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My First Vote

By Hans Zeiger

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On November 2, I will cast my first vote in a presidential election for George W. Bush. My decision is without reservation. President Bush is not only qualified for reelection; much is at stake in this vote. 

I am not a die-hard Bush fan. I was never enthused about Bush in 2000. I campaigned for Dan Quayle during his short-lived candidacy, and when Quayle dropped out, I volunteered on Alan Keyes' campaign. As a young idealist, I've always looked for principled heroes in the world of politics before I seek establishment candidates. 

It is quite true that Bush is a man of the establishment. His presence on the national stage is a result of his birth into a powerful family. This is a statement equally applicable to most of history's rulers and statesmen as to Bush. 

Whether the president shall retain his seat behind the desk in the Oval Office is now a separate matter from his association with the Bush family name. For nearly four years, the president has had the immense burden to prove that he is more than a man of the national-stage establishment, that he is capable of leading the world's greatest nation in an hour of crisis. 

This I think he has done quite well. We are at war on terror and the commander in chief has accomplished great things in the task at hand; two dictators have been toppled and terrorist networks are being 
dismantled. In that sense the president has ably followed in the train of McKinley, Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. 

I do not mean to say that the president has led perfectly on all fronts. Since he entered the 2000 presidential race, I have never assumed Bush to be a conservative in the sense I like to think of conservatism. 

I recently asked White House communications liaison Tim Goeglein to what extent the president takes into consideration the constitution in his daily policy considerations. I received a roundabout answer that suggested the president was a deliberative man, but not necessarily deliberative with respect to the constitution. This, I would say, is the president's chief fault. It has been said that Bush is a big-government conservative, and for this he must be criticized. 

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But I find increasingly as I learn the various roles of institutions within our society that George W. Bush is not the man to blame completely for the growth of government - or the failure to stop its growth - in recent years. Neither is Congress or any other part of government entirely to blame. Government cannot usually cut off its organs, nor even contain itself.  

The people of this self-governing republican country are ultimately responsible for our own lives. We must be a people of faith, compassion, and character if our free institutions are to survive the rigors of a fallen world. So in America, the growth of government is not so much an issue of the state in some self-amassed power to tax, spend, and control. That problem is more directly a result of the people in decreasing responsibility in matters of faith, compassion, and character. 

Government grows because we the people demand more of it and less of ourselves. While we shouldn't excuse this president for taking too liberal a view of government, God cannot yet forgive our nation for taking too irresponsible a view of ourselves. 

In the midst of these trials of character and constitution - judicial tyranny, gay marriage, abortion, threatened individual responsibilities, burgeoning government - we are without a Washington, a Lincoln or a Reagan to guide us. The high places are not all dismantled, nor the land made pure. 

But God sends different leaders for different times, and this one for ours. President Bush has high personal integrity, and though he may not consult the constitution as his foremost guide to policy as he ought, at least he seeks to preserve the constitution. 

That cannot be said of John Kerry, whose character is questionable and whose political intentions are aggressively destructive to the constitution and ordered liberty. John Kerry is unfit for command, say the veterans he so thoroughly denigrated. John Kerry is a flip-flopper, say those who know his voting record. 

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Bush is a recognizable embodiment of two great political character traits, humility and prudence. He has an apparently genuine faith in God, private and public. His ability to delegate authority to men of great skill and experience is noteworthy. Few presidential administrations in recent history can match the collective knowledge and credibility of this one. This president is not a champion among statesmen, but he is a good leader nonetheless. 

So this young American is honored to cast his first vote in a presidential election for George W. Bush. For what it's worth, I encourage young people across the country to join me in voting to reelect this president. 

Hans Zeiger is president of the Scout Honor Coalition, a Seattle 
Sentinel columnist, and a student at Hillsdale College. www.hanszeiger.com







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