Who is your choice for president?
Richard "Doc" Rioux · November 3, 1996
OK, so who should be the next President of the United States? We vote Tuesday for the man who will be our leader in the year 2000. That's an awesome thought! It's a sobering responsibility to exercise the right to vote for a president who will be heir to the heritage left to us by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Bob Dole is a war hero with a great deal of experience in government. He's an honest guy with decent values who wants to cut taxes and reduce governmental intrusion in our lives. Elizabeth Dole would be a great first lady. Jack Kemp does understand what's wrong with America's inner cities and would work to use private enterprise to lift the poor out of poverty.
That we pay too much of our money in taxes to the federal government is clear. We need better services at the local level, a smaller federal government and a strong defense. Though the economy is not bad nationally, the cuts in defense that began under George Bush and increased under Bill Clinton caused havoc in California, and we have only now begun to recover from the recession.
Under President Clinton, the $200 billion annual deficit has been reduced to $100 billion a year. That's a good thing, and he deserves credit for the effort. He's also done pretty well with foreign policy, despite what his critics would have us believe. The killing has stopped in Bosnia, Haiti is better off than it was three years ago, and the Middle East peace process continues to limp along in one of the most difficult arenas in the world.
It is in the area of social policy that Mr. Clinton has failed me the most personally. I cannot forgive him yet for the ignorance of heart which led him to veto that bill that would have stopped partial-birth abortions. Killing an unborn baby at birth is a grisly procedure that we cannot afford to tolerate or justify as a civilized and caring people.
The Administration's cuts in the War on Drugs produced a rapid increase in teen-age drug use. There isn't a junior or senior high school in this country where you can't buy illegal drugs during lunch. The plague of drug use and alcohol abuse must be addressed on a national scale if we are to save our cities and our children. Over 80 percent of all inmates in U.S. prisons are there because of drug-related crimes. Why Mr. Clinton decided to minimize the nation's effort to curtail illegal drug use is beyond me. I do, however, agree with his effort to combat smoking among teen-agers.
My 27-year-old daughter, Regina, will vote for Mr. Clinton. My wife, Suzanne, and my 26-year-old daughter, Stephanie, seem to like Ross Perot's message. We do own America, and the waste in government can and should be eliminated. Mr. Perot is for badly-needed campaign funding reform, fair trading policies and common-sense business practices in designing and reforming programs to help people. He wants to give parents and teachers at the local level control over running their schools. My other children, Jeremy and Natasha, can't vote yet, but they like Ross Perot, too.
And then we have several smaller party candidates to choose from: Ralph Nader of the Green Party, Howard Phillips of the American Independent Party, Harry Browne of the Libertarian Party and John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. These candidates have interesting things to say about preserving the planet's natural resources, the education of our children and reducing the size of the federal government by restricting it to the powers enumerated in the Constitution.
Do you have a vision for what you want America to look like? If you do, then you should select the candidate who comes closest to making what you want for America happen.
Here's my vision: I want to live in a society where people are well-educated, have good jobs, are physically fit and kept out of hospitals and act in accordance with sound moral values that do not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, gender or national origin. I want to raise my children in a society where we manage our natural resources efficiently by preserving our wilderness areas, by expanding our national parks and by maintaining clear water and clean air. I want to live in an America where the Supreme Court stops making social law, where the federal government is made smaller and where local governmental services and schools are truly controlled and funded at the local level. I want a drug-free America where it's safe to walk city streets and where inner-city kids end up going to universities like Loyola rather than to penitentiaries like San Quentin.
The Democratic Party appears to have become the party of a political, judicial and media elite bent on supporting an oppressive taxation system that has undermined the American family and too often forced both parents to work outside the home to make ends meet. Children don't raise themselves. They need one parent at home after school.
I'm voting for Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.
Dr. Richard Rioux is a resident of Stevenson Ranch. His commentary appears on Sundays.
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