Echoes of Brutus
This is my 100th column since these pages have afforded me the
opportunity to appear regularly. I cannot let the day pass without
expressing the deep gratitude of an immigrant who has been granted
a voice at a time when the future of America is at stake.
It so happens my first column in this series appeared the morning
after the 1996 presidential elections, lamenting the absence of
a campaign that would clearly define the two sides and thus have
the potential to win.
This time, the choice was clearer but, apparently, still not clear
enough. Come January 2001, the White House, as well as both chambers
of Congress will be controlled by a razor-thin majority.
The potential for any number of unprecedented events and situations
to unfold between now and December 18 - the day our new president
will be elected by the Electoral College - is very real. If ever
America needed to rely on the honor of its politicians, it will
be during the next five or six weeks.
Our Founding Fathers sat through a long, hot summer to hammer out
a Constitution that would stand the test of time. Having engaged
in the most thoughtful consideration and deliberation of the human
condition as recorded since the inception of time, they created
a Representative Republic.
But Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. tells us that America is a
"Democracy." And Mr. Gore is an honorable man.
Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their
sacred honor to the proposition that all men are created equal and
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and
that among these are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit
But Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. tells us the Constitution they
created held that people with black skin were only three-fifths
of a human being. And Mr. Gore is an honorable man.
When America was founded, for the first time in history, people
were no longer bound by the circumstances of their birth. Millions
since have gone from rags to riches, each generation able to do
better than the previous one. Self reliance and hard work have resulted
in steadily accumulating wealth, and increasing access to it, by
a constantly growing number of Americans. Yet Mr. Gore speaks about
wealthy Americans and working Americans as if the two were on opposite
sides. And, as we know, Mr. Gore is an honorable man.
In the best tradition of American politics, the governor of Florida
has recused himself from further involvement with the recount of
votes in his state, since the outcome will determine whether or
not his brother becomes president of the United States. But Mr.
Bob Butterworth, Florida's Attorney General, who chairs Albert Gore
Jr.'s presidential campaign in Florida, and who has to certify the
results, has apparently not been instructed by Mr. Gore to do likewise.
Yet Mr. Gore is an honorable man.
Unless this nation remains one of genuinely honorable people, nothing
will work. Not the jury system, not commerce, not government. The
true measure of the looming crisis is the inescapable reality that
our political life has become increasingly populated with people
who appear unfamiliar with the concept of honor. Such people place
the highest premium on acquiring power and will do what it takes
to prevail. They are all around us now, and their shrill voices
are growing bolder by the hour. Some, like Vice President Gore,
still pay lip service to the Constitution, but most are blatantly
advocating throwing it away if it serves their purpose. Their incessant
references to "our Democracy" is code for getting rid
of the Constitution.
It is sad to see the extent to which decent members of the Democratic
Party fade into the background as the activists abandon all pretense.
That is why - whatever the outcome - our highest priority must be
an enhanced understanding of what our national debate is all about.
What Governor George W. Bush delicately calls "a difference
of opinion" is really the centuries-old debate within Western
Civilization: Is the source of greatest benefit to the community
the liberty, creativity, industry and honesty of the individuals
who constitute it, or is the community best served by suppressing
the individual and vesting power in a central authority?
As we know, America had chosen - and prospered by - the former,
but by packaging it in terms of caring and compassion, the other
side has been successful in advocating the latter. Only a grand
national debate can clarify who is who, and what is what.
In the meantime, playing by the rules, as the Bush campaign is
bending over backwards to do, may well cause the election to be
stolen, unless the outrages of the other side are clearly identified
as such. And not only those of politicians. For example, on Wednesday
afternoon, Judy Woodruff, senior journalist of CNN, speaking of
the farcical complaint of some voters from Palm Beach County about
"confusing ballots," charged fraud. Those ballots, we
are told, had been mailed to every voter well in advance. Ms. Woodruff's
hysterical statements are buttressed by the equally hysterical antics
of Repr. Robert Wexler, Florida Democrat, familiar since the impeachment
It is frightening to watch the spokesmen for the Gore campaign
- all, all honorable men - preparing the ground for their assault
on our constitutional system. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, another
honorable man, has already arrived on the scene and, as usual, is
demanding money to organize yet another protest. Others talk about
the need to resolve the situation "in a fair manner."
As we know, in the vocabulary Democrats have inherited from the
socialists, "fair" replaces "lawful."
There is clear and present danger unless true honor returns to
the political process on both sides of the isle.
My thanks to all who read these thoughts.
God bless America.