question both for their service-but should be consistent. Most people will not be voting based upon something that happened 30 years ago.
John Kerry's choice of John Edwards will probably not be the shrewd move it initially appeared to be. I actually admire Edwards. After all he is a good looking guy, from humble origins. But he is not known nationally and has limited involvement in the political realm, with a spotty voting record as a citizen. His one term, six year U. S. Senate career was spotty as well, and accomplishments were few and far between. It was highly unlikely he would have won re-election in North Carolina, and his inclusion will not help in the Democratic ticket in the South. The Kerry-Edwards ticket is liberal.
One of the best means of controlling rumors and innuendoes is the Annenberg Political Fact Check, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Their website at http://www.factcheck.org reports that "John Kerry is fond of saying 'I led the fight' on a lot of things -- against Arctic drilling, against Bush's Medicare prescription drug legislation, for federal grants for 100,000 new police officers, against Newt Gingrich's attempts to lessen environmental regulations." The Annenberg website points out that "reporters who cover Congress often gave others credit for the leading roles in some of those fights -- with scant mention of Kerry."
My Democratic friends who clearly love their country as much as I do, have challenged me in recent days with their favorite charge: the Republican Party is racist. Something I totally reject. But that does not mean we do not have work to do in building bridges within the African-American, Hispanic and other races within the community. It is a legitimate issue we need to have an open and honest discussion about, and it is something the party of Abraham Lincoln should welcome.
It is true in the 8th Congressional District of Tennessee, there is a Republican by the name of James Hart running against John Tanner. John Tanner must be re-elected. Mr. Hart is a racist. Hart's candidacy hurts the entire state. I know it hurts Republicans. Racism is wrong, not only in theory---but in practice. All people regardless of political party should work to see James Hart is defeated and a message is sent that this is not someone who should ever hold elective office.
One of my heroes Theodore Roosevelt wrote a letter to Jane Addams in August 1912 where he challenged her to write on the "new movement and what we Progressives are striving for in the way of social justice, especially for the women and children and those men who have the hardest time in life." It is okay, within the Republican Party to have squabbles within the family. It is all right to have them in open debate. No need for secrecy. Leaders arise when they take on the hard issues. When did conservatives quit being considered progressive?
When Republicans start having civil discussions, rather than the war-like maligning of sincere people, the political base will be expanded. The political slogan tough times requires a tough person is very appropriate-but we can be cordial in our words and deeds and still have resolve. Candidates who reach across the aisle to either party should be applauded. When political leaders serve they need to demonstrate that even though they were elected in a partisan environment they must govern fairly all citizens without favor. Partisanship may have its privilege, but public service does not need partisanship. Still we must adhere to our core principles.
Republicans have identified their principles and they served us well, but now we are seeing them being eroded. The last Republican split occurred between party conservatives and liberals. It severely weakened the Republican Party. Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York emerged as a spokesman for the liberals in the Republican Party. US Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona became the leading voice of the conservatives in the Republican Party.
Goldwater's strong leadership allowed conservatives to gain access to the party machinery and gradually place the conservative stamp on the party's principles and actions. In addition, conservatives strategically worked hard to recruit and expand their influence in the South, in urban areas and among ethnic groups. Reagan followed this strategy expanded by Lee Atwater. Karl Rove also has adopted this blueprint. Conservatives champion the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Republicans have long viewed the liberal vision within their party as a losing proposition and liberals have little influence. Likewise, Democrats need to look internally. The conservative voice is largely silent.
Interestingly at the Republican Convention the speaker who identifies with President Bush on major issues and philosophy is Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat. Miller was not afforded a place in the 2004 Democratic Convention, despite giving the nominating speech for Bill Clinton in 1992. Miller has had his voice silenced in his own party.
Anytime a voice is silenced, it eventually finds a place where it can be heard. In his 2003 State of the Union Address, President Bush told the nation: "We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, other presidents, and other generations." We need to exercise true leadership and we cannot afford to wait because problems only grow.
Don't let your voice be silenced. Speak out.
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached by email at: