In 1939 there were several great movies that came out of Hollywood. Among them, Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, and Mr. Smith goes to Washington. In Mr. Smith goes to Washington, we saw Jimmy Stewart portray young Senator Jefferson Smith as he goes after a corrupt politician from his own state. During the filibuster portion of the story, a reporter tells the radio audience that a filibuster is the greatest display of democracy. In a filibuster, the reporter continues, a lone man could talk uninterrupted until he stops talking or gives control of the floor to someone else.
I used to agree with that reporter until I began to rethink what has happened during the past couple of weeks in this country. During the past two weeks we saw opponents of the current administration attack verbally the policies and actions of the administration. Cameras were rolling and every word was heard. Millions of folks watched on television and heard the charges over various other media. The following week the current administration's party attacked the views of the opposition party and again, every word recorded, millions heard the statements on television and other media and then everyone went home.
The world saw what really is a great example of our democracy: American politics in action. We argue and we disagree and we charge each other with stating falsehoods, and then we prepare to vote. Then we go home and await the outcome of the election.
What people all over the world saw were attacks on the policies of the current administration and nobody was arrested, shot, or disappeared. They just stated their opinions and went home.
Our Constitution guarantees those freedoms. Those rights, ordained by God, and guaranteed by the Constitution, allow for this process to take place in this great land of ours.
This week we remembered those who were killed on Sept. 11 in New York, Washington D.C., and in Pennsylvania. They were killed by folks who for what ever reason hate our form of government and wanted to kill thousands of our fellow citizens.
The terrorists wanted to kill more with the attacks but the passengers who took control of the plane and flew it into the ground saved the lives of many. The police and fire fighters who walked into burning towers and helped save 45,000 lives reducing the killings by the terrorists. Those who helped rescue folks at the Pentagon helped save fellow citizens from the fires and those heroes kept the death toll down.
So during a period of fewer than 30 days we saw verbal attacks on our elected leaders and everyone going home safely and then we could all watch or attend memorial services to honor those killed by hateful people who want to stop all debate and run the world in their belief system.
We are watching the trial of the terrorist who killed soldiers at Fort Hood as he has his Constitutional Rights protected every step of the way. We have to be vigilant as there are people here and abroad who want to kill Americans and want to destroy America.
Abraham Lincoln warned that the American spirit couldn't be conquered from an outside force. He stated that no army could ever make a track on the Blue Ridge Mountains or take a drink from the Ohio in a test of a thousand years. Americans would never allow such a takeover. He cautioned that if our nation was to perish that it would be by suicide.
That is why each of us must listen to the words of the political parties, read their position papers, study the candidates beliefs and records and then look inward to see which candidate best represents your belief system.
Don't leave it to others and don't support someone because of looks or "coolness."
The vice-president and president stated it so very well last week when they said that there is a very clear and different choice between the two men running for the office of president.
I prefer limited federal government and others desire having the federal government involved a great deal in their lives.
This Monday, Constitution Day, I will be re-reading that document that limits federal powers. I will also be celebrating the way the election process played out with the conventions as we showed the world a great display of how democracy works.
What a country!