Category: Politics

Peace?

I am currently reading Just War Against Terror by Jean Bethke Elshtain for my International Relations class. She is a professor at the University of Chicago, and this book is incredible.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told that my opinion on the use of force is not “the Christian way of doing things.” I believe that sometimes force is necessary to create peace. I believe in the “Just War Theory.” And yet I am often told that “peace is the only way.”

Well, this author sees things the same way that I do, and the way that she describes these things is far better than I ever could.

“…Peace should not be universally lauded even

as war is universally condemned.

Each must be evaluated critically.

Many horrors and injustices can

traffic under the cover of “peace.”

Indeed, there are worse things than war.

The twentieth century showed us many of those worse things,

including gulags and genocides.

The world would have been much better off if the violence of

particular regimes had been confronted on the battlefield earlier;

fewer lives would have been lost over the long run…

Because the Church is to serve all, and

because Christians believe evil is real,

both justice and charity may compel us

to serve our neighbor and the common

good by using force to stop wrongdoing

and to punish wrongdoers.”

(p. 51-52, Just War Against Terror.)

She also states,

Some versions of ‘peace’ violate norms

of justice and do so egregiously.

For the sake of keeping the peace,

statemen often acquiesce

in terrible injustices.

Peace is a good, and so is justice,

but neither is an absolute good.

Neither automatically trumps the other,

save for the pacifists who claim that

‘violence is never the solution,’

‘fighting never settled anything,’

and ‘violence only begets more violence.’

Does it? Not always, not necessarily.

One can point to one historical example after another of force

being deployed in the name of justice

and leading to not only a less violent

world but a more just one.” (p. 53-54)

As I have been reading first-hand accounts of life in Saudi Arabia, and most recently about Saddam’s regime, I am absolutely appalled that people still think that it was not worth it to go to war. I am currently reading a book about a woman who was imprisoned and tortured for absolutely no reason. In this book, she shares the stories of the women who were in her cell (about 20 others), who were also imprisoned and tortured, for no reason.

They tell of the horrible things that happened under Saddam, and it makes my heart break. But it also makes me SO thankful to live in a country that knows that sometimes diplomacy just won’t work–especially after it has been tried for 12+ years.

This was NOT the “wrong war”–not at all. Sometimes peace is impossible without force, and I wholeheartedly believe that it is the same in this case. The millions of lives that were saved from torture and tyranny are worth the effort and the cost.

Article of Interest…

Every once in a while I find an article that I really enjoy–this is one of those. I not only enjoy the content, but also the people they quoted: my former “employer” (it was an internship) former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Grover Norquist–who I met at one of his meetings (“Grover’s Corner”–where top conservatives get together and give inside information on various things…it was awesome!).

Anyway, it’s long, but worth the read!





Electoral Affirmation of Shared Values Provides Bush a Majority

By TODD S. PURDUM

New York Times

11/04/04

It was not a landslide, or a re-alignment, or even a seismic shock. But it was decisive, and it is impossible to read President Bush’s re-election with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country – divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership.

Surveys of voters leaving the polls found that a majority believed the national economy was not so good, that tax cuts had done nothing to help it and that the war in Iraq had jeopardized national security. But fully one-fifth of voters said they cared most about “moral values” – as many as cared about terrorism and the economy – and 8 in 10 of them chose Mr. Bush.

In other words, while Mr. Bush remains a polarizing figure on both coasts and in big cities, he has proved himself a galvanizing one in the broad geographic and political center of the country. He increased his share of the vote among women, Hispanics, older voters and even city dwellers significantly from 2000, made slight gains among Catholics and Jews and turned what was then a 500,000-popular-vote defeat into a 3.6 million-popular-vote victory on Tuesday.

The president’s chief strategist, Matthew Dowd, released a memorandum yesterday noting that Mr. Bush had become the first incumbent Republican president to win a presidential race with majorities in the House and Senate since Calvin Coolidge in 1924, and the first president of either party since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 to be re-elected while gaining seats in both houses.

“I think that there’s a great deal of evidence that the American people support this president,” said Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader who was Southeast regional coordinator of the Bush campaign this year. “There is a wide swath of voters, not just in the South but in the heartland of the country, that no longer feels that the Democratic Party speaks for them or their values, and that is a serious impediment to the Democrats in a campaign like we have just been through.”

From state capitals to Capitol Hill, the Republicans made gains on Tuesday. Eleven state ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage passed easily, even in laid-back, live-and-let-live Oregon, and apparently inspired turnout that helped Mr. Bush. William J. Bennett, the former education secretary who has crusaded for moral values, noted in National Review Online that it was Ohio, which may well have lost more jobs under Mr. Bush than any other state, that gave him his electoral vote victory.

The former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the charge that produced a Republican Congress 10 years ago this month, said: “I think all of the major themes of this president fit very much into the concept of a center-right governing majority. If you think about John Kerry goose-hunter, and John Kerry altar boy and John Kerry defender of America, he understood at some pretty profound level that you could not move out of the center-right and win.”

Mr. Gingrich added of Mr. Kerry: “Look, I think he did the best he could. I think he actually overperformed his natural vote by four or five percentage points. You have to give him some real credit.”

All along, Mr. Bush’s political guru, Karl Rove, had argued that if Mr. Bush could turn out millions of conservatives and evangelical Christians who stayed home four years ago, he could win, aided also by population shifts that added electoral votes to the Sun Belt states in which the president ran strong both times.

Vice President Dick Cheney, as he introduced Mr. Bush at a victory rally in Washington yesterday afternoon, said that his boss had already had “a consequential presidency,” and that voters had been inspired by his “clear agenda.”

The biggest questions now may be about just what parts of that agenda Mr. Bush will choose to pursue, and just how many fights he will take on with either his liberal opponents or his conservative supporters.

Will Mr. Bush move to create private investment accounts for Social Security, a move that would follow through on an idea he first broached four years ago, gratify free-market ideologues but discomfit fiscal conservatives worried about how he would pay for them and practical politicians fearful of simply touching such a hot issue? Will he pick confirmation fights over anti-abortion judges, or press for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage? Or neither? Or both?

Yesterday, Mr. Bush sounded a conciliatory note. “A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation,” he said. “We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us.” Mr. Cheney’s daughter Mary and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, appeared together at the victory rally.

The power of second-term presidents tends to dissipate quickly and Mr. Bush’s will be limited at the outset because he will still be five Republican votes shy of the 60 needed in the Senate to stop a Democratic filibuster.

Senator Arlen Specter, the moderate Pennsylvania Republican expected to head the Judiciary Committee, warned Mr. Bush yesterday against nominating judges “who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade.”

James A. Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said that for all the Republican gains, “the other story is that the nation is deadlocked, especially in the Senate, over what the most important issues are and how we deal with them.”

But Grover Norquist, president of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, said that the Republican Party was no longer what it was 25 or 30 years ago, “a collection of people running on their own.” Instead, Mr. Norquist said, “there is a coherent vision, and to a large extent voters can tell that Republicans are not going to raise their taxes, are for tort reform, are for free trade.”

He said that without the drag of the war in Iraq, Mr. Bush would probably have rolled up a bigger majority.

As it is, Mr. Bush became the first presidential candidate to win more than 50 percent of the popular vote since his father did so in 1988, and he received a higher percentage of the popular vote than any Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

All those are daunting numbers for the Democrats. Early in his campaign, Mr. Kerry drew fire for musing aloud that the Democrats could win the White House without the South.

Yet for all of their hope that the Southwest could be their new ticket, Democrats were left with the fact that in the past 28 years, only Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton among their ranks have made it, and both had Southern and evangelical support. Mr. Kerry, a lifelong Roman Catholic, often struggled this year to speak of his faith in public.

“Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. “What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else – health care, the environment, whatever – because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them.”

He added: “We need a nominee and a party that is comfortable with faith and values. And if we have one, then all the hard work we’ve done on Social Security or America’s place in the world or college education can be heard. But people aren’t going to hear what we say until they know that we don’t approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment.”

A Note from Newt…

When you vote for the president’s re-election, you’re voting for courage, which he’s shown all 4 years in office

Newt Gingrich

Oct. 31, 2004

12:00 AM

The strongest case for President Bush’s re-election can be summed up in a word: Courage.Faced with the deliberate and horrific attacks on 9/11, President Bush instinctively understood that this was a war.He demonstrated his courage by taking that war to al-Qaida to protect the American people.

Despite opposition from confused and reluctant bureaucrats and politicians, he acted. That decision was the decisive break with the terrorism as a criminal act strategy of the Clinton Administration and in direct contrast to the terrorism as a nuisance mindset of Sen. John Kerry.

Today, because of President Bush’s courage, there are no terrorist training camps in Afghanistan threatening Americans. Liberated from the Taliban, the Afghani people, for the first time in their history, freely elected their president. In a country where just a few short years ago women had no civil rights, women cast 43 percent of the votes.

When British and American intelligence reported that they believed Saddam was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Bush that Russian intelligence had evidence Saddam Hussein was developing plans to attack America, the president had the courage to go to the United Nations.

After 11 years of UN inspectors reporting that Saddam was not cooperating and 17 feckless Security Council Resolutions, the president faced objections from many of his most conservative advisers. Still he and Secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the case against Saddam and won a UN Security Council Resolution giving Saddam one last chance to prove he was disarming and to avoid war. When Saddam still would not comply, the president again had the courage to act.Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.

The Iraqi people have an interim government and are looking forward to their first free election. Today, thousands of Iraqis willingly risk their lives to ensure that their future is safe and prosperous by defeating a small but vicious insurgency that seeks to impose death and torture on the people of Iraq for daring to be free.It may not be obvious through the filter of the news media how moral and how courageous President Bush’s stand has been.

However, it is no coincidence that the Army Times reported that nearly 80 percent of the men and women in uniform in Iraq will be voting for President Bush. They know what courage is and they know that what they are doing is for a noble cause. So their support of the president should come as no surprise because his leadership is improving the future for both the American and Iraqi people.

As the economy began to weaken late in the Clinton Administration, then candidate Gov. George W. Bush proposed tax cuts as the right solution to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of America. When he won a bitterly contested election, “pundits” expected him to reach out to liberals and modify his campaign positions. His courage enabled him to ignore the entire Washington establishment and the elite media and insist on a major tax cut as the best way to combat the recession and get America growing again.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, it became obvious that the Bush tax cuts were vital to preventing America and the world from slipping into a deep recession that would have killed millions of jobs.Among our biggest domestic challenges is improving the American health and health care delivery systems. President Bush had the courage to step outside the usual policy experts and government dominated solutions to advance three bold, new approaches.

First, he created health savings accounts, which today are already saving small businesses an average of 40-to-50 percent on their premiums even though he knew it would enrage the liberal left who have committed themselves to failed government control of health care.

Second, despite a dominant political news media that does not understand its significance, he is implementing the development of health information technology as the key to saving lives and saving money.

Finally, he has had the courage to advocate for an interstate market for health insurance for small businesses, farms and the poor to bring down the cost of coverage even though the proposal will invite special interest hostility.

As we have seen in this campaign, being honest about Social Security has subjected the president to attacks, lies and distortions. Yet when confronted with the facts about Social Security’s solvency as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, President Bush did not shirk his responsibility or resort to scare tactics, instead he courageously insisted upon saving the system by arguing to allow workers to voluntarily own a personal Social Security account, which is the only solution that will allow us to both avoid benefit cuts for seniors and near-retirees and not raise taxes on today’s workers or their children.When searching for solutions to help the truly needy, President Bush, in an age of secular political correctness, supports faith-based initiatives and talks about the importance of faith. President Bush is the most openly faith-affirming president since Abraham Lincoln.

In this period of cynicism and secularism, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to live out your faith.Of course, the president has weaknesses. He can be direct and blunt and impolitic. He will never be a Ronald Reagan communicator. Yet, in my lifetime I do not know that I have ever seen a president with a greater level of courage and a greater willingness to do what is right.In contrast to President Bush’s courage, the opportunism, the liberalism, the uncertainties, and the constant flip-flopping of John Kerry make my vote for president a very easy one. Courage beats glibness in leading a free people in difficult times.

Newt Gingrich is a former speaker of the House in the U.S. Congress. He was the architect of the 1994 “Contract with America.”

Newt Remembered Me!!

Okay, so the highlight of my otherwise not-so-good day was definitely seeing former Speaker Newt Gingrich today, in Yorba Linda.

 

He was at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library today, doing a lecture and then signing his new book, Grant Comes East, which is the second book in his trilogy about the Civil War, and what would have happened if the South had won. Anyway, I was fifth in line (because I was there an hour early), and the people in line found out that I had worked for him (I can’t imagine how! LOL), so that was fun to talk with them about Newt.

 

So, it was my turn in line, and he looked up after seeing my name on the paper and said “Well, hello!” That alone made my day! He said “you look like you’re doing fabulous!” (Smiles)…we talked for about a minute, then I asked where Rick (his Communications Director) was, and went to look for him.

 

Rick was (happily) shocked to see me–he hadn’t received my email yet–and we talked for awhile. I got my picture taken with him, because he is the only person at the Gingrich Group that I had not been able to say goodbye to, and get a picture with.

 

So anyway, that was seriously a great experience!! It made my day LOADS better! πŸ™‚

Short post today (for once)…

Okay, so I won’t make this one as long as my past few have been. I am a writer by nature, and writing helps me to process that which is running through my mind…so the past few posts have been pretty lengthy! I apologize!

 

This afternoon I am heading down to Yorba Linda (Orange County) to see my former boss, Newt Gingrich. One benefit of having worked for him is that I will be able to speak with him, as well as his Communications Director (who is completely awesome!), even though I have not yet bought the book that is being signed today. I am really excited about seeing Newt in California!

 

I spent last night with my friend Christina, for our “weekly” (we try, anyway!) time together for accountability and fellowship. It is so incredible how the Lord allows you to find someone who is going through EXACTLY the same things at the same time…so amazing. It was so good to listen to all that the Lord has been doing in her life.

 

There are so many things going on in my  life right now that are not easy…they are not fun…and that’s okay. I am just trusting the Lord to guide me down whatever path He chooses for me…it has already been a remarkable learning experience, and I look forward to the experiences to come.

 

“Do everything in love.” –I Corinthians 16:14

Lesa’s new fight…

As many of you know, I love to argue and debate…I would love to be a lobbyist someday, for I also love to persuade people that I am right πŸ™‚ I did an internship with a lobbyist the summer after my senior year in high school…but anyway…

So I have a potential chance to fight and lobby, and it has made me excited.

When I entered APU, I was told that I did not have to take math because my SAT math scores were high enough to waive the requirement. Nonetheless, I tried to take calculus (since I had just passed AP Calculus with a 98% in the class, and I enjoyed it thoroughly), but they wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t a math major.

So, my junior year rolls around, haven’t had math since high school…and the registrar informs me that I have to take College Algebra to graduate. I was stumped as to what I could do…because I did not get the waiver in writing, they can’t accept my word. I PASSED AP CALC (aced it, really)!! And now they want me to take ALGEBRA?!

So now the fight is on. πŸ™‚

I am going to find out what the score to waive math is…

then, I am going to obtain my academic records, with my SAT scores, to prove to them that they were indeed high enough.

I will sit down with someone in the registrar’s office and kindly persuade them to see things my way…

If they still will not allow me to waive this, then I will resort to another tactic…

Don’t yet know what that tactic will be…but I will come up with something! πŸ™‚

I am excited! I will have to wait until summer, but that will give me something to do! If I get that class waived, I will be ecstatic…though I could use the 3 units to count toward graduation, it’s the principle of the thing, you know? They went back on their word…so I am going to call them on it.

Anyway, that has bettered my mood for the day. When I set my mind on doing something, it is hard to get me to change my mind. πŸ™‚ I’ll keep you posted as the battle against College Algebra begins…

Santa Barbara

Beautiful weekend…Reagan Ranch was fabulous…I stood in Reagan’s bathroom! Took tons of pictures, and will upload those…eventually…who knows when! It was so beautiful up there…Santa Barbara is breathtaking! πŸ™‚

More later…so much to do, so much to think about…12 days until Spring Break!

Off to the Rancho del Cielo

Alright…it’s off to Santa Barbara for me for tonight and tomorrow…I am excited about spending this time on the Reagan Ranch! It should be a great time…we have about three hours of “training” and the rest of the time is chill time and a tour of the ranch. Should be awesome! πŸ™‚

Still stressed…next week is going to be a tough one…not only because of the amount of work that has to be done, but also because Tuesday is tough day, remembering a long-time friend…more on that later…

See you Sunday!