are going to support the Republican candidate. It doesn’t matter what I say. I doesn’t matter how many facts I point out. It doesn’t matter that I can (and did) cite instance and instance of deception and outright lying by President Bush and members of his administration.

To the Republicans, Bush can do no wrong. I guess that’s why he can’t think of a single thing he’s done wrong or would have done differently over the past three years and nine months in office.

You’ve never seen me call President Bush an idiot, as some partisan Democrats have, and you’ve never seem me attack him for alleged misdeeds from his past (desertion, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.). I’ve always stuck with the facts and presented opinions based only on those facts and my understanding of how the world works.

My focus has always been to help disclose the truth, not to denigrate the man. But people have read into what I’ve written what they see through their darkly colored glasses. They think that an attack on Bush for lying about nuclear weapons programs in Iraq or for falsifying alliances between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and ascribe to the person who pointed out these obvious truths nefarious reasons based upon the most radical and out of touch demagoguery they can think of. &uot;Keith Hoggard says OUR President is a liar,&uot; they might say,&uot; so he must be some pacifist tax and spend liberal who wants to dismantle our national security, set all the criminals free, fire all the law enforcement officers, and burn our churches so the godless communists can tell us what to do.&uot;

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m none of those things.

I’m a Jeffersonian democrat that thinks elected officials are servants to the people. I believe the president is accountable for not only the things he says and does, but also for everything that anyone in his administration says or does.

Based on that standard alone, Bush must go.

He has betrayed this nation by first insisting upon things he knew at the time were untrue and has compounded that betrayal by continuing to insist that he did nothing wrong. If he would at least admit error and take responsibility, I might not be so upset. But he refuses to even acknowledge making any mistakes, much less wrongdoing.

With great power comes great responsibility. Bush has been given unprecedented power by the Republican Congress, but he has taken no responsibility for anything that has happened during his administration, nor even assigned any responsibility to those who work for him.

Even former CIA Chief George Tenet was never publicly called to task for the failures in intelligence that, in part, cost 1,100 American soldiers their lives in Iraq. Bush, in fact, said Tenet did a great job.

Don’t we deserve better than that? Forget about the conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat labels for a second and ask yourself whether you think your president should tell you the truth.

If you think he must sometimes mislead the American people for the &uot;greater good&uot;, then you are lost. You are not looking for democracy, liberty or freedom; you are looking for a monarch, tyrant, or dictator. If a few more people, based on the polls I’ve seen recently, come to your way of thinking, then this grand experiment in democracy we call the United States of America is seriously in jeopardy.

Personally (I am not speaking for this newspaper or its corporate ownership) will vote for John Kerry on Nov. 2. I endorse Sen. Kerry because he is more honest, cares more about preserving American democracy, and is genuinely concerned with individual Americans.

I don’t think he’s perfect. I don’t see how, for example, he can do all he wants to accomplish and still maintain fiscal responsibility, but I feel the same about Bush and I know that Bush has been fiscally irresponsible for the past three years and nine months.

I encourage everyone to vote for Kerry/Edwards and to take an active role in getting others to do the same. Even if you have your doubts about Kerry, Bush has a proven track record for irresponsibility, dangerous imperialism, and incompetence in office.

In fact, and I have always abhorred this practice, I hope everyone just pulls the Democratic lever (or pushes the right place on the touchscreen ballot). The Republican Party has become arrogant with power and is leading this nation toward a disaster as monumental as the Great Depression. They need to discover a little humility to go with their Bible-thumping holier-than-thou rhetoric.

You folks that still support Bush after the mess he’s gotten this nation into can still escape from the dark forces you’ve embraced. Vote Kerry and vote Democrat and then you can rebuild the Republican Party into something that promotes America and Americans rather than gives lip-service to both while only seeking to secure greater and greater power and control.

It’s time for a change. It’s well past time for a change.