The other Two Americas'

By Staff
July 25, 2004
Craig Ziemba / guest columnist
The centerpiece of this year's Democratic presidential campaign is a speech by John Edwards entitled "Two Americas" in which he gives the liberal perspective of reality in these United States. The gist of his speech is that ours is an unjust society where the rich and powerful few block the poor and powerless from achieving the American dream.
But does that truly characterize our country?
Tens of millions of Americans of all races begin with very little and end up as financial success stories and pass on even greater opportunities to their children. How would that be possible if our nation were as oppressive as the Democrats claim it is?
In many ways, there are "Two Americas." Our population splits fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, rural and urban, and conservative and liberal.
But the differences between us go far deeper than politics. What really separates us is how we view the way things are and how we believe we can change them for the better.
Liberals believe that more government (funded by more taxes) is the answer to society's ills while conservatives believe that the only way to end poverty, addiction and violence is not with bigger bureaucracy but through individual moral responsibility.
Facets of life
This philosophical difference colors every single facet of American life.
In our "Two Americas," some folks get up early every day and go to work, while others sleep in and wait for a government check. Some manage their money wisely while others blow every dime they touch and then file for bankruptcy.
Some believe that hard work will eventually pay off while others hope to strike it rich at a casino or in a courtroom ("This is my wreck; this is my check").
There are still other differences in the Two Americas that go far beyond economics.
Some Americans believe in right and wrong and good and evil while others think moral values are a function of popular opinion. For instance, it once was legal to smoke in public and illegal to kill unborn children. Today it's the other way around.
Some Americans believe we were created in the image of God and are accountable to him while others think we are descended from apes and are accountable only to ourselves. Some believe that children need a mother and a father while others believe that the family is whatever you want it to be two moms, two dads, anything goes.
Different ideas
Americans also have different ideas about our role in world events. Some believe we have the right and responsibility to defend freedom and democracy at home and abroad while others think that world peace will only come under the umbrella of the United Nations. Some believe we should take the fight to the terrorists while others think if we stop fighting back, Islamic fundamentalists will leave us alone.
Which America do you want to live in? An America where people work, save and take care of their own families or one where socialist tax collectors seize every dollar we earn to redistribute through federal entitlements?
An America that respects its Godly heritage or one that caves in to the humanistic demands that we remove every mention of God from our pledge, our motto and the public square?
An America that has the military might and willpower to defeat our enemies or one that hides behind the skirts of the U.N. Security Council?
John Edwards is right. There are two distinctly different visions of America in this year's election. The choice you make determines which vision we follow, and that matters.
Craig Ziemba is a military pilot who lives in Meridian. His book, "Boondoggle," is available at Meridian area Bible Bookstores.

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