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Change is in the Air

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A friend sent me one of those circular emails asking
whether I was a Democrat, Republican, or Southerner.
The script was this:

"You are walking down a quiet street in your
neighborhood with your wife and two small children, no
other people around. Suddenly, an angry Islamic man
with a huge knife appears, rushing towards you,
screaming obscenities, praising Allah, raising the
knife towards you as he charges at you and your
family. You are carrying a Glock 40-caliber and are an
expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches
you and your loved ones. What do you do?"

THE DEMOCRAT'S ANSWER WAS:

"Well, that's not enough information to answer the
question.
Does the man look poor or oppressed?"

"Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire
him to attack?"

"Could we run away?"

"What does my wife think?"

"What about the kids?"

"Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock
the knife out of his hand?"

"What does the law say about this situation?"

"What do the European courts say about this
situation?"

"Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into
it?"

"Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind
of message does this send to society and to my
children?"

"Is it possible this guy coming toward us would be
happy just killing us?"

"Does he definitely want to kill or hurt me and my
family, or does he just want to make a religious
diversity point?"

"Would he be content just to insult and wound us,
because we are an evil country, evil people, who have
taken advantage and despoiled the world, and he is
understandably unhappy?"

"If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my
family get away while he was stabbing me?"

"Should I call 911?"

"Why is this street so empty?"

"We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and
make this a happier, healthier street that would
discourage such behavior."

"This is all so confusing. I need to discuss this with
some friends for few a days and try to come to a
consensus."

THE REPUBLICAN'S ANSWER WAS:

Bang.

THE SOUTHERNER'S ANSWER WAS:

Bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang
... click ...

(Reloads)

Bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang ... bang
... click ...

After dropping the bad guy, the man's daughter says,
"Nice grouping, daddy. Were those the Winchester
silver tips or hollow points?"

The man's son says, "Can I shoot the next one?" (A
reminder of the scene in Mel Gibson's "The Patriot,"
when the colonial father (Mel Gibson) told his two
young sons, "Aim small," as they dropped an entire
brigade of British redcoats to save the captured
son/brother.)

After the shooting in this circular email scenario,
the man's wife steps in to tell him about the corpse
lying in the street, "You ain't taking that to the
taxidermist."

We might chuckle. But, really, where are we five years
after 9/11?

Earl Tilford, a retired Air Force terrorism expert and
history professor at Grove City College in
Pennsylvania, talks of "Apocolyptic Visions" in a
recent posting on the college's always interesting and
on-point Vision & Values Center Website.

Professor Tilford says we are in World War IV - WWIII
having been the decades-long Cold War ultimately won
when Ronald Reagan faced down the Soviet Union's
Mikhail Gorbachev - and quotes St. Paul's letter to
the Corinthians regarding the long haul sure to
follow: "If the trumpet does not sound a clear call,
who will get ready for battle?"

"Like the Cold War and the Second World War, this is a
total war ... If they get nukes, they will use them. It
also is a global war. And like the Cold War, it will
be a long war, if our will does not break early,"
Tilford elaborated in an email.

"I will be very disheartened if next month the
American people opt for an easy out from Iraq," he
said. "Our enemies will be emboldened and they will
come after us like wolves after a wounded prey. We can
win this war, but I'm worried about our national will.
We need leaders who clearly understand the nature of
this war and can communicate that to the American
people."

But there is another view within the conservative
mainstream of the Republican Party that worries about
a threat to our own basic liberties and commitment to
limited government since 9/11.

Many conservatives worry that their commitment to
lean, limited government, especially at the federal
level, limited-to-necessary spending and taxation at
all government levels, and protection of our basic
human liberties have been eviscerated by the present
administration of President George W. Bush. There is
the additional impact of people's strong concerns
throughout the country on the immigration issue that
will play out in tight House and Senate races in the
impending congressional elections.

The elections will inevitably turn on people's
concerns on national security and immigration issues,
plus concerns of the conservative base of the
president's own party as the faithful right now
realizes the full sweep of federal government actions
the administration has implemented, the huge costs
down the line and impact on our personal freedoms and
the economy as things have unfolded to date.

I personally feel a wipeout of Republicans in Congress
is about to happen.

Thomas G. Moore, a key defense official in the
Reagan-George H.W. Bush administrations and retired
Army reserve officer -- one of the best minds and most
honest, principled men I have been privileged to know,
states the case this way:

"The idea that we can transform Islamic societies into
stable, peaceable, democratic mirror images of our own
is the most irresponsible delusion of all the many
delusions of our foolish governing elites and the many
follies of our time. Societies built on the Christian
gospel (even a decayed one like ours) will have some
idea of liberty. It is inherent in the Christian
faith-and-belief-system.

"Societies built on Islam, with its coerced submission
to an inscrutable, unknowable, impersonal Allah, are
totally incompatible with the idea of liberty. And the
peace of Islam is only the 'peace' of submission, of
the sword, of the grave. Thus it is a religion made
for, and fit only for, slaves."

This administration and Republicans in Congress, after
the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, have
spent us and our grandchildren into oblivion with the
war in Iraq and so-called "homeland security"
legislation that has started obliterating our civil
liberties, even repealed the Constitution's habeus
corpus guarantees.

Not just partisan anti-Bush administration Democrats,
but many loyal Republican conservatives as well
believe this administration lied us into the current
war in Iraq and co-opted our country into an endless
military morasse there.

Regarding the evisceration of our civil liberties by a
mindless robot Congress, just read the fine print of
the Military Commissions Act of 2006, passed by
members of the U.S. House and Senate who surely had
not read the fine print of this very dangerous piece
of legislation that repeals habeus corpus.

We are told the enemy is Islamic fascism on the world
stage. Perhaps. But I wonder whether the more
dangerous enemy is not idiots in Congress blindly
following a national administration that lied us -- as
their opponents charge -- into an interminable
military presence in Iraq and the entire Middle East,
and who used arguments about a global terrorist menace
to suspend our own basic liberties here in the United
States?

Republicans have implemented these policies, with the
help of centrist and conservative Democratic
fellow-travelers. It is ultra-left Democrats and now
far-right conservatives who have resisted. There
appears to be confluence under way of left and right
in our national politics. Are they all wrong? I hear
voters throughout the country asking, "Who is for 'We
the people' and who is agin us?"

Which leaves me ambivalent about the impending
elections.

So what if the Democrats win the House or Senate, or
both? Then they will have to get us out of this mess.
The Democrats don't have a cohesive message or agenda,
but by God they will have to come up with one after
November 9 if they win a majority in one or both
houses of Congress.

That outcome in tight House and Senate races across
the heartland would effectively end the Bush
administration, as well as Republican control of
Congress.

If Republicans win a congressional majority again, if
only the Senate, the mess will get bigger as federal
government spending continues to spiral and Congress
continues, mindlessly, to pass legislation in the name
of national security that steadily eviscerates our
basic civil liberties.

I'd almost rather have a screaming Islamic lunatic
running down the street towards me with a big knife.
The real enemy would then be clearly in my sight, and
I'd know what to do to defend myself and my family.

But with runaway government, controlled by mindless
leaders and followers, who lack a moral strategy of
warfare and decision-making, what does one do as a
patriot except go with the flow?

No. This individualist does not go with the flow. I'll
vote my conscience on November 9 - and it may be a
vote against members of Congress I admire, because
they have shown no true moral vision to support the
basic liberties I cherish most, and have therefore
lost my trust.

Change is not necessarily bad, and a person given
leadership by the electorate must step up to the plate
and govern. Bad governors and legislators should be
removed to make room for fresh leadership devoid of
the ever-present political power plays, lying and
deception.

There will be other elections down the road, and I
have continuing faith in our American system that
things will work out best in the long run, so long as
we stay true to our commitments to basic individual
human liberties and ultimate belief in lean, efficient
governance at all levels.

This piece originally appeared on George Archibald's blog.