Midland Daily News, November 13, 2004
Every commentator on the public scene, including this one, is bombarding you with thoughts about what went right or what went wrong in this latest presidential election, depending on whether their candidate won or lost. The most prevalent conclusion why President Bush won reelection is his stand on "moral values". Some are saying the Democrats need to pick up the moral values theme if they are ever going to capture the mainstream vote again. Those pundits may be right.
Of course, the "moral values" oppose abortion and same sex marriage. While I don't dispute the importance of those issues, I fear for the future of our country if our national policies are based on those two values.
President Bush said to Kerry
supporters on the day after the election, "I will do all I can to deserve
your trust". The next day he said, "I earned capital in the campaign,
political capital, and now I intend to spend it." He considers the
election results a mandate, as do many newspapers, to push his agenda: more of
the same in
Don't moral values include the lives of Iraqi citizens, convicted criminals, and the poor? Yet we have killed over 100,000 Iraqi citizens, according to a recent independent report. Our President supports the death penalty, even of the mentally challenged. The poor continue to grow in numbers as their situation is magnified by the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
There's a huge difference in
moral thinking between abortion and the war in
Study after study indicates that the death penalty serves no purpose as a deterrent to crime. Execution also prevents any sort of redemption on the part of the criminal. Worst of all, there are far too many cases of faulty evidence or proceedings that convicted someone. There are even cases where evidence has come up to clear a person, but legal procedures disallow review and possible exoneration and the person is executed anyway (America, No to the Death Penalty, 11/1/04).
How does a poor person share in the American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with a poor education, no health insurance, and no transportation to get to a job? There are many excellent examples recorded of people caught in these circumstances who can and do bring themselves out of it, yet to be in the midst of poverty is often intolerable.
Do we not have an obligation to provide better schools, adequate health care (especially for pregnant women and children), and make it easier for people to get around in our society, so as to get to the few jobs that are available to the poor? After all, most people are poor because of life circumstances, not because they chose poverty.
If John Kerry had won the election, would the papers be saying the election was based on moral values? I don't think so; yet Kerry supporters' values of tolerance, acceptance, international cooperation, and concern for the poor and marginalized in our society are just as much moral values as the values of anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage. As Dawson Bell said in the Detroit Free Press, (11/4/04)."President George W. Bush showed he had defined the tricky phrase 'moral values' better than Sen. John Kerry."
Will President Bush reach out to
the other side in a spirit of cooperation to lead the whole country or will he
use his "political capital" to push his agenda on
Norbert Bufka is a Midland
resident and occasional contributor to the