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Parenthood has an uncanny way of bringing solemnity to an otherwise
carefree life. Although I discovered that for the first time several
years ago, the truth crystallized anew for me Thursday night as I sat at
the kitchen table talking over the day with my 8-year-old daughter.

After a long day at work, I wasn’t expecting (nor was I hoping for) a
conversation about anything of great importance. A young girl with the
undivided attention of her father, however, often seizes the opportunity
to expand her horizons.

“Daddy, when’s the election?”

“Nov. 7.”

“Who are you going to vote for?”

I was still trying to finish a late supper and, frankly, didn’t want
to present an on-the-spot civics lesson. Neither did I want to just
give her a two-word answer and leave it at that. I was suddenly
inspired as I looked down at our local newspaper lying askew on the
table. (Newspaper — you know, that quaint, historic means of
communication where the news is outdated by the time you read it and the
newsprint stains your fingers. They do help with starting fires in the
winter, however. I guess that’s why we keep them coming.)

There on the front page was a photo of Vice President Al Gore making
his “surprise” visit to the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday
night, smartly bedecked in one of his three-button, earth-tone suits.

“I am not voting for this man, Al Gore,” I found myself blurting out,
pointing at the veep’s image. “He cannot be allowed to become the
president.”

I’m not sure, but I think my sudden resolute tone surprised my eager
student. What she didn’t know was that during my last hour at work, I
had overheard parts of Gore’s acceptance speech on TV. In an instant,
the disdain I had for the speech and the proposals presented in it
combined with a genuine concern for my daughters and the future of our
nation. I found myself motivated to speak out against what I believe to
be a threat to so many things I hold dear. That threat is an Al Gore
presidency.

As alarmist as that may sound, it is absolutely true. The future of
countless personal liberties and freedoms that have already begun
eroding away hang in the balance this year.

Perhaps I’ll use this column as a guide when I present a more
detailed explanation of my rejection of Al Gore to my home-schooled
daughters. He covered many of the basic issues that determine how much
freedom a people will enjoy.

To the speech:

The candidate praised President Clinton for the robust economy.
While Democrats love to refer to the economy as a Clinton success (an
arguable point, to be sure), their crowing only serves to distract from
the real issue for which he will be remembered — his character.
Lesson: Do not dwell on economic success while ignoring the timeless
value of integrity.

The candidate promised a “fairer” America. Please. Government
should stop trying to futilely make life fair for its “subjects.”
Fairness is not an institutional value that can be dictated from on
high; it is a personal value that we are to demonstrate to one another.
Lesson: Life is not fair — don’t be fooled by someone promising to
deliver fairness via government programs.

The candidate promised to “invest” in a myriad of wonderful
endeavors. When a socialist uses the term “invest,” it simply means
coercing money from one group of people and redistributing it to others.
Lesson: Beware the use of words in deceptive, manipulative ways.

The candidate promised “affordable health care for all.” We do not
need the government to build

mammoth, inefficient programs
to make the products and services we buy “affordable.” Stay out of the economy and allow consumers to keep more of their money. That will, through the magic of capitalism, make things affordable. Lesson: Fight for the freedom to make your own economic decision with your own money.

The candidate promised to give power back to parents so they can choose what their children will be exposed to in our culture. Problem is, that’s not the government’s role. We already have the right to choose what our kids are exposed to; we don’t need the government to give us that ability. Lesson: Make your own decisions; take responsibility for your own home and family; exercise self-control, not government control.

The candidate promised to “invest far more in our schools.” Argh! Continue to throw money at a failed public school system — from the federal government no less — and watch the quality and safety of government schools continue to drop. Easy lesson here: Home-school your kids.

Along those lines, the candidate promised “universal preschool” within 10 years, as well as expanded child care and after-school care. Message: We the government want control over your children at an even earlier age because we are so good at molding young minds. Lesson: See above.

The candidate promised to reject any tax cut for the wealthy. I say, let the wealthy have more of their money — they invest it in the economy and employ millions of people. This Democratic class-warfare thing is getting really old. Lesson: Do not envy (Exodus 20:17 paraphrased).

The candidate — to one of the loudest ovations of the night — promised to uphold a woman’s right to have her unborn child destroyed. The man proudly defends what has become a scourge on the moral conscience of this nation. It’s a disgrace. Lesson: Defend the helpless against those who value convenience over justice.

The candidate promised a hate-crime bill. Liberty is truly waning in a land when the authorities punish emotion instead of action. Which emotion will they outlaw next? Lesson: Hold one another accountable for wrongs committed, not emotions felt.

The candidate promised mandatory safety locks on guns “to protect our children.” It is clear from

comprehensive research
that children are better protected when law-abiding citizens are allowed to own and carry their own weapons. Government infringement of constitutional rights must be battled vigorously. Lesson: Honor the United States Constitution.

These are the main issues from Gore’s speech that each of us should discuss with our children. It is imperative that they understand the high stakes we face this November and in the many Novembers to come.

My 8-year-old may not be ready for a dissertation on each specific issue, but she must be clearly taught the values of freedom and responsibility, lest she succumb to the empty promises of the nanny-state. If I can successfully pass on those values to my children, I will have done a small but significant deed in helping to restore and preserve liberty in this land.

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