01/24/07 — A real message: Much will be said; voters will have to find truth in rhetoric

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A real message: Much will be said; voters will have to find truth in rhetoric

You have heard the phrase “beware of prophets bearing false witness”?

Well, in today’s political climate, determining who is really ready to address an issue and who is just simply jumping on the bandwagon of criticism is tougher than usual.

After President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, the pundits and others were out in full force immediately, critiquing the Iraq war policy and pointing fingers at the president and his staff.

There have been lots of accusations made over the past few months about misusing intelligence and getting the country into a war for less than noble purposes. Now, the new battle cry is that the president and his advisers do not want to admit they cannot finish what they started — and are willing to risk more American lives in the process of beating their critics.

And all of that is easy to say, especially when the final decision on what the right move is in Iraq is someone else’s responsibility.

There are indeed questions to be answered about Iraq. And there will be many more disagreements over policy and what should happen next.

But as we listen, it will be tempting to pay attention only to the flame-throwers and bandwagon-jumpers rather than looking at the big picture — and what we have already accomplished in the Middle East.

There have been sacrifices and there will be more.

There have been concerns and questions — and there should be more. That’s what makes this democracy strong.

But there will be a lot of people — with higher political aspirations or not — who will throw around a bunch of theories, statistics and criticisms of the direction the nation is headed not only on an international level, but domestically as well.

They might propose some ideas — and they might not.

What we have to be careful of is just barely listening and not really looking hard at what the facts are — and if their ideas are really viable solutions to the problems they say they are tackling.

A bunch of fancy speech-writing can make anyone look good. What is really hard is standing up for what you believe is right and offering a viable alternative that addresses the issue and gets the job done.

Rhetoric will be enticing here. We, as voters charged with determining the future of this country, need to rise above it. That is our responsibility as we head into 2008.

Published in Editorials on January 24, 2007 11:02 AM