Friday, October 29, 2004

Never Again 

"Never Again." A phrase heard so often and applied to so many circumstances. For some it is a deeply sincere prayer, carrying great emotion and meaning. For others it is a more a slogan or mantra of form. For me, it captures the essence of this political campaign.

We say "Never Again" to the Jews. In your memory, never again shall we suffer a horror like the systematic genocide of millions of European Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Yet for over ten years we suffered the murder of Kurds and Shi'ia at the hands of Saddam's Ba'ath. We suffered the 800,000 dead in Rwanda. We continue to suffer over a million dead in Sudan. We suffer a rabidly anti-Israeli government in Tehran racing to learn the deadly secrets of Hiroshima. One of these had ended, thanks in large part to one candidate who, in the face of extreme opposition and scorn, persevered so that evil might be stopped. He is, I believe, the only candidate with the demonstrated resolve and determination to face down the building Iranian threat. Where this candidate had exhibited action, the other promises dialog. The same dialog that allowed the Nazis time to build the camps and the Rwandan rivers to run red.

We say "Never Again" to the people of South Vietnam. In your memory, never again shall we abandon a freedom loving people to the ravages of cruel hate and oppression. Yet we once did so to the Iraqi Shi'ia and Kurds. We shall not abandon them again. Look to your community at the Vietnamese-Americans. Learn from them the stories of fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers and even children lost to the reeducation camps, lost at sea, lost in the struggle to breath free air. Many of these deaths can be laid at the feet of an American policy that was aggressively advocated and lobbied for by one candidate. The same candidate that speaks of "stability" over "democracy" in Iraq. The same candidate that frames his discussion of the struggle in Iraq with time tables for leaving Iraq to its own design. The same candidate that has done all he can to stand in philosophical opposition to the candidate who has resolutely vowed to stand with the Iraqi people and openly speaks of the promise that liberty holds for all humans.

We say "Never Again" to the victims of 9/11. In your memory, never again shall we close our eyes to gathering threats or delude ourselves with a sense of invulnerability. Yet there are some who claim the event that forever altered the skyline of our largest city was not all that significant. Some say that we deserved this attack or that we simply need to learn to live with terrorism. Some act as if these things just happen, as if it were the mindless destruction of a typhoon or earthquake rather than a coldly calculated act of mass murder planned and perpetrated by dedicated adherents of a radical religious movement. One candidate represents these people, the same candidate who has nostalgically expressed a desire to return to the false security of 9/10. One candidate revels in and tacitly encourages those who would irresponsibly hint that the tragic events of that day were knowingly allowed to happen for the personal gains of those in power. One candidate gleefully sups with and profits from those who liken the murderers of innocent civilians to our heroic patriotic fore-fathers at Lexington and Concord. The other candidate has resolutely looked evil in the face and called its name. He looks forward to and speaks of a new age of genuine security, not accepting the easily attained placebo of "feeling" secure as we before that fateful day.

On Tuesday, we will choose one candidate over the other. I stand firm that never again shall we choose a candidate that will appease rather than confront evil. Never again shall we shirk our responsibilities to mankind and our future for the convenience of today. Never again shall we choose a candidate that can say these words without demonstrating the action and resolve to make them live. Never again. Never again.

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