Monday, October 18, 2004

Further Thoughts on the Symposium

I wrote an entry for Hugh Hewitt's latest symposium, and the cruel format restricted me to 250 words or fewer. It was an interesting writing and thinking exercise. Those of you who read this blog regularly know I'm not someone who usually says much of anything in 250 words or less.

Interestingly, this made it my favorite symposium he's had yet. That sort of exercise forces one to make choices, and as such clarifies the thinking as well as the rhetoric. My initial response attempted to address both foreign and domestic issues. Way too many words. This made me choose, and my choice was that the foreign policy reasons were more important to me this election.

And so I attempted to address the strategies offered by both men, along with the records we know about choices they have made in the past, and explain why I considered one superior to the other. Again, much to long.

And so I found myself writing and cutting and rewording and constantly forcing myself to choose what was MOST important to me.

If you read my entry, you'll find I characterized it as the "September 10th test." I realized that the most important thing I want in a president is an attitude that remembers September 11th and says "Never again!"

Just like everyone else, I had no idea what danger we were in at the time. A significant portion of my worldview collapsed right along with the towers. I simply cannot support anyone - left or right - who wants to go back to the September 10th mindset. Ignorance may be blissful, but it's not an outlook I want in a national leader. And to me that's John Kerry's pitch in a nutshell - let's all pretend we can just go back.

Wow. Listening to Hugh's show at the moment. He's playing clips from a Bush speech in New Jersey (!!!) today. And Bush is speaking exactly to the point I raised above (and using more than 250 words too). Sounds like I'm not the only one who feels that's the most important issue. That makes me very hopeful!

Last election I voted for Bush mostly because I supported the Republican Party. I was luke-warm about Bush himself. September 11th converted me into a true Bush supporter. I think back on the other candidates running, and I can't imagine a single one who would have responded as courageously and comprehensively. I still don't agree with Bush on several issues. But it's doubtful I'll agree with anyone completely.

Bush is the right man for the most important task at hand, and in my opinion it's not only his opponent who isn't a good alternative - there are almost no better alternatives to lead us on the most important issue of the day. This is one of the strangest wars in history. Half the nation wants to pretend it isn't a war at all. A good deal of the rest of the world is cheering for our enemies - even as those enemies target them as well. For reasons that will be analyzed endlessly by future historians, Bush has what it takes to lead in that situation.

Later I'll be sorting through many of the other symposium entries and sharing some of what I find. Like last time, I doubt I'll make it through more than a fraction of the great content, or a few dozen of the hundreds of participating blogs. But it's well worth the effort, and I encourage others to do the same. The blog talent on the right is extremely impressive, and Hugh's symposiums are a terrific chance to discover some of it.

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