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Election '08

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Finding What’s Great In America

In all of the grousing we do about our nation and our leaders, sometimes it’s important to remember what is great about America.

When I was a young boy, I lived in a small town outside of Reno Nevada called Sparks. That town is not so small now but when I was young it was quite small. As an example, at the ripe old age of four, I decided that I was going to walk across town to my Aunt Joyce’s house because she told me that I could go with her to see Ronald McDonald. In tow, I had my three-year-old friend Mark who was happy to follow my lead. While I was walking to her house, a local police officer spotted me and asked me where I was going. I, being the forthright child my parents raised, told him. So, he called my mom who had been a classmate of his in school to ask her if this was something she had knowledge of which of course she didn’t. He took me home and talked with my mom a bit about kids and how they were bound to be kids and left. That was it. I was left with my parents to face the consequences of my actions. There was no Child Protective Services called or questioning of my parents' parenting skills. It was a small thing and handled as such between two adult friends who knew each other well enough to not inject negative notions into an innocent situation.

There are places in America where that type of thing still happens. That is one of the most beautiful things about America in my view. When you get out of the cities and into the towns, you find that there is a sense of larger community that can still exist even in this modern age of technology and disconnection. People still go borrow cups of sugar from their neighbors and still have ice cream socials after church on summer Sundays. There is still hope in these wonderful small patches of what America was designed to be.

When you look at the history of our nation, you have almost got to look at two separate and different histories. One history is the America that dominates the world and is the last super-power standing. That history is full of conflict and wars and it is the America that much of the world despises. That is the America that Al Qaeda uses to recruit people with the single goal of our destruction in mind. That is the America that people in other nations burn in effigy. That America could use some improvement and we would likely be wiser for seeing its shortcomings.

The other America is the America that everyone wants to come to. It is the land of opportunity where people are judged not by the place that they come from but for the place that they are headed toward. It is the America that stood up for the little guy two hundred and thirty one years ago and threw the British Empire out of with nothing more than a rag-tag band of insurgents who had a vision for a brighter future. It is the America where a college dropout can become one of the richest men in the world because he knew how to recognize the potential of an idea and run with it. It is the America where all men were created equal and the vision of people like Martin Luther King Jr. becomes closer to reality all the time. It is the core of hope under the veil of cynicism enshrouding our troubled times. It is the America where a poor boy from a small town in Arkansas grows up to be President of the United States.

As you sit and enjoy the fireworks and good American food this 4th of July holiday, try to find the greatness in your America. Try to remember what our forefathers were fighting for when they declared their independence in a voice so loud that the world could not ignore it. Find what’s great in America for you and share that with someone new. Expand the dream and share the vision. We find so many ways to divide ourselves and chip away at the wonder that is America’s potential. On this day, in this year, for one brief moment, I challenge you to find a way to unite with your fellow Americans. Whether it’s sitting around a TV watching a baseball game or inviting a neighbor over to share in the BBQ, find a way to share the America you love with someone else. Shake a veteran’s hand and say “thank you”. Buy a guy that’s down on his luck a cup of coffee. Hold the door for a neighbor whose hands are full and wish them a nice day even if you can’t remember their name or never knew it to begin with. Do something to share the best of the spirit of America with someone else. Show the world that what made America great still lives and breathes in her people.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

Pardon me...

This week, George W. Bush shocked almost nobody when he waited until right before a holiday to commute the sentence of Vice President Cheney’s former Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. This move is fairly representative of how the current administration has conducted business from the start. Whenever preparing to do things Congress won’t like, they have managed to time it so that there is little to no recourse possible. In this case, Congress couldn’t have done anything anyway but they did of course grouse over the timing of the announcement.

The grousing of Democrats seemingly strengthened the resolve of President Bush as he went further in later comments to say that he has not ruled out a pardon for the loyal former administration staff member and supporter. Some have speculated that "Scooter" Libby much like John Dean during the Watergate scandal may have knowledge that the administration does not want revealed and that this move was intended to ensure the silence of Mr. Libby in any future Congressional investigation into the administration. With the latest round of subpoenas being issued by Congress to Vice President Cheney’s office relating to the actions of the Vice President it is clear that the Democratic controlled Congress is intent on getting answers to long-standing questions about the activities of this administration. Libby could play a key role in the upcoming hearings and his loyalties to the Bush administration have surely been bolstered by the President’s actions.

It will remain to be seen if the former Chief of Staff is called upon to testify in the hearings that are likely to take place in the near future regarding Dick Cheney’s actions while in office. There is no doubt that it's in the administration’s interests for Libby to be on their side during any investigation of the Vice President. Dick Cheney’s feeble legal attempts to reclassify himself outside of the Executive Branch will not stand up to even moderate scrutiny of the Constitution where the role of the Vice President is clearly defined as being part of the Executive Branch so there is little question about whether hearings will take place or whether Cheney will be compelled to turn over documents requested by Congress. Congress has the clear Constitutional authority to compell the Vice President to disclose the information and has made it abundantly clear that they intend to do so. The only matters in question are when hearings will take place and how extensive the investigation into the administration's activities will be.
Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.

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