Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Today, this year, we Americans stand at the crossroads of the future in a way that is only seen rarely. This November, we must choose a future not only for ourselves, but in many ways for the Middle-East and much of the world as well. And frankly, I think it is a burden most of us would rather not bear. 8 months from now we must choose between hope or isolation, intervention or passivity, progress or death. And frankly, I cannot decide which candidate represents what future.

The past decade was rather staid and predictable. The Berlin wall fell in ’88, and Regan’s Evil Empire of the Soviets was collapsing. Life was easy. The greatest controversies were what today seem trivialities. Violence in the media. ESRB ratings. Irrational exuberance in the stock market. On and on.

Bill Clinton oversaw a drastic reduction in our defense spending and intelligence gathering capabilities. Not because he was a fool, but because there appeared to be no significant threats on the horizon (one could argue that this was a direct result of our reduced human intelligence capabilities, but that is neither here nor there). But we forgot something; the legacies of European Colonialism and the Cold War were still out there. Simmering. But they were over there. Someplace else. Someone else’s problem.

Then, on September 11th, 2001 it all changed. How we viewed the world needed to be reexamined on a fundamental level.

No longer can we sit idly by and let corrupt cesspits be run by tin-pot autocrats. This time is not that of Metternich, trying to contain nationalistic sentiments to hold our multi-ethnic hodge-podge empire together. But rather we live in a globalized world, in which reactionary forces seek to undo our prosperity, our equality, our progress, our freedom to further their ability to exercise personal power.

It is for these reasons that we must intervene. It is for these reasons we must actively pursue policies to alleviate poverty, deprivation and inequity throughout the world. It is no longer enough, to be the example, the Shining City on a Hill, but we must stride forth boldly. For to fail is to invite even greater ruin on ourselves, or friends, and even our enemies.

But don’t listen to me. I’ll let Tony Blair articulate what I mean.

How will we do this? How will we pay for this? Not with cold war mentalities. Not with $600 Billion deficits (not including spending on Iraq and Afghanistan). Where are the war bonds to pay for our servicemen and women overseas? Where is the talk of balancing the budget through taxation and spending cuts? But more importantly, where is the talk of what we must do next? Or is that ‘vision thing’ inapplicable during an election year?

I don’t know who I will vote for yet. There are deep flaws (in my mind) with both of our presumptive candidates. Bush never met a spending bill he didn’t like, and he seems awfully cozy with the religious right of late. Kerry on the other hand, never met a defense spending bill or intelligence appropriation bill for which he would vote, and never mind how some of his past opinions have deeply offended many veterans.

This time, it isn’t The Economy Stupid, it the Future. What I want to see from the candidates is a Stratigic Overview of how they will lead the west in defeating Islamic fundamentalism.Thus far, neither candidate has done anything to do this. You both have 8 months. The world is waiting.


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