Dear family and friends –
Before I begin, I’ll give you all fair warning: this is a lengthy e-mail that may not be of interest to everyone; however, what is written below reflects a few of the issues about which I feel most strongly. It may be easiest to print this e-mail out and read it before bed – for those of you who are not interested, it’s at least guaranteed to put you to sleep! Thanks in advance for your time, and, as always, replies and feedback are appreciated.
I’m not great about keeping in touch via e-mail. I also rarely use e-mail for anything beyond correspondence, like solicitation or passing along forwarded jokes. Today, I’m writing an e-mail that is admittedly an endorsement of my own political values and interests. Most of you know me as someone who is very interested in and dedicated to participation in the political arena. Whether that involves issue advocacy, government service or simply taking the time to vote, my hope is that all people become at least vaguely aware of the importance of participation. As reluctant as I am to say it, we cannot wait to become involved, or at least aware, of the issues and players affecting the 2008 presidential election. A handful of voters in faraway states and a star-struck news media are, as usual, playing the largest roles in narrowing the field of candidates. Now is the time to inject ourselves into the process; now is the time for us to make a difference.
I’m going to divide this e-mail into two parts: 1) a few reasons why I left the Republican Party, which will come as a surprise to those of you who remember my support of the GOP, and 2) an endorsement of the one presidential candidate who I believe has the best credentials to be the President of the United States.
In the summer of 2006, I left the Republican Party after nearly six years of staunch support. Simply put, the Republican Party had failed to be responsible with the power that voters had given them. The GOP became a party with misplaced priorities, questionable ethics and displayed a flagrant lack of concern for the issues that voters thought to be most important. In 2006, several incredibly important issues faced the country, and with majorities in the House and the Senate as well as control of the presidency, the Republican Party should have been able to make a significant amount of headway in tackling subjects like immigration reform and healthcare.
Instead, the GOP decided to focus on issues designed to rally their base – changing the Constitution to make flag burning illegal and to discriminate against homosexuals (bigotry under the transparent veil of “family values”). The Republican leadership in Congress spent the entire summer wasting time on these issues, and then – as usual – took a vacation for the entire month of August. In 2006, your elected officials in Washington, D.C . – 535 men and women who are elected by us to do a job and receive, collectively, over $100 million a year in salaries to do so – spent just over 90 days in the nation’s capital. Instead of capitalizing on their lock on power and working to pass important legislation to secure the border or to help insure 45 million Americans without health insurance, the Republicans wasted time playing politics. Corruption and scandals also rocked the national GOP, tarnishing the reputations of elected and appointed officials in Congress and the White House and putting a definitive end to the Republican claim that theirs is the party of morals and ethics.
And if you think the Bush administration is making wise decisions, consider this: President Bush just rejected a $7 billion per year increase for health insurance for children of poor families. He claimed the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps thousands of needy Kansas children, was “too expensive,” among other things. At the same time, President Bush was asking Congress for an additional $200 billion to continue the war in Iraq – a war that the majority of Americans now reject. Think about it — $7 billion a year for health insurance was too much for this administration, but this country (at the president’s request and with Congress’ approval) spends around $2 billion a week in Iraq. Regardless of your feelings about the war, such a heavy contrast in funding priorities doesn’t seem quite right.
My disgust with the party didn’t stop with our federal government; Kansas state Republicans were equally comfortable in their majorities, spending time on issues that quite simply didn’t matter, including successfully changing our state constitution to discriminate based on sexual orientation and allowing our attorney general to run roughshod over our privacy rights. When their narrow visions began to force prominent officials from the party (like Mark Parkinson, now our lieutenant governor), the GOP leadership refused to assess their own priorities, instead criticizing those who had left as “traitors.” I knew that my own political vision didn’t line up 100% with the GOP platform. The Kansas GOP now disciplines Republican officials who do not toe the party line, enforcing the party’s – not the electorate’s – vision through “loyalty committees.” I didn’t need to be a part of such an organization, and I will gladly be called a “traitor” if it means retaining my freedom of thought. I became an unaffiliated voter in August of 2006 – just a few months before the rest of America soundly rejected the GOP majorities in Congress – and haven’t regretted my decision one bit.
In just over a year, we’ll be facing another crucial election – quite possibly the most important election that my generation has ever seen. The war in Iraq, health care, immigration reform, Social Security, environmental policies and alternative energy research are all issues that demand urgent attention. To many, it seems far too early to dwell on an election that is over a year away and a race that still boasts over 15 candidates. Unfortunately, waiting to become engaged in the process will only serve to limit your choices. By February 5th, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and a host of other early primary states will have picked the two major candidates who will square off next November, and their choices will in large part be guided by a media industry and a political establishment obsessed with big names, big money and petty issues. Even though Kansas will not have the opportunity to make a difference through a primary election, we can become involved in other ways.
The issues and problems that the next administration will face affect us all. I don’t need to look any further than my own experiences to see how important these issues are. I have money taken out of each of my paychecks for Social Security, but unless progress is made on strengthening the system, it won’t be there for me when I retire. I may be around for another 60 or 70 years, and I’d like to see our environment in better shape when I leave than when I got here; that starts with strong government backing of proven alternative energy methods. In 2004, a friend of mine – 2nd Lt. Mike Goins – was shot in the back and killed in Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind that the top issues facing this country have touched all of us in one way or another. With so many important subjects to be dealt with, the next president needs to be a decisive leader with strong principles, a depth of knowledge and experience and must speak openly and honestly to the American people.
Senator Joseph Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, is the best-qualified candidate in the presidential race and exudes all of the above mentioned characteristics. While his name may not be nearly as well known as those of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Rudy Giuliani, Biden (pronounced BY-den) is more experienced than all of the top-tier candidates combined. He has spent 35 years in the United States Senate, at different times chairing the Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. No presidential candidate is as well-versed in foreign affairs as Senator Biden, and in his three-and-a-half decades in the Senate, he has worked with all the major players crucial to the success of a presidency.
Often (and inexplicably so), such Washington experience is looked down upon. In the short time I have been interviewing applicants to work for my company, I’ve come to greatly respect and admire the benefits that previous knowledge can bring. As voters and employers of sorts, we shouldn’t settle for anything less than the most qualified candidate for the job. The mainstream media and the political establishment would have you believe that money and “electability” are the key qualifications to be president. I believe it should be one’s ability to do the job. We shouldn’t settle for less than the best candidate simply because we are told that it is an inevitability.
Senator Biden’s success in the Senate includes the 1994 crime bill, which saw passage of the Violence Against Women Act and was instrumental in helping lower crime rates across the nation throughout the rest of the 1990s. He was also the first senator to speak out against the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s. In 1992, Biden traveled to Belgrade, looked Slobodan Milosevic in the eye and told him that he was a war criminal. Three years later, the world would finally agree with him; NATO air strikes put an end to the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, and in 1998, NATO forces stopped atrocities in Kosovo. Senator Biden’s early advocacy for the oppressed Croats and Muslims in the Balkans reflects the concern for the oppressed that has permeated his career. His principles are clearly evident in the positions that he takes on various issues – earlier this year, he refused to vote against funding for the war in Iraq even though many of his colleagues did so in order to appease liberal advocacy groups, saying that voting against funding would hurt our troops. For Biden, it wasn’t worth making a political point if it meant denying our men and women in uniform needed resources. His experience has proven that he’s dedicated to doing his job, even if that comes at the expense of a few votes. He’s very clearly a man of principle and does not engage in political gamesmanship.
With an incredible breadth of experience and success behind him as well as a straight-talking style that leaves voters knowing exactly where he stands, Joe Biden is my choice for president, and I’d be honored if you’d give him a look based on my recommendation. You can find a lot of information about Senator Biden on his campaign Web site: http://www.joebiden.com/home. What his campaign needs at this crucial time is financial support, so if you like Senator Biden, please consider donating to his campaign as well.
I’d also be grateful if you’d forward this e-mail to everyone in your address books. The mainstream media is dedicated to covering the big names that have big money; if we’re to have an effect on who is our next president, we’ve got to take action, and that action can be as simple as forwarding this e-mail to your friends and family. Now is the time to get involved and make a difference. The 2008 election should not be another choice between “the lesser of two evils,” as many voters claim the last two have been. Early action and support can ensure that we end up with a president who truly represents the greatness of this country.
Thanks for your time; love and best wishes –
Jesse J. Manning
Chief of Editorial Operations
Infoition News Services, Inc.