Magazine article Tikkun

Hooray for the Thoughtful Undecided

Magazine article Tikkun

Hooray for the Thoughtful Undecided

Article excerpt

Many Democrats are rallying around the cry, "Anybody but Bush."

I am not one of them. I am a Republican.

Please don't stop reading. This magazine does not endorse candidates, but offers lots of contrasting views. This is one. What I love about TIKKUN, and why I publish and write for it, is that its diversity of provocative views forces me to think more deeply about the serious issues confronting the world and our nation.

At the outset, let me say that I have serious reservations about Bush's stewardship-the tone of our foreign policy and the precariousness of our nation's financial position-but I am far from persuaded that the other candidates have the demonstrated leadership capacity to do a better job.

I am an "undecided," and I hope for the good of America that there are a lot more like me. Our two parties should compete for our support, not assume it. I fear that we Americans are losing our ability to listen to and learn from each other, and to find common ground. How many Bay Area progressives have friends who are evangelical Christians or want to learn more about their views? How many wealthy Americans living in gated communities have spent time with struggling low-income single parents or really care about them? Too few, I believe.

In the belief that readers of this magazine, like myself, are listeners and learners, let me offer a perspective about why George W. Bush at least deserves consideration.

First, foreign policy. The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center dramatically underscored our vulnerability to a violent global terrorism that is hostile to the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Bush acted decisively to eliminate terrorist bases in Afghanistan and to remove the Taliban regime. Today, Afghanistan is moving toward a constitutional Islamic republic with political and gender rights, a remarkable achievement. Compare that performance to the weak and ineffective reaction of the prior Administration to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, a response that actually emboldened terrorists to believe that they could increase the scale of their violent attacks because America would not fight back.

Our subsequent intervention in Iraq, while premised on faulty intelligence and exacting a heavy human toll, appears to be producing democratic reforms in the heart of a volatile region critical to our national security. These achievements are tied to long-term human rights goals that will take time and patience to suceeed.

Interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq do not evince "endless war," but rather targeted changes in regimes hostile to democracy and guilty of crimes against humanity. …

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