A Yawn, err, Heartbeat Away...
It was rather interesting that the sole vice-presidential debate took place on the eve of the people's revolution in Belgrade, which should be a reminder of what extremes people will resort to when over-control happens. With that in mind, let's reflect on what was and was not said.
In terms of classic debate the vice-presidential candidates acquitted themselves honorably and the tenor was what American politics should always be in terms of dignity. But it was also boring because only a couple items were really not leftover hash.
The underlying message (you expected something else?) was the same, and Joe Lieberman was obviously touting Al Gore more than aiming at truly answering the questions. Dick Cheney handled himself with dignity and honesty whether the answers were what the people wanted to hear or not, even when moderator Bernie Shaw tossed some low blows at him.
Lieberman echoed a few of Gore's favorite things, such as the one percent (please give me a chart on this) and the hard working middle class. Does that mean that the upper and lower classes don't work hard? Are elected officials upper class? No class works hard! Individuals work hard, and it is individuals, not classes, that vote.
What came through the loudest is the state of the military. I believe Dick Cheney's assessment of our military weakness because it has been discussed by the media and by the military itself before the election year's festivities and follies began in February. It was discussed after we spent our Cruise missiles trying to level Belgrade during the Kosovo conflict (some called it Monica's war) and deployed troops to Kosovo after meddling extensively and expensively in Bosnia.
No mention was made (and probably justifiably so in this type of debate, but it needs to be mentioned) that we have enemies who are well armed ... many with our own technology that was shuttled to them via "leaky" security systems in the Clinton/Gore administration. If there is one message that came through loud and clear, it is that a Gore/Lieberman ticket would do nothing to strengthen America's armed forces because they keep repeating that it is in wonderful shape. Lies, all lies!
Dick Cheney recognizes, as does his principal, George W. Bush, that with our military in this weakened and dispersed condition, we are in no position to enter a military engagement even on the level of Desert Storm. Cheney stated that if Saddam Hussein were threatening the use of nuclear weapons he might have to be "taken out" and well he might. That is clearly in our own national security interests and in the security interests of the world we live in, for Saddam Hussein is a relentless despot of the
ilk of Stalin and Hitler. His belief in genocide has been demonstrated and tested on the Kurds.
The rest of the subjects, such as Social Security, Medicare, education, prescription drugs, were hash and rehash of what has already been said and heard all too much. Show me the charts fellas. I don't understand fuzzy math and funny money that well.
As to energy policy, Cheney is absolutely correct in stating that we wouldn't be facing a winter crisis if we had an energy policy. Heaven forbid we disturb the ring-tailed owl's nests to keep from being dependent
on foreign oil! I believe in conservation of natural resources within the limits necessary to preserve both a safe environment and provide for our people's needs. But no, I don't hug my trees.
Joe really ducked the abortion issue by trying to focus on the "life and health" of the mother. Baloney. He has adopted the Clinton/Gore pro-abortion position and anyone who has observed his professions since coming under Gore's control knows it. Cheney couldn't speak his mind on this either because of the women's vote ... we need to re-educate our society in Morals 101, but you can't say that in a debate.
As to the rights of homosexuals, both candidates seemed uncomfortable discussing this issue, and rightfully so. Most Americans are having the gay rights agenda shoved down their throats until the homosexual community is becoming its own worst enemy. The issue is not the constitutional rights of individuals but the social conventions and legal rights granted by the states and the applicability of equal opportunity guaranteed on the basis of race, color, national origin and gender.
The closing statements were very clear: big government and more control under Gore and Lieberman, or a turn toward more privatization and individual responsibility under Bush and Cheney (with a stronger defense program that we desperately need).
Behind the class and decorum of the debate, which was commendable in spite of Bernie Shaw's low blows, America is still faced with an awesome philosophical decision at the polls.
And beyond that, in the heartbeat away philosophy, Dick Cheney would make the better president if the unthinkable were to happen to George W. Bush.
As to the philosophy of more extensive government control, refer to paragraph one.
© Dorothy Anne Seese, 2000
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