- The Washington Times - Friday, November 5, 2004

Protecting traditional marriage

The Nov. 4 editorial “Marking the divide” states: “In an election decided as much by moral values as by security and economic issues, voters resoundingly approved preserving the sanctity of marriage.” It is incomprehensible that any discussion of the “sanctity of marriage” can occur without mentioning the ever-worsening problems of divorce, abortion and adultery.

The destruction of traditional marriage began 30 years ago with the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce and Roe v. Wade. It is obtuse to think that banning same-sex “marriage” is a panacea for all of the ills that have befallen traditional marriage and the family. The national debate over same-sex “marriage” is valid; ignoring the myriad issues already destroying traditional marriage is hypocrisy at its worst.

BEN BERRY

Washington

International election monitors

Having served as an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe election observer for the March 2004 Russian presidential election, I was utterly appalled and embarrassed when reading the article “Monitors decry pro-Kerry schedule,” (Page 1, Tuesday).

What has happened to the integrity of the U.S. election system when we can’t even willingly allow foreign observers to monitor our election process?

Republican Party spokesman Joseph Agostini’s quote regarding the motives of the election observers’ desire to observe a Republican headquarters and his suggestion to have tea and cookies with the Kerry campaign was ill-informed. Furthermore, this observation of campaigning is far from a peripheral issue for international observers.

According to the OSCE’s fact sheet on elections, of which the United States was a participating state, “The Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) fields extensive teams of experts to observe the entire electoral process and to determine whether the election is designed and implemented with respect for the following principles: universality, equality, secrecy, freedom, transparency and accountability.”

I doubt that being denied access to the Republican headquarters in Orlando constitutes transparency in the purest sense. Voter registration and access to the polls and candidates’ campaign procedures have everything to do with OSCE observation.

While in Russia, much of our observation was devoted to determining how voters registered, how the candidates campaigned, how the polling stations were organized and how the ballots were counted and recorded. All of these are essential to ensuring a fair, equal and transparent election, concerns Mr. Agostini clearly does not recognize or appreciate.

Furthermore, during my observation mission, my team was never denied access to any political party’s headquarters. This is significant, considering that I was observing in a country that 10 years earlier had known only decades of communist oppression and rarelyexperienceda nonviolent transition of power.

One would assume that after the debacle in Florida during the 2000 election, these observers would be welcomed by both political parties. How can President Bush encourage developing democratic governments, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq, to look to the “model” of the U.S. election system if he isn’t willing to allow international observers, whom he invited, to observe his Florida campaign’s headquarters simply making phone calls?

It is obvious that they do not wish to be held accountable to the same international standards that we have encouraged through our own participation in the OSCE and to which other “undemocratic” countries are held accountable.

Also, their opinion that the observers are biased is unfounded. The OSCE agreed not to permit domestic observers as part of the delegation in order to promote unbiased observation of the election.

I think it is obvious that the Republican Party in Florida has much to hide, and a lot of growing and maturing to do. That is nothing to be proud of. But at least I can take solace in knowing that the invitation for tea and cookies is always on the table.

MARC KOKOSKY

Alexandria

Future judicial appointments

Widespread dissatisfaction with our liberal judiciary, along with total confidence in President Bush’s ability to appoint the right kind of federal judges, are among the major reasons for the president’s 58 million-plus vote mandate this week (“Marking the divide,” Editorial, yesterday). To remove any doubt, the electorate also strengthened the Republican majority in the Senate in order to help confirm those conservative appointees.

No possible reading of Tuesday’s results could support the idea that the American people want a Republican Senate Judiciary Committee to fight the president on judicial appointments — but that’s exactly what Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, promised this week.

Less than 24 hours after the election, the presumptive incoming Judiciary Committee chairman fired a broadside at the White House, warning the president against appointing the kind of judges that the American public elected him to select. It’s an outrage.

Mr. Specter is a man of many talents, and he would probably be a fine chairman of some other committee or subcommittee. But he proved Wednesday that he is simply not the right man to chair the Judiciary Committee at this time.

If Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants Mr. Bush’s second term to be successful and if he wants to be remembered as an effective leader himself, he must persuade other Republican senators to select another lawmaker to be Judiciary Committee chairman.

JOHN F. DI LEO

Palatine, Ill.

Look who needs an education

In Thursday’s front-page story, “Stoic losers disdain change,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California asserts, “It may be about how we can educate the American people more clearly on the difference between Democrats and Republicans.”

With all due respect to the congresswoman, it isn’t the American people who need to be educated. Rather, it is herself and other leaders in the Democratic Party.

They need to be educated on the fact that the war in Iraq is part of the war on terrorism, not “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” They need to be educated on the fact that tax cuts (not a plan for enacting all sorts of programs without finding ways how to pay for them) are the way to improve a recovering economy.

They need to be educated on the fact that character matters. The American people knew where President Bush stood on the issues, while Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, offered one conflicting position after another. More important, Mrs. Pelosi needs to be educated on the fact that “prosperity,” “community,” “opportunity,” “fairness,” “accountability” and “protecting our country” are not only the “soul of the Democratic Party.” They are the “soul” of every American citizen and every person who seeks freedom.

Thank God that more than 59 million fellow citizens believed that Mr. Bush was the person to enable those ideals to be advanced.

CARMEN D. VILLANI JR.

Chantilly

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