Dan Balz offers an important overview of John Edwards' National Press Club policy address in today's Washington Post. He exposes the stark contrast between the partisan Republican shut-off of reasoned debate in the Senate about the Bush administration's conduct in the Iraq war and Senator Edwards' decidedly refreshing ability to speak for the vast majority of American citizens who believe that the Iraq war was a mistake to begin and is a mess today.
Mr. Balz wrote:
On a day when the Senate defeated two Democratic amendments aimed at forcing President Bush to begin pulling out of Iraq, Edwards told a National Press Club audience the administration has made a mess in Iraq. He said he favors an immediate withdrawal of 40,000 troops and called for all combat forces to be gone in the next 12 to 18 months.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has spoken of the many difficulties that arise from ideological conflict when men fight each other for means or methods and lose sight of their human ends and goals. A person reading that might think that the Dalai Lama was speaking about the war on terror or any war between nation states. Yet, I see that happening between the Republicans and Democrats in our own halls of government today!
"Rubber-stamp" Republicans have our nation locked into a very unpopular war, considered unjust and immoral by many spritual leaders and citizens, in which more than 2500 Americans and uncounted thousands of Iraqi civilians have lost their lives.
Democrats are offering many ideas, from Senator John Kerry's time-sensitive pull-out recommendation to Senator Jack Reed's non-binding no-timetable withdrawl plan. Meanwhile, the "rubber stamp" Republicans are voting like drunken imperialists who never want the occupation to end. When pressed on the issue of the Democratic amendments on Iraq being debated in the Senate yesterday, Senator Edwards did not say that he was with Kerry, with Reed, or with anyone. In true-leader fashion, he told the interested people at the National Press Club what he believed. Not only does he express hope that America will reclaim the moral high ground with the international community, he conveys his unique ideas on how to make it happen. We can only move forward as one America. Any other way has failed and will continue to fail. The bitterly divisive GOP front has made a deliberate political assassination of reason and debate simply because it came from a Democrat. The Washington D.C. political battle for means or methods have caused "Rubber-Stamp Republicans" to lose sight of human ends and goals in our world. To be moral supporters of liberated citizens of a burgeoning democracy, you do not kill them (or their brothers and sisters) in a military occupation of their land.
When I heard Senator John Edwards speaking about Iraq yesterday, I asked myself why no one in Washington, D.C. is willing to speak so frankly about what each and every American can see so clearly for him-or-herself. Why does politics have to feel like a game of Evil Charades? Americans are sick of it - - sick to death of the game.
The people dying in Iraq are flesh and blood. It's easy to sit on your tail and crow about courage and tenacity when you're not the ones walking around with 70 pounds of armor in a steaming urban nightmare where a burgeoning democracy is leaning toward amnesty for insurgents who've already killed some of the best friends our soldiers have ever known - soldiers who'd die for one another because they loved their fellow troops and believed in a great and united America. [See this letter from soldier Sean Frerking]
I want a leader who thirsts for social justice in our world, is as strong as steel, yet has an innate and unshakeable compassion for every living being. I sense that Senator John Edwards is that kind of man. Possessing a strong independent mind and a longing to see all Americans working for the best America we can be, he doesn't rely on a bunch of consultants and speechwriters to relay his convictions to the public. He lays out his beliefs and respectfully leaves it up to each of us to decide for ourselves whether or not we find substance and personal truth in what he's saying. That respect is the strength of his ability to connect with so many Americans.
We are all jaded with the belief that all politics is dirty. It isn't so, even though it's easy to feel that way with the many disappointing tactics we've seen from the Bush administration and their Rubber Stamp Republican "division-crew". They have shown that they disdain the Democratic party and they crave power far more than they care about the unity and the individual rights of the people of this nation. It is so far flown from the ideal set down in the Gettysburg Address that I often hang my head and cry.
What has happened to the party of Lincoln?
I hope that all of America will continue to wake up to what's happening in this country and to see John Edwards for the great leader I know he will be. Bloomberg News says he sounded like a candidate yesterday. I think he sounded more like I'd hope the President of the United States would sound like. May it be!