• Kerry for president
    October 30,2004
     

    The election next week occurs at a time of crisis for the United States, both military and moral. It is a time when the credibility of the United States government at home and abroad is in tatters. The election of John Kerry as president is essential for restoring the moral standing of the United States and for bringing judgment and experience to the White House. Division at home and crisis abroad adds an unusual sense of urgency to this endorsement.

    It may strike some as curious to assert that President Bush has undermined the moral standing of the United States. After all, he is a president who has made a point of taking what he views as the moral position on a host of issues. But truthfulness is a moral quality, too, and it is a quality that is fundamental to leadership. By restoring trust in the word of the American president, John Kerry will be able to redress the betrayal for which President Bush is responsible.

    It is not too harsh to say that Bush and Vice President Cheney have created a thicket of lies to justify the war in Iraq. They have said whatever is convenient to say. They have created an impression, now widely shared by the American public, that Saddam Hussein was connected to the attacks of Sept. 11. Then they have denied that they ever said such a thing. They pushed false information on the American public and the international community about the threat represented by Iraq. When confronted with inconvenient truths about Iraq — such as a recent report that U.N. inspections were working and that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction — they lied about the report.

    Bush appears to create policy without regard to its effect in the real world. His programs are advanced with a kind of theological certainty that does not require truthful explanation. Tax cuts are viewed as good, and a realistic appraisal of their fairness and their economic effects is beside the point. The result has been record deficits that have crippled the capacity of the federal government to carry out its responsibilities at home and abroad.

    John Kerry's emphasis on stem cell research touches on an area where Bush's narrowness has stood in the way of scientific advancement. Indeed, Bush has a habit of disregarding science when it presents him with inconvenient truths. Thus, he has a record of censoring from government reports — on global warming and other issues — scientific findings that are not to his liking. It is another way he has damaged the credibility of the United States.

    Bush's moral agenda has done serious damage to the welfare of millions of people as he has stood in the way of international family planning and AIDS education. If he wins another term, he will be in a position to appoint Supreme Court Justices willing to rob women of their reproductive rights in the name of a private religious belief.

    As president, John Kerry would return professionalism and reason to government. He would begin to reverse the enormous loss of revenue caused by billions in tax cuts given to the wealthiest Americans. He would re-establish environmental protections to which Bush has taken a machete. He would establish an energy policy that would begin to wean us from Middle Eastern oil and the geopolitical tragedies that our dependence has created.

    Kerry has the experience in foreign policy needed to make the United States a partner again in the quest for peace in the Middle East, an essential step in fighting terrorism. He has the understanding of diplomacy and international norms needed to establish standards that will prevent the administration from dragging the honor of the United States through the gutters of Abu Ghraib.

    John Kerry has grown during the campaign. Increasingly, his appeal to the American people reflects his recognition of the moral emptiness of the Bush administration and the need for a leader with stature, experience and understanding.

    The best way to understand the Bush administration is to recognize that, for all of his talk of strength, Bush is a weak leader, swayed by advisers who talk tough, hindered by his lack of experience and knowledge. Kerry brings the strength of his experience and understanding, which is real strength and not just talk. Kerry will not strut and pose as Bush as done. He has found it difficult to match the bluster of Bush. But the Kerry campaign has revealed virtues of steadiness and confidence that many voters may have had questions about at the outset.

    To return honor and trust to the office of the presidency, they ought to vote for John Kerry.

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