Friday, April 14, 2006

Bush's White House bully pulpit can't silence even the softest voice of a Blountville 7th grader

This week Harold Ford Jr. traveled the state in a brightly colored bus, making stops in towns and cities from Mountain City to Memphis. News reports indicated that whereever he traveled, Ford was greeted by throngs of supporters and curious onlookers. Speeches were made, factories were toured, hands were shaken and the energy and excitement of it all was electric.
But at a stop at Blountville Middle School in East Tennessee, the spotlight shifted from candidate Ford to a soft spoken 7th grader. In a school assembly this child bravely raised her hand and posed a question that transcended the politics of the moment. Her question was simple - why can't our troops come home from Iraq?
Witnesses say the exchange visibly moved Ford. The child, it turns out, has a father serving in the Tennessee National Guard - a father who is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Ford didn't just address the question, he embraced it. In that school room in East Tennessee the sentiments and concerns of both child and Congressman were as one - whatever's being done to bring resolution to the conflict, whatever's being done to support the troops and their families back home is simply not enough. Ford's response to the child was clear - as a nation we can, we should, and we will do more.
As fate would have it, the day Ford's caravan was making its way out of Blountville a group of retired U.S. military generals were stepping forward in Washington to raise similar concerns about failed Iraq policies and misguided leadership at the helm of the Defense Department. Like Ford, the generals had begun calling on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to step down. In order to rethink and redirect our failed strategies in Iraq and Afganistan, Ford has argued that new leadership at the helm is clearly needed.
In response to Ford's and the generals' call for Rumsfeld's resignation, President Bush rejected any and all calls for new policies, new strategies or new direction. Bush proclaimed - with the sort of arrogant tenor that has come to typify this Administration - that Rumsfeld's "energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period."
But try as he may, this week the President - even using his White House bully pulpit to project a loud and defiant tone - could not silence the voice of a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, and could not silence even the softest voice of a Blountville 7th grader. Come election day this November, their's and the other voices of those Tennessee families with loved ones serving over there will be heard.

4 Comments:

Blogger Richie said...

Great Post! The 7th graders words and Ford's response were touching, but I'm wondering what Ford could've possibly told her. It's so hard to explain to a child what's really going on, and I feel terrible for that girl that her father is over there because of inept political decision making by our government.

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