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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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2004-10-16 - 10:12 a.m.

Who Forgot Poland?

Oh, I forgot. Our President by his own admission does not read, so I suppose he’s forgotten about Hitler’s unprovoked invasion of Poland. Charley Reese, who predicts that Kerry will win by a big margin, compares that invasion with Bush’s invasion of Iraq in this excerpt from Kerry Will Win. He admits he has no factual reason to believe this - just a hunch based on his “faith that a healthy majority of Americans are smart enough to recognize that the Bush presidency is a mistake that cries out to be corrected.”

It was a long and difficult struggle, but the peaceful ending of the Cold War showed that great progress was being made. Now George Bush has wrecked all that. What is the difference between Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland and Bush's invasion of Iraq? There is no difference. Both were unprovoked attacks in violation of international law. Both were blatant attempts to achieve political objectives by force – in Hitler's case, the annexation of Poland; in Bush's case, regime change. Morally, there is not a thread's difference between the bombing of Warsaw and the bombing of Baghdad.

That's the single most important thing to learn about the Iraq War. If every other nation adopts the same policy of "pre-emptive" wars, the world will be right back in the jungle that cost the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the last century – by far the bloodiest in human history.

Bush has a dangerous mind-set. He appears to actually believe that he is an agent of God. He said as much. That puts him in the same mind-set as bin Laden. I much prefer the saner notion of a president who believes that the God of the universe has better things to do than manage the day-to-day affairs of the U.S. government. I prefer an emotionally mature person who can admit mistakes as opposed to a self-righteous rooster who gets defensive and resentful when someone disagrees with him.

As you can see, all my reasons for voting for Kerry have more to do with Bush than with Kerry. Bush will get his vote, including the evangelicals who don't know the difference between the Old and New Testaments. I still have faith that a healthy majority of Americans are smart enough to recognize that the Bush presidency is a mistake that cries out to be corrected. Some very decent people lose their bearings when they gain power, and I think Bush is one of them.

I remember when conservatives favored restraint – in foreign policy, in fiscal matters, and in their desire to limit government power in order to protect our civil liberties. Where have they gone?

Compassionate conservatives – compassionate toward big business! …and throw in family, religious and patriotic values, too. According to Graydon Carter’s new book, What We’ve Lost, the rich-poor divide is now more unequal than in any other Democratic country with 40 percent of the wealth held by 1 percent of the population. Poverty rates have reached alarming proportions at 17% - 34.6 million. That’s more than the population of Canada! He goes on to say, “there are the poor and then there are the outright hungry. According to the Department of Agriculture, there are thirty-five million “food insecure” adults and children in the United States – people who can’t count on their next meal.” But this “compassionate conservative” administration chose to give a tax cut, while cutting desperately needed programs aimed at the poor, such as the proposed Section 8 federal rent-subsidy program whose main purpose is preventing low-income families from becoming homeless.

We also heard what our “compassionate conservative” President had to say about raising the minimum wage, which has been $5.15 an hour since 1997 – which means someone who works a 40 hour week for 52 weeks a year makes a grand total of $10,712 a year. The federal definition of poverty is $14,824 for a single parent with two children.

Back in the 1970’s when George Bush was a student at the Harvard Business School, he wrote in an essay that “people are poor because they are lazy.” His professor at that time says that he was opposed to labor unions, Social Security, environmental protection, Medicare and public schools. That figures! He’s done, or is proposing, everything he can to eliminate those things in our lives. And even worse than what he has done is that he has done it in the most secretive, deceptive way – announcing changes late Friday night or the night before a holiday in hopes that news media will not give it full play. Our media has played right along with him. In fact, were it not for a degree of vigilance by the ACLU, Move On, and lots of letters to Congressmen, the media would be concentrated in the hands of a few. And not in the hands of real newsmen; we would have more of the FOX’s “fair and balanced” kind of news, given over to propaganda, designing the consciousness or confirming resentments and beliefs already held.

We must all remember Poland! People in England are remembering. In fact, readers of The Guardian are writing to a registered voter in Clark County, Ohio, one of the most marginal areas in a key swing state. By last night, over 10,000 people, including people from U.S., had requested the name of a voter. You, too, can get the name of a voter from The Guardian and maybe make a difference. In the last election only 324 votes separated the Democrats from the Republicans in Ohio.

People are being invited to submit copies of their letters. Here’s one from Samia Rahman, written in a personal capacity, although she is deputy editor of the Muslim lifestyle magazine emel,.

You may wonder why on earth your friends in Britain are telling you how to vote. I can understand how perplexed you must feel. Once again faced with the hyperbole of a US election, the rest of the world seems to be resounding to the chorus of "Your vote counts!", and I can appreciate you may be feeling a touch cynical. After all, I suspect you never voted for Bush in the first place, or maybe you did but are now feeling a little misled. I would, too.

I, like you, would feel disappointed to learn that since the Republicans came to power in 2000, unemployment has soared by a third, the number of people living in poverty has increased by nearly three million and the erosion of standards in education has become a startling reality. I would also be alarmed by your president's breathtaking disregard for the environment, demonstrated by his pulling out of the Kyoto agreement to stem global warming, a phenomenon that may well be the cause of the freak hurricanes that lashed Florida in recent weeks.

I can see that you must be furious at the way the current administration has not only catapulted the US into a state of social decline, but has plunged your great nation into a state of perpetual insecurity. I know that you will not stand by and observe your country being hijacked by a select group of neo-conservative extremists who spread fear and loathing. I don't expect you to stand for the haughty suppression of your civil liberties threatened by the proposed Domestic Security Enhancement Act, which will enable the government to detain in secrecy anyone who supports a "terrorist" group and strip them of their citizenship.

I know that you, as Americans, understand the issues and will not allow your sincere and industrious population to be misrepresented, exploited and cowed any longer in the name of a so-called democracy that dishonours your founding fathers. I implore you to vote on November 2. The greatest weapon in the war against terror is you.

My letter is on the way to a gentleman in Springfield, Ohio.

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