Shenandoah County GOP

VOTE. Because it matters.
November 4, 2008, 7:45 am
Filed under: Election 2008, The Important Things


Toms Brook, VA.

A crowd waits outside of a United Methodist Church. Many have just gotten up. Some are getting ready to go to work. Nobody’s dressed too particularly well. There’s about thirty in all. 

Idle chit chat takes up the moment, but you can tell there’s a certain anticipation here.

It’s nearly over.

The wait.

After two and a half years, this little town of about 300 (plus about 1,000 residents who live in the surrounding area) gets to have its say in what will surely go down as a legendary contest, where the stakes were never higher and the choices never clearer. It’s been a campaign of twists and turns, some good, some bad. There’s been comebacks. There’s been failures. There’s been the sudden emergence of new political leaders onto the national scene. Once more there’s a deep concern for the direction of this country, an understanding of the issues, and a desire on both sides to do something about. Gone are the days when politics were for the rich or college professors. Everyone’s interested. Everyone’s working.

And it all reminds you about just what’s so great about this country, and what makes it such a special and unique place on this Earth. Is it without fault? No. But America has always learned. And even when she stumbles, she’s always been able to pick herself up and keep on going. 

And I have no doubt that that’s what we’ll do after today.

I always feel special on Election Day. Not everyone gets the right. For me, it’s the height of being a citizen. It’s the embodiment of the American spirit. Choice. Self-determination. Freedom of expression. Everything rolled into one package. When I was a young kid something just struck me about the simplicity of the act and how average people could work their way up the ladder to have a shot at leading an extraordinary people.  

So, to set aside partisanship for a second, I encourage every to vote, regardless of your politics. This nation is too special and too many young men and women have died to preserve this right for it to be squandered by simple indifference. Even above the smoke and fog of the campaign, there are principles, there are values on both sides. Weigh yours. Weigh theirs. Make a choice.

And vote.


A Special Message from Speaker Howell
November 3, 2008, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Election 2008, State Government and Politics, The Important Things

william_j_howell_header.jpgAmerica is a great country and we are at a crossroads that will determine our future.  Like you, I know the spirit that built our country was bold, not timid.  It was a spirit of pride, confidence and courage that we could do anything.  I’m proud of America – all that it is and all that it can be.  

Ronald Reagan often spoke of the “shining city on a hill” as the ideal embodied by America.  When we think of that city and our friends and neighbors across Virginia, what often comes to mind are the values that we cherish – family, hope, opportunity, patriotism and, most of all, freedom.  

Of course, freedom comes at a price.  

Even now, Americans from every walk of life are in harm’s way defending the very freedoms people sometimes take for granted.  Indeed, many generations of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice so you and I might enjoy the blessings of liberty – including the right to vote. 

My purpose in writing is to urge you to vote in this coming Tuesday’s election.  

Please do so not because I asked, but because a son or a daughter of an American generation died to ensure that all of us continued to have our freedoms, including your right to vote.  

If you’ve already voted, thank you for exercising this civic obligation.  If you haven’t, I hope you’ll think about the sacrifices made so all of us have the right to choose our elected leaders.
Yes, voting is a constitutional right.  But it is also a patriotic duty – one thing we can do to give back to our wonderful country in which we are so blessed to live. 
If you haven’t already, please vote on November 4.

Things my father taught me…..
October 27, 2008, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Election 2008, The Important Things

On the way home from Mt. Jackson today (where I was hoping to have a phone bank, but alas), I heard an advertisement from Senator Jim Webb, informing me that he was a proud NRA member, that his father had given him a rifle, and that he had given his son a rifle. From this, plus his heartfelt assurances, I was supposed to believe that Barack Obama is not going to fight to strip away our Second Amendment rights.
Putting aside the fact that Obama has already shared his thoughts that the Constitution is an outmoded document that is halting “progress,” I was struck by how I was supposed to believe that because Jim Webb is good on guns Obama is too.

Well, I’m touched that Jim Webb believes in sharing the tradition of hunting and the shooting sports with his son. It’s pretty common, if not downright universal, for one generation to find something to leave to the next. My father is still on this earth, but by far the best thing he’s ever given me is his advice. Alot of them are great nuggets, like “Dance with the one that brung you,” “You can judge a man by the company he keeps,” and “It’s not the number of friends but their quality.”

Perhaps the one rule that pops up again and again in politics that my father gave me is “A man should be judge by his actions, not his words.” And so that’s why I have so much trouble when, although Barack Obama keeps telling me that he believes in my fundamental right to self-protection and the balance of power through the freedom to bear arms, his record as an Illinois State Senator tells a much different tale:

  • Voted to limit handgun purchases to one a month while a State Senator (Illinois Senate, HB2579, vote 34, 5/16/2003)
  • Proposed raising taxes on guns and ammunition over 500% (Chicago Defender, 12/13/1999)
  • Voted for a bill that would have banned most target rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and even muzzleloaders and would have allowed law enforcement to enter homes to retrieve the guns (SB 1195, 3/13/03)
  • Voted against saving homeowners from prosecution when they used a firearm to stop a home invasion (SB2165, 3/25/04)

As a United States Senator, he continued to leave a trail of anti-gun actions, even as he carefully parsed his words while running for the nomination:

  • Refused to sign, with over 300 other members of Congress, an amicus curiae brief supporting gun rights during DC vs. Heller
  • Supported Senator Edward Kennedy’s bill that would have banned numerous popular center-fire cartridges on the grounds that they are “armor piercing ammunition”
  • Voted to allow reckless lawsuits that do little more than bankrupt honest gun manufacturers (United State Senate, S 397, Vote 219, 7/29/05)

I’m sorry, but those simply are not the actions of someone who respects either the balance of power the second amendment ensures or the rights of millions of Americans to enjoy pastimes that have been handed down through generations.

I think I’ll stick with Dad instead of Jim Webb on this one.

In the heat of battle, honor and valor show
October 24, 2008, 10:41 am
Filed under: Election 2008, Personal/Meta, The Important Things

Politics can be a very fickle activity for anyone to engage in. Issues change. Candidates come and go. Enemies become friends, and friends become enemies. It’s enough to make anyone jaded and tired of the process after a while.

But every once in a while, you meet people who are in politics or engaged by a candidate for all the right reasons. People who are grounded, as we should all be, by timeless values and who strive in everything they do to hold onto and teach these values to other. Suzanne Curran forwarded me the following from Delegate Chris Saxman, which I think embodies the very best of politics and of our men in uniform:

Over the past few months, many of you have asked what is like being on a presidential campaign, and there are so many stories to tell that I really never knew where to start…but this one makes a start possible, especially since it is one of those stories rarely picked up by the main stream media.
Last weekend in Prince William County, I had the honor of speaking to the thousands of supporters who had turned out to support Senator McCain and Governor Palin. After I spoke, I was approached by a young man, Marine Sergeant Jack Eubanks, who was not in uniform, but he showed me the Purple Heart he had received for his service to our country in Iraq. Sgt. Eubanks asked me if it would be possible for him to meet Senator McCain, because he wanted to give the Senator his Purple Heart medal.
I got the Secret Service (very intense people) to help us give Sgt. Eubanks the opportunity to meet Senator McCain, and we ended up doing so back stage. Sgt. Eubanks is a very nice young man, who embodies the spirit of “Country First.”
The National Review went deeper, and it’s their that we see the virtue, honor, and pride of this young man:

“I just gave John McCain my Purple Heart,” Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks told me a few minutes after McCain finished a speech at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Virginia Saturday. “I said, ‘I want to give this to you, sir, as a reminder that we want you to keep your promise to bring us home in victory and honor, so it will mean something.’“

“We fought over there, and we want it to mean something,” Eubanks continued. “We don’t want to come back and it just be all for nothing.”

Eubanks, 22 years old, knows as much about the war as anyone. On October 3, 2005, he was in a Humvee on patrol near the Syrian border when an IED went off. “I was thrown from the vehicle, took some shrapnel, landed on my spine and mashed it up a little bit,” Eubanks told me in a remarkably good-humored way. He was injured much more than just a little; it took him eleven months to recover. And then — then he volunteered to go back. In August 2007, he was hurt again in a strangely similar way. “Hit by a mortar, thrown from a vehicle — the same situation,” Eubanks told me. Now, he’s teaching recruits at Marine Corps Base Quantico — and walking with a cane.

This is the very best of the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis–Always faithful.