Thursday, September 02, 2004

Educate Yourself America!

It is time to get serious about the election. The problem, as I see it, is that there are too many people making statements without arming themselves with facts. Many well-meaning people "edit" their statements to boost their own credibility and strengthen their opinion.

Unfortunately, many of these people are in the limelight, and have the ability to manipulate the minds of a percentage of voters.

Case in point - how many people are going to vote for John Kerry bacause Al Franken, Alec Baldwin, or Natalie Maines tell them they should? How many people are going to vote for Bush because of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Toby Keith?

My point here is that ALL of the above named people have an agenda. They don't tell you that the opposing side does have good ideas, only that their opponents are incompetent, evil morons. To paraphrase John McCain in a radio interview the other day "The Democrats have some good ideas and they have some bad ideas. The Rebulicans have some good ideas and they have some bad ideas. We need to remember that both sides have the best interest of the nation at heart, they just have different ideas on how to accomplish the goal."

So I am urging everyone to read the Democratic Party platform and the Republican Party platform and decide for yourself which party reflects your views. I personally am reading each and trying to take my emotions about John Kerry and George Bush out of the mix. In the process of reading and thinking about the platforms, I am discovering why I believe the way I do. I strongly urge all to do the same.

The Democratic platform can be found at

The Republican platform can be found at underneath the "About the GOP" heading.

Please urge everyone you know to take a little time and make an informed decision. Forget Natalie, Sean, Al, Toby, Rush, and Alec. We are all adults and can decide for ourselves.

Finally, after you have read both platforms and made a rational decision, take the time to talk (discuss, not argue) with someone who does NOT share your views! It will make you defend your position, you might learn something from them, and they might just come around to your way of thinking.

The most powerful force in this nation is an educated electorate!

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele

I found the transcript of this speech on You can click on the title of the article to go there if you wish. I have removed all the side news info and all the notations of where applause came in the speech, and things like that.

A friend at work asked me if I had seen his speech, which I had not. He said, it was really good. So I went to find it and it was really good. As I read this speech, it made me wonder, again, why minorities in general view the Democratic Party as their party.

All that Democrats have given the minority population of this country is rhetoric.

Republicans have given them results.

The Democratic message: "Rich people are rich because Republicans make them rich, so vote Democrat"

The Republican message: "You're a free man, go and make something of yourself. We'll keep government out of your way; you go do your part."

The Democratic message is more attractive. The Republican message works.

Here is the speech:

Good evening. Is this a great party or what?

Now, I had planned to give a moving defense of the conservative principles of the Republican Party tonight. But there was one problem: Barak Obama gave it last month at the Democratic Convention.

I am the first African-American ever elected to a statewide office in the great state of Maryland. Even more amazingly, on a ticket with Governor Bob Ehrlich of the great state of Maryland, the first Republican governor in Maryland in over 40 years, I became the first Republican lieutenant governor of my state.

Together, Governor Ehrlich and I made history.

I am proof that the blessings of liberty are within reach of every American. We have come an incredibly long way since the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

And we have come a long way since another Republican president, Dwight Eisenhower, sent the National Guard into Little Rock to open the school doors to black and white children alike.

And we have come even further since a majority of Republicans in the United States Senate fought off the segregationist Democrats to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (Emphasis added by me.)

My journey to this moment has been inspired by men and women who remained forever vigilant in their pursuit of equality and opportunity. Individuals like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan and Maebell Turner refused to accept the poisonous path of complacency. They each had dreams. But more important, they all had plans to turn those dreams into an American reality. America, ladies and gentlemen, is the promise of endless possibilities.

America, my friends, remains that place Ronald Reagan called "a shining city on a hill."

But while the promise of America is real, the challenges we face to secure that promise for every American are no less real. We must continue to be vigilant in our fight against the blight of poverty, poor education and lost opportunity. What truly defines the civil rights challenge today isn't whether you can get a seat at the lunch counter, it's whether you can own that lunch counter to create legacy wealth for your children.

Now, at the Democratic convention, we heard one word over and over again: hope. But there's a problem, my friends. Hope is not a strategy. Hope doesn't protect your kids from terrorism. Hope doesn't lower your taxes. Hope doesn't help you buy a home. And hope doesn't ensure quality education for your children.

As the book of James reminds us: "It's not enough just to have faith. Faith that does not show itself by good deeds is no faith at all."

You see, it's results that matter; and President Bush doesn't just talk about hope, he stands on a record of putting hope into action for America.

President Bush knows that a competitive marketplace will require providing our children with a first-rate education.

He knows that too many of our children are headed for the state pen instead of Penn State.

He knows that the "soft bigotry of low expectations" is today's version of blocking the entrance to the schoolhouse door.

President Bush didn't just hope for dramatic education reform, he turned that hope into No Child Left Behind, and our children are learning again.

He didn't just hope for economic recovery, he turned that hope into action by returning money to the people who earned it -- American families.

And today, over 111 million taxpayers are keeping more of their own money.

President Bush didn't just hope for increased home ownership in America, he put his hope into action.

And today, more Americans own homes than ever before and for the first time ever, more than half of all minority families in America are home owners.

Now, I am, like many of you, a 20th century parent trying to raise 21st century kids. And I realize that my responsibility for them doesn't end when I bundle them up, kiss them on the forehead and send them off into the world. If we expect to succeed, if we expect our children to succeed, we must look to ourselves and not to government to raise our kids, start our businesses and provide care to our aging parent.

What government can do is give us the tools we need and then get out of the way and let us put our hopes into action.

But this requires strong leadership. Now, Senator Kerry's leadership is illustrated best by the Senator himself when he said, "I actually voted for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it."

He also recently said that he doesn't want to use the word "war" to describe our efforts to fight terrorism.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I don't want to use the words "commander in chief" to describe John Kerry.

Just a year -- just a year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, most Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats rejected an amendment to slash our intelligence budget by $6 billion, but not John Kerry. It was his amendment.

Most Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats voted to give our combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan the funding necessary for things like body armor, but not John Kerry.

When Vice President Gore urged the Senate to "Reinvent Government" and reduce the federal workforce, most Republicans and Democrats voted for it -- you guessed it -- but not John Kerry.

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate voted to reform the product liability system that was making trial lawyers rich while playgrounds and small businesses were closed, but not John Kerry.

Most senators in both parties voted to protect the institution of marriage through the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Bill Clinton, but not John Kerry.

All right, enough about him.

Now, you may have heard me mentioned Maebell Turner as one of the great inspirations in my life. Maebell is just one of many faces in America who struggled to raise a family and believed that she could offer something more for her children.

She grew up the daughter of sharecroppers and had to quit school in the fifth grade to work a farm. She married a man who died of alcoholism.

She worked 45 years in a laundromat, making minimum wage, and still managed to send her kids to parochial school.

She never took public assistance, because as she put it, she didn't want the government raising her kids.

Maebell always saw the hope that her kids would be better off than she was. And she channeled her hope for that legacy into action. Today, Maebell Turner has a daughter who is an accomplished pediatrician and a son who is the lieutenant governor of Maryland.

A lifelong Democrat, she once asked me how I could grow up to be such a strong Republican. I simply replied, "Mom, you raised me well."

You see -- you see, Maebell understood. She raised me to understand and appreciate some of the enduring principles that are important to all of us. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and incentive. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they should do for themselves.

These are the beliefs of our Republican Party. These are the beliefs and the principles that drew me to this party 28 years ago. And today, the standard-bearer of these convictions is George W. Bush.

So my friends, as we leave this place at the end of this great week, let's continue to work to re-elect a compassionate man who understands people's yearning for freedom, a man who knows that families make better decisions than government, and a man who turns hope into action, and moves us all toward that shining city on a hill: our president, George W. Bush.

Thank you, and God bless.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Arnold Schwarzenegger has undeniable charisma. He's rarely been categorized as an "actor". Movie star yes, actor no. But, he has a presence, a presence that comes from force of will. Everything he has approached, he has done from the desire to conquer. Body building, Movies, Politics. He is a force of will.

He is in no danger of being considered a good actor. At times he risked becoming a parody of himself. He hasn't, because he never stopped trying to improve. He doesn't hold onto unrealistic self images. That may come from the bodybuilding.

Actors live in a made up world where everyone tells them how wonderful they are. Bodybuilders live in a self made world where the mirror tells them how wonderful they are. And success comes from acknowledging flaws, and working to eliminate them.

He had become successful, I thought, because he simply chose to, and worked unrelentingly on whatever he had to, to be successful at his chosen occupation. Last night I learned something more about him.

He believes, at a deep level, that he is successful because of his choice to be an American.

His message last night was certainly about reaching out to those that feel the Republican Party is exclusionary and elitist. But his message was not just an attempt to cover the harsh exterior of the Republican party with some kind of soft warm paisley print or otherwise put a sheen of inclusion on the cold, gray, unfeeling metal elephant.

As noted above, he is not much of an actor. The emotion that I saw appeared genuine to me. And his message was really for and about Americans. This is a land of immigrants that have made good. No, you don't get off the boat and get handed keys to a house and a car and put all struggling behind you. It's not like that here. You get handed a pick or a shovel, and you work for your house and cars.

In Dallas, we had thousands of Vietnamese people relocated here after the North and South Vietnams became Vietnam. I watched in amazement as over a 4 year period a person went from being housed at Catholic Charities to owning his own grocery store, house, and Mercedes Benz. 4 years. How did that happen? He came from a world of 16 hour days bent over in a rice paddy and dodging helicopters, disease and famine. He came to a country where all you have to do is work. While his competition was whining about their 8 hour days and 5 day work weeks, he simply outperformed them.

Arnold, and millions of Americans like him, love America for what it is; defined in the only terms that matter, personal terms: their lives here in the land of the free. They aren't interested in the opinion that there are two America's: one for the haves and one for the have nots.

An Ethiopian I know told me, with a big grin on his face, "America is the only place in the world where the poor people are fat!" Mind you, he has seen the poor. And they aren't standing on street corners in their Nikes carrying a Big Gulp in one hand and a sign in another. The poor where he comes from are laying in the streets dying. We all need a bit of a reality check regarding How Things Are Here, versus How Things Are Elsewhere.

Arnold tied all this in to the concept of Republican Ideals. He acknowledged that there are differences of opinion. There always are. But there is consensus on the major things. The pretend divide that the Kerry camp is desperately promoting just doesn't exist. Especially in the context of The Rich versus The Poor as evidenced in America versus Ethiopia. Depending on the yardstick, I am poor, in that I don't own hotels or a jet. Or, I am rich, as in I have food and a place to stay. The American Ideal, or as he stated, the Dream, is not about giving everyone the same level of material goods. It is about giving everybody the same opportunities. And if your aspiration is to stand on a street corner, don't blame Republicans.

Because I guarantee you, if you pick up some dying Ethiopian out of the mud gutter he is laying in and get him back to health, and plop him down in Dallas, Texas, HE WILL NOT BE STANDING ON A CORNER, SIGN IN HAND. He will be working somewhere, saving his money, crying for joy every night, working with a will every day, wondering what to do with all his free time since the boss irrationally won't let him work more than 8 hours in a day, AND FEVERISHLY ATTEMPTING TO GET EVERYONE IN HIS FAMILY HERE AS FAST AS HE CAN.

Arnold's message was one of hope and inclusion from someone that has the credentials to tell the tale. He never said it was easy. He never said he was entitled. And he is not some sort of exception to the rule, he is simply a visible application of the rule.

He also said he is a Republican, and that you might be one too. Come out of the closet all you closet Republicans! Come into the light. You are welcome here. You Democrats can come too.