Saturday, September 14, 2002
Call your senators
I wonder how much of our public knows that Sens. Daschle and Leahy and their cohorts, as well as Sen. John McCain, are holding up the confirmation hearings of the president's nominees to the federal bench.
In the words of James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, "They have sought to prevent 'strict constructionists' from being confirmed, preferring instead judges with the same ultra-liberal leanings as Goodwin and Reinhardt" (those off-the-wall judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who ruled that the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional because it includes the term 'under God'). Democrats currently have a hammerlock on the courts, and they apparently aim to keep it. The result is an alarming accumulation of vacancies in the federal courts. Those Democrats and Republicans who are holding up the confirmation hearings must be made to understand the damage they are wreaking on this country by their refusal to permit the nominations to proceed to hearing." I would urge you to write or call these senators and express your concerns.
They can be reached at (202) 224-3121.
My only uncle, Albert Votaw, was killed in the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983. I was in 10th grade. I still remember watching the news each night, Uncle Albert's picture on the screen, listed as one of the missing. It seems like it was more than a week before they confirmed his death.
It was said he must have been eating in the cafeteria when it happened. Sometimes I think I see him in a crowd. A false hope that somehow they were wrong, he survived and was so shocked he just he just started living another life.
There were so few remains, he was never returned to the U.S. My aunt decided to let him rest there in Beirut. I wonder if I will ever see his grave. Number 51, then Vice President Bush came to Uncle Albert's funeral. Sometimes I wonder if Sept. 11 isn't some sick reminder to the Bushes that they are vulnerable.
My sorrow at Albert's death was for the uncle I lost, the only uncle I had, but more for my father, Albert's wife and four daughters. Their lives have been forever changed. It is more difficult for them to love completely and without fear of loss. I can't imagine losing my own father.
After Oklahoma City and then Sept. 11, my heart ached in a way I can't describe. For the victims, but more for all those left behind left to pick up the pieces.
There are so many emotions shock, disbelief, numbness, incredible sorrow, hatred, ANGER and then at some point there is a renewed sense of thankfulness for life, the beautiful surroundings, friendship, love and family. I think that is why I chose to leave D.C. and live in a place like Steamboat that puts these things first.
I wish I could say there is understanding, but there is none for me. I try. But the senseless acts of suicide bombers using cars and planes as weapons, killing people they never met makes no sense. My father tells me my uncle didn't want to go to Beirut, he was scared. But he went for his country. What was he thinking that day? What was the man driving the car that blew up the embassy thinking before he died? Was he sorry, regretful? I pray for those who live with that kind of hate in their hearts.
It must be a terrible burden.
A friend of mine from college was killed on Sept. 11 and left behind a wife and two children. This year I will think and hope that his wife and kids can live in the present, enjoy each other and remember their father as the wonderful spirit he was. And I will remember my uncle, showing up to visit with tie-dye skirts from abroad, trying to teach me about different cultures and how wonderful they are, and I will hope that somewhere in the Middle East his spirit is filling the hearts of terrorists with compassion and that someday, somehow there will be peace.
Lisa Votaw Olson