Left Justified: Belly-burner of an upcoming election

I’m getting indigestion just looking at the election news coverage. George Bush made lots of mistakes in Iraq and is driving the economy into the ground, but nobody cares. And no one trusts John Kerry. One young voter told me that he “lied about his medals.”

As a Vietnam veteran, I know you cannot “lie” about your medals. Either you were wounded under enemy fire or you were not. And John Kerry was wounded three times. But that shouldn’t be the main issue. The main issue should be: can John Kerry get our butts out of Iraq without the country turning al-Qaeda?

Thanks to George Bush, there are now more terrorists killing Americans than ever before. And John Kerry hasn’t articulated a specific plan for getting us out of the Bush mess in Baghdad, but I know he’ll do a better job than our present president. I also know he’ll be more careful about expending life.

Kerry’s Senate record as investigator

The Bush people are afraid because Mr. Kerry is the first real liberal since John F. Kennedy. But Kerry has a longer résumé and greater experience on tough issues. Kerry was always the investigator in the Senate. He took apart the octopus-like conspiracy of the BCCI cover-up and the Savings & Loan fraud. He brought down what he saw as a corrupt financial institution, despite hurting fellow Democrats.

Kerry also disregarded the advice of his party and his staff to address one of the most highly-charged subjects: the presumed existence in North Vietnam of American prisoners of war.

In 1993, following months of exhaustive, often gut-wrenching testimony, his committee concluded there’s “no compelling evidence that proves that any Americans remain alive in Southeast Asia.” Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who served on the special committee with Kerry, says that’s where he learned to respect John and grew to be a friend.

McCain says, “We would not have had the normalization of relations with Vietnam [which occurred in 1994] had it not been for John Kerry.” And that angers a lot of hate-filled war mongers from the ’60s.

In my humble opinion, John Kerry is a far better choice, but I’m afraid he’ll lose. He’ll lose because of fear and expert manipulation by the present administration. He’ll lose because the Democrats are always in disarray, and the liberals are not as excited as they should be.

Politics in Winnebago County

All politics is local, and that can be borne out in the Winnebago County Board chairmanship election. Big bucks and big-time urban sprawler Scott Christiansen will steamroll Paul Gorski. Paul’s been fighting an uphill battle valiantly, trying to say Winnebago County should control development instead of the willy-nilly hyper-construction that’s pillaging everything east of Fairview.

And surprise—Paul Gorski has come out against a casino, which will be an economic sinkhole and take money from the general economy and give to investors, most likely in Las Vegas. County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen is a promoter of the casino, much to the dismay of his fellow churchgoers and evangelical Republicans. Besides preying on the weaker links in our county, a casino harms the family, increases crime and corruption, and turns some people into compulsive gamblers. Paul Gorski realizes that, and Scott Christiansen, for some reason, doesn’t. Again, it’s probably because he’s such a promoter of developing anything for any reason, and maybe he can put a roof on it.

There’s going to be a referendum on the casino. It will be held in Harlem Township, of Winnebago County. Harlem Township czar Doug Aurand, a casino proponent, is pretty sure it will be passed with flying colors. I pray that a miracle occurs and that people will vote it down. I pray that folks will realize that a casino is not entertaining but is a thief, and it will steal from their friends and the weaker links of their family.

The one bright spot on the election ballot is, of course, a future president. Barack Obama spoke in Rockford at one of our Rockford Urban Ministries meetings. I was quickly enchanted with his personality, his speaking ability and his ideas. I’d thought he didn’t have a chance in the primary facing Democrat hacks and esteemed party leaders. But he surprised everyone and won that election. And his present opponent, Alan Keyes, will not touch him. That’s one bright, shining punch hole on my election ballot.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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