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  A Letter From The President
by Steven D. Laib, J.D. M.S.
15 June
2003 George W. Bush

The letter announced that he was running for a second term, and made the usual pitch for support.  What followed after was, I thought, more important, because it speaks about Mr. Bush’s view of America and what he professes to hold as goals for his administration.

A few days ago I received in my email, a forwarded message from President Bush.  It started out announcing that he was running for a second term, and making the usual pitch for support.  What followed after was, I thought, more important because it speaks about Mr. Bush’s view of America and what he professes to hold as goals for his administration.  He said:

At home, our most urgent mission is to strengthen our economy and create jobs. To provide economic security and opportunity to every American, we must improve health care, give senior citizens long-promised prescription drug benefits, provide a quality education for every child, and insist on safe neighborhoods and schools.

My goal is to build an ownership society where American families own their own homes, their own health coverage, their own retirement accounts and, if they want, their own businesses.

And we are working to change the culture from one that too often said, 'if it feels good, do it,' to a responsibility society where people know they are accountable for what they do, for the children they bring into the world, and for loving a neighbor like they'd like to be loved themselves.  

With all due respect to our President, it seems to me that he is generally saying the right things.  Particularly, with respect to “strengthening the economy” and “building an ownership society.”  It sounds great on paper, or in the conservative campaign rhetoric.   But is this in fact what he is doing?  

An ownership society, and one where people are accountable for themselves and their actions seems to run counter to the first group of goals.  It seems likely that people would be better off taking charge of their own children’s education and the schools they attend.  It might just save money too.  Also, if they can afford and can control their own health care coverage, there should be no need for a government prescription drug program.  In the area of business, getting regulatory agencies and the tax man off of the backs of small business owners would do more to secure economic benefits and help people to be self sufficient than a lot of other things which have been and will be proposed.  There is a chance that maybe he can get government to butt out for a change.

But Mr. Bush says more:  “A great country strives for great objectives,” which makes sense, but it seems that the greatest of objectives should be giving the nation back to the people who are supposed to own it.   He speaks also of a painting in the Oval office entitled “ A Charge To Keep,” which he says speaks to him of serving a cause greater than himself, and which reminds him that his most important job is to unite the country and provide leadership to overcome tough challenges.  He continues that America's true strength is in the people and their values, and that we ca achieve anything if we set our minds to it.

Perhaps he is right, but it occurred to me while reading this that he might have placed something else on the wall in front of his desk where he could see it every day.  It is a quote from a character created by J. Michael Straczynski:  “Who do you serve, and who do you trust?”  Were I in his position, I think it would be something I should spend much time thinking on.  

The answer to first part should be obvious.  The President’s job is to serve the people.  Who he can trust is an entirely different question, and particularly in the present situation he faces a perhaps unique situation in the history of American politics.  We know he can trust in God.  However, he is the first president who has had to deal with a political enemy cloaked behind a religion, which has the objective of wiping out everything America stands for.  He also faces home grown terrorists and political opponents who have an almost pathological hatred of him and what he stands for.  And whether he likes it or not, whether he will admit it or not, many of them have an equal dislike for the nation in which they live.  

A few weeks back I happened to hear Dan Patrick speaking about conservatism on Houston Texas radio station KSEV.  He cited three basic qualities a conservative demonstrates.  As I recall, they were, first, belief in small government, low taxes and government spending only on what was absolutely necessary.  Second, was support for a strong defense and strong law enforcement.  Third, was reliance on traditional American values and the American family as the center of our social system.  Perhaps with some thought Mr. Bush will understand the importance of these qualities better, and will adjust his thinking to come closer to them.  This will probably be necessary if he is to leave behind a nation, which will be able to do the great things he believes us capable of.  If our true strength is our people and our values, our people should be allowed to promote those values and to control their own destinies, rather than having government in the way.  Meanwhile, trusting the Democratic Party to be a partner in achieving even modest things for an nation they have already written off as militaristic and decadent while ignoring and heaping disrespect on its people is foolish.  

Will I support Mr. Bush for a second term?  Yes, unless something better comes along.  I just hope that he remembers whom he serves and whom he can trust when he is reelected.

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