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“This Election determines The Fate of our Nation.”

“In that this will be my last column before the presidential
election there will be no sarcasm, no attempts at witty repartee.
The topic is too serious, and the stakes are too high.
This November we will vote in the only election during our
lifetime that will truly matter. Because America is at a
once-in-a-generation crossroads, more than an election hangs in the
balance.Down one path lies retreat, abdication and a reign of ambivalence.
Down the other lies a nation that is aware of its past and accepts
the daunting obligation its future demands. If we choose poorly,
the consequences will echo through the next 50 years of history.

If we, in a spasm of frustration, turn out the current occupant of
the White House, the message to the world and ourselves will be
twofold. First, we will reject the notion that America can do big
things. Once a nation that tamed a frontier, stood down the Nazis
and stood upon the moon, we will announce to the world that
bringing democracy to the Middle East is too big of a task for us.
But more significantly, we will signal to future presidents that
as voters, we are unwilling to tackle difficult challenges,
preferring caution to boldness, embracing the mediocrity that has
characterized other civilizations.
The defeat of President Bush will send a chilling message to
future presidents who may need to make difficult, yet unpopular
decisions.

America has always been a nation that rises to the demands of
history regardless of the costs or appeal. If we turn away from
that legacy, we turn away from who we are.

Second, we inform every terrorist organization on the globe that
the lesson of Somalia was well learned. In Somalia we showed
terrorists that you don’t need to defeat America on the
battlefield when you can defeat them in the newsroom. They learned
that a wounded America can become a defeated America.
Twenty-four-hour news stations and daily tracing polls will do the
heavy lifting, turning a cut into a fatal blow. Except that Iraq
is Somalia times 10. The election of John Kerry will serve notice
to every terrorist in every cave that the soft underbelly of American
power is the timidity of American voters.
Terrorists will know that a steady stream of grizzly photos for
CNN is all you need to break the will of the American people. Our
own self-doubt will take it from there. Bin Laden will recognize
that he can topple any American administration without setting
foot on the homeland.
It is said that America’s W.W.II generation is its ‘greatest
generation.’

But my greatest fear is that it will become known as America’s
‘last generation.’ Born in the bleakness of the Great Depression
and hardened in the fire of WW II, they may be the last American
generation that understands the meaning of duty, honor and sacrifice.
It isdifficult to admit, but I know these terms are spoken with only
hollow detachment by many (but not all) in my generation. Too many
citizens today mistake ‘living in America’ as ‘being an American.’
But America has always been more of an idea than a place. When you
sign on, you do more than buy real estate. You accept a set of
values and responsibilities.

This November, my generation, which has been absent too long, must
grasp the obligation that comes with being an American, or fade
into the oblivion they may deserve. I believe that 100 years from now
historians will look back at the election of 2004 and see it as the
decisive election of our century. Depending on the outcome, they will
describe it as the moment America joined the ranks of ordinary
nations; or they will describe it as the moment the prodigal sons
and daughters of the greatest generation accepted their burden as
caretakers of the City on the Hill.”

Mathew Manweller


Posted by bbeard on 10/22 at 06:34 PM in Blogging

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