Sunday, October 29, 2006

How to Win this Election

By Frank Kaufmann

Americans are coming up to an extremely important election for many reasons.

No matter what anyone says, this election is about three things, in this order:
1. The Iraq War
2. Political power in the entrenched 2 party system in the US
3. Long term spoils and domestic national direction, especially as it affects the judiciary.
In a great many ways, America's two parties have become indistinguishable
(so much so that having two parties is now expensive and detrimental to
our nation's well-being). Republicans no longer represent limited and
non-intrusive government nor lower government spending, and Democrats
no longer represent concern for the working class, and seek in all ways
to be identified with strong national defense.

Thus the strong winners and losers in the upcoming elections will have far less to do with who comes into office, than it will in how candidates run and how
their campaigns are conducted.

The catastrophic Iraq imbroglio is not "Republican" by nature, other than for the coincidence that the small group of folk who deemed the adventure reasonable happen to be Republicans. Apart from that, there is nothing in conservative thinking per se that results inexorably in the notion that one can or
should impose one culture upon another. Republicans running for office
should consider themselves perfectly free in principle to disassociate
themselves from that notion and that commitment. Their bondage to Iraq
derives entirely from the dynamic of power politics, not from rigorously applied conservativism. Smart Republicans in this season should establish their independence from this particular folly in advance of getting elected. This is one way the two parties can begin to recover their genuine and distinctive differences.

Secondly, those running and those voting should flat out reject dirty politics.

Even though we will never successfully hatch a mature democracy in present
day Iraq (like dropping a compressed sponge toy in a glass of water), it is very important that OUR elections at least appear to make democracy look attractive and honorable. This election should show us at our best.

Both U.S. power, and U.S. moral stature is at an all time low under the present administration , and not just in the Muslim world. The very last thing we need at this juncture is for our own democracy to show a vile face to the world. And this danger is far too possible given the very high stakes in this present election.

Professional political leeches lack the depth or breadth of vision to think in such
terms. This depraved industry simply behaves the only way it knows how,
namely in cynical, win-at-any-cost degeneracy. This is the dregs of power-seeking, and there is simply too much money in the game.

The only hope for the future of our country in the short term lies in the
hands of the voters. We must look for and reward character, humanity,
and dignity in our candidates, and punish candidates who allow base and
shameful tactics to obtain in their campaigns and in their name.

Our nation desperately needs a moment of dignity and beauty in the eyes of
the world and an opportunity to display the fine principles and virtuous roots that underly an honorable democracy.

It is in how we run, and how we vote that we can begin to recover a place in world leadership that is America's obligation and responsibility. Currently
that role has suffered via a panicked and chaotic reaction to 9/11. It has been scatter-shot through misfiring artillery, and has been imprisoned in facilities that compromise those truths we hold to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.

Let us run and let us vote in ways that recover our true power and our true, irresistible beauty.

Frank Kaufmann is the director of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace. These opinions are his own.

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