Zell Miller: “Vietnam, Iraq, and the 2004 Election
I subscribe to Imprimis, the “national speech digest of Hillsdale College”. The Jan 2005 issue features an adaptation from a speech by Zell Miller, given on Dec. 9, 200r at the Hillsdale College Churchill Dinner. A couple of exerpts;
In the 2004 election, the American people confronted the ghost of Vietnam and considered the threats in today’s world. In deciding how we would confront these threats, they decided that while America is not perfect, America has been, and still is, a force for peace and freedom in the world – and that we should act for, rather than retreat from, that reality.
America has rejoined the contest for freedom, which is manifested in a new form called the Bush Doctrine. That is why the rejection of a Vietnam-tainted worldview in this election is so monumental. A bad idea must be weeded out before a good one can take root.
Some dared to call these Democrats the “Blame America First” crowd, and rightly so. For when the Berlin Wall fell and a half billion people from the Urals to the Baltic, from Siberia to the Crimea, became free, those who had been giving America all the blame now failed to give America any of the credit. The Cold War was the greatest victory for freedom in the history of the world. But those of the post-Vietnam mindset praised it not.
So America entered the post-Cold War era still conflicted. But the divisions were latent Ã¢€“- untilÃ‚ 9/11, when we learned new lessons of freedom in a grassy field in Pennsylvania, the halls of the Pentagon and the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan. On that unforgettable day – the day historian David McCullough has called the worst in U.S. history – the scales of the American worldview tipped back toward reality. Americans rediscovered that the world is a dangerous place, that freedom is fragile, and that America cannot ignore its role as leader of the free world.
But while 9/11 woke up many to these cold hard facts of life, it also stirred the dormant but un-diminished ghost of Vietnam. The same stroke that unleashed the war in Iraq let loose a host of demons from the past. For the “Blame America First” crowd, it was as if the question of what is in the best interest of our nation during a time of war was never asked, or its answer never heeded.