Bush didn’t lie

I am not a big professional-sports fan. It’s not that I am against professional sports; it’s just that, as the old adage goes, “Sports do not build character; they reveal it.”

Professional baseball is rife with steroid use. Jose Canseco has recently written a tell-all book detailing extramarital affairs and drug use by players. Frank Francisco faced aggravated-battery charges for throwing a chair into the stands and breaking the nose of a female fan during a brawl between fans and players in Oakland.

A similar fate befell basketball players involved in a brawl at a Detroit Pistons/Indiana Pacers game.

And then there was pro-football player Randy Moss, who aimed his disrespectful actions on a goal post and at fans in Green Bay, Wis.

Essentially, these are multi-millionaire players in professional sports who at best behave like spoiled children and, at worst, thugs. Not exactly the type of thing I support, nor would I want to try to explain such behavior to my kids—who are infinitely better behaved.

Hence, when I do watch sports, it’s typically NASCAR. For the uninformed, that is auto racing—to be specific, stock cars.

NASCAR is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, community feeling and positive interaction between fans and drivers. Every driver on the Nextel Cup series that I’m aware of serves as a spokesman for at least one major charity. They routinely can be seen providing photo ops and autographs to fans before a race (compared to other sports, where some players have the gall to charge for autographs).

Drivers are polite, articulate and understand the value of fans. Imagine that, humility exhibited by people who participate in a sport where the penalty for a mistake can be death.

So, like many things in life, character and integrity can mean something in some places.

The Feb. 17 RN&R editorial, “More heat than light,” made some excellent points about the dangers of over-simplifying the viewpoints of the differently opinioned. While the editorial made otherwise perfect sense, it reiterated the belief among some that the president and his administration had lied “the nation into a war and then [refused] to admit it.”

I have no doubt that many people strongly hold this belief. Many people also believe that the president is of sub-par intelligence and nothing more than a stumbling buffoon. Yet the ability to be articulate is not a true measure of one’s intelligence. The reality is that Bush holds a Harvard MBA.

In a non-partisan Pew Research Center Poll taken just before the election last November, 63 percent of respondents said Bush was “willing to take a stand, even if it’s unpopular,” while only 27 percent said that about John Kerry. Other polls reflect that most Americans view the president as a deeply religious man who is led by the convictions of his faith.

Taking a stand on unpopular issues is a hallmark of a good leader. Good leadership is not about winning popularity contests but acting with conviction. This is reflected in the most important poll of all—the election—when “values” voters from the red states re-elected the president because they believed his character and integrity were superior to Kerry’s.

The assertion that the president lied to further his political agenda is at best an opinion based on a quantum leap in logic. No WMD found, hence Bush lied. This assumption ignores the reality that U.S., French, German, British and Russian intelligence all came to the same conclusions about Iraq. It also assumes we differently opinionated are wrong about the president’s character and integrity.

You have every right to believe that Bush lied and so people have died.

But I’d bet people who make that assertion don’t watch NASCAR.