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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-10-07 - 4:21 p.m.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Does the name Pete McCloskey ring a bell? A lifelong Republican, he represented the San Francisco peninsula in Congress from 1967 to 1983. He earned a Navy Cross, Silver Star and two Purple Hearts as a Marine rifle platoon leader during the Korean War...and he recently wrote a significant op-ed piece for the San Jose Mercury News, entitled:


If You're a True Republican, You'll Vote for Kerry

He wrote: “Although I’m a lifelong Republican, I will vote for John Kerry on Nov. 2. The choice seems simple under traditional principles of the Republican Party.

He went on to say that he first met John Kerry in the spring of 1971. Each of them just back from Vietnam – Kerry as a Navy officer and McCloskey a member of Congress, each appalled by what they had seen there. He said that he “found Kerry to be idealistic, courageous and, above all else, truthful to a fault. He demonstrated courage in Vietnam, but as Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr., once said, the courage to speak against prevailing opinion in civil strife is often greater than that demanded on the battlefield.”

“During Kerry's public career after his election to the Senate, he has clearly grown and matured. I believe he is incapable of deliberate deceit or dissembling. This alone represents a refreshing hope for a return of public faith in our government.

“That Kerry has attained the solid support of former Secretary of Defense William Perry, with whom he has worked for years on issues of nuclear proliferation, confirms his ability to study, listen and reach sound judgments.

The primary issue in November will be who can best lead us in the bitter struggle against the Islamic fundamentalists who perpetrated 9/11 and are willing to die to kill Americans throughout the world. The Iraq occupation has caused thousands of new suicide bombers to join the jihad against us; with Kerry as president, the nation will properly refocus the battle away from Iraq and against the true enemy, Al-Qaida.

As Kerry has stated, we desperately need the cooperation of every country in the world, friend and enemy, where terrorist cells can germinate and operate.

We need to be more humble in asking for this assistance. A return to the ``speak softly but carry a big stick'' philosophy of Teddy Roosevelt should be far more effective than the bluster, bravado and ``shock and awe'' firepower of the neocon advisers who have commandeered White House foreign policy.

Giving other reasons for supporting John Kerry, McCloskey states the following beliefs: Kerry would certainly reverse the budget deficits projected to be $2.3 trillion or more in the next decade; regain respect of the world, enhance our relationship with the United Nations, international law, and the Geneva Conventions, and reverse the inordinate secrecy that has characterized the current administration. “.It seems incredible that a matter as important as our national energy policy could be decided in secret by Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force -- individuals whose very names have been withheld from the public.”

As a Catholic, Kerry is sure to maintain the constitutional separation between church and state, recognizing that while we are indeed a nation under God, everyone is free to choose his or her own faith in God. And finally, he pointed to the subject of my entry today: “…the matter of John Ashcroft and prospective judicial appointees who could undo Roe vs. Wade, a woman's right of choice, and many of the civil liberties we have earned over 225 years.”

It is for these reasons that McCloskey, a Republican, is supporting Kerry based on traditional Republican values of fiscal responsibility, limited governmental intrusion, and the accountability of individuals.

“In truth, John Kerry and John Edwards come far closer to the Republicanism of Teddy Roosevelt, Earl Warren, Barry Goldwater, George Bush the elder and, yes, even Richard Nixon, than does the present incumbent. Ending secrecy and bringing truth and honesty back to the White House are reasons enough to elect Kerry and Edwards.”

Dare We Risk 40 more years?

Do you suppose any of the Supreme Court Justices are thinking of retiring? Several must be on Medicare by now. We’ve gone ten years without a new appointment, so I, like many others, would lay odds on several new appointments in the next four years. And there will be a huge difference for the law depending on who is doing the appointing! The Supreme Court split decisions of the last several years have all made the justices seem more partisan than impartial, which makes our governmental checks and balance system all but obsolete, especially when Congress is not at its most effective either. Many of us lost a lot of respect for its effectiveness at the last Presidential election when a very partisan vote stopped the recount. The dissenting Stevens identified the real loser after that 5-4 decision put Bush in the White House: “It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

Many decisions made now are 5-4 or 6-3. People for the American Way projects that 100 Supreme Court precedents would be overturned with one or two more conservative justices. People talk of overturning Roe v. Wade, eliminating affirmative action, getting prayer in schools, vouchers for school tuition, and turning back gay rights. A lobbyist for the Christian Coalition said, “This election could be a two-fer – we win the White House and we’ll win the Supreme Court, too.” Another said, “If you ask Christians their top priority, the first thing they would say is changing the U.S. Supreme Court.” Now I don’t have anything against the Christian Coalition, but I don’t like the idea of “activist judges.

There is a lot at stake. We’re not just talking about four more years; we’re talking about decisions that could impact our country over the next forty years, whoever is President. What’s at stake are not just social issues, but workers’ rights, voting rights, immigration, environmental issues, many of our freedoms possibly, the constitutional basis of our government.

People should think of the court when they go to vote on November 2nd. A conservative court could overturn many of the rights we now take for granted.

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