I have voted in 10 U.S. presidential elections. This is the first time that I have been truly concerned about what the outcome will mean in terms of the immediate and long-term future of this country and the world.
Here are some of the questions that I am wrestling with.
1. How is it possible that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a nation that had the sympathy and support of most of the world now is looked upon as a "bully?"
2. How can it be that a country that in 2001 had the financial means to eliminate the national debt and adequately fund social security is now running $500-billion-a-year deficits?
3. How is it that we are fighting two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, and also fighting a "war on terrorism" at home by expanding "homeland security," yet we have passed four successive tax cuts disproportionately benefiting the wealthiest Americans. Where is the equity of sacrifice, where the fiscal responsibility?
4. Why is it that a nation that possesses the strongest military forces in the history of the world has to activate the National Guard and reserve units, sending them overseas, while at the same time forcing enlistees in the "volunteer" military to extend their service against their will?
5. Do we have a plan in Iraq? How long will our troops be bogged down there? Have we already destabilized the middle east in such a fashion as to provide opportunity and encouragement to bin Laden and the very terrorists that we profess to oppose?
6. Why are we allowing our environmental protections, dating back to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, to be systematically eroded, not by due process of law, but by executive decree?
7. Why have we abandoned the government's natural regulatory functions in such a way as to allow and encourage harmful criminal activities such as the savings and loans scandal, Enron's overcharging California for electrical power, then "cooking the books" and spiriting away billions of dollars from ordinary investors and pensioners, etc., etc., etc.?
8. With our "borrow, borrow, borrow, charge, charge, charge" economic policy, are we burdening our children and grandchildren with paying off the national debt when the well runs dry?
9. Given the prominent influence of extreme radical conservatives in the present administration, are we headed toward a theocracy featuring a series of holy wars abroad and an increase in religious and racial intolerance at home?
If you love your country, vote. Please.