Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

U.S. Senator Zell Miller, D-GA Floor Statement on Homeland Security Legislation
U.S. Senator Zell Miller Official Web Site ^ | Septemer 25, 2002 | United States Senator Zell Miller (D)

Posted on 09/25/2002 1:56:34 PM PDT by Howlin

September 25, 2002

U.S. Senator Zell Miller, D-GA
Floor Statement on Homeland Security Legislation

We don't teach our children the lessons of Aesop's fables much any more. "The Cat in the Hat" and Sesame Street's wisdom have taken their place.

But there's one fable I learned as a boy at my mother's knee sitting around an open fireplace that I believe is pertinent to this debate on homeland security that has so divided this Senate along party lines. It goes like this:

A certain man had several sons who were always quarreling with one another, and, try as he might, he could not get them to live together in harmony. So, he was determined to convince them of their folly.

Bidding them fetch a bundle of sticks, he invited each in turn to break it across his knee. All tried and all failed; and then he undid the bundle, and handed them the sticks one by one, which they had no difficulty at all in breaking them.

"There, my boys," said he, "united, you will be more than a match for your enemies.

But if you quarrel and separate, your weakness will put you at the mercy of all those who attack you."

That is a lesson for the ages. That is a lesson for both Democrats and Republicans. For the Executive and the Legislative branches of government.

I'm one of the most junior members of this body and I don't have the experience and I haven't seen near the number of bills that most of the other members have, so my historical perspective admittedly is limited.

But in the short time I've been here, I've never seen such a clear choice as there is on this issue. For me, there are no shades of gray. It is clear cut.

Why in the name of homeland security do we want to take power away from the President that he possessed on 9/11?

Power that Jimmy Carter had. Power that Ronald Reagan had. Power that the first President Bush had and power that Bill Clinton had.

Have we lost our minds?

Do you really want to face the voters with that position, that vote writ large on your forehead, like a Scarlet letter? And even larger on a 36-inch television ad two weeks before election day?

We must give the president the flexibility to respond to terrorism on a moment's notice. He's got to be able to shift resources, including personnel, at the blink of an eye.

Why do we hold so dear a personnel system that was created in 1833 and that is as outdated as an oxcart on the expressway?

When the civil service system was established well over a century ago, it had a worthy goal: To create a professional work force that was free of cronyism.

Back then it was valid. But too often in government, we pass laws to fix the problems of the moment and then we keep those laws on the books for years and year without ever following up to see if they are still needed.

The truth of the matter is that a solution from the 19th Century is posing a problem in the 21st. Especially when this country is threatened in such a different and sinister way.

Presently, we're operating under a system of governmental and personnel paralysis.

It offers little reward for good workers and provides lots of cover for bad workers.

Hiring a new federal employee can take five months - five months. Firing a bad worker takes more than a year - if it's allowable at all - because of the mountains of paperwork and hearings and appeals.

A federal worker can be caught knee-walking drunk on the job and can't be fired for 30 days and then he has the right to endless appeals.

Productivity should be the name of the game and we lose productivity when bad folks hold onto jobs forever and when jobs go unfilled for months.

Don't we realize there is another disaster looming just around the corner where American lives are going to be lost? And another one after that? And that these attacks against Americans - against our country - will occur for the rest of our lives?

Would anyone dare suggest that is not going to happen? Would anyone suggest that 9/11 was some kind of isolated phenomenon never to happen on American soil again? Surely no one - even the most naive optimistic - believes that. Surely no one in this body believes that.

Over sixty-thousand terrorists worldwide have already been identified. And terrorist cells in some unlikely places like Lackawanna, N. Y. have been discovered. They are everywhere.

And when these other attacks come - as certainly they will - do you not think Americans throughout this great land are not going to look back at the last three weeks of dilly-dallying in the U. S. Senate?

And when they do, do you not think that some hard questions and some terrible second-guessing will follow?

I can hear them now. The talk show lines will be clogged. The blame will be heaped on this body. Why was the U. S. Senate so fixated on protecting jobs instead of protecting lives?

The U.S. Senate's refusal to grant this President and future presidents the same power that four previous presidents have had will haunt the Democratic Party worst than Marley's ghost haunted Ebenezer Scrooge.

Why did they put workers' rights above American lives? Why did that 2002 U.S. Senate - on the one year anniversary of 9/11 - with malice and forethought, deliberately weaken the powers of the president in time of war?

And then why did this Senate - in all its puffed up vainglory - rear back and deliver the ultimate slap in the face of the president by not even having the decency to give him and up or down vote on his bill? This is unworthy of this great body. It is demeaning and ugly and over the top.

What were they thinking of? What could have possessed them?

Don't ask then for whom the bell tolls, it will toll for … us.

Few leaders have understood the lessons of history as well as Winston Churchill. Because he was not only a soldier and a great political leader, he was also a Nobel Prize winning historian.

Perhaps, then, at this time we should remember the question Churchill framed to the world when he made that famous Iron Curtain speech in Fulton Missouri at Westminister College in 1946.

He first reminded his audience that "War and tyranny remain the great enemies of mankind." And then he asked this question, "Do we not understand what war means to the ordinary person? Can you not grasp its horror?"

The old soldier went on and said some other very sensible and thought-provoking things, like "War used to be squalid and glorious, now it's just squalid."

Churchill being so blunt did not go over very well. The American media did not want to hear that kind of talk. They called him a "war monger." And even the usually gutsy Harry Truman denied knowing in advance what was in the speech and even suggested Churchill should not have given it.

But I want to repeat the line that is at the heart of today's sermon: "Do we not understand what war means to the ordinary person? Can we not grasp its horror?"

Has scoring points with some labor boss become more important than the safety of our citizens? Can you not grasp its horror?

I wonder if you would feel the same way if the Golden Gate Bridge was taken down by terrorists and 95 cars loaded with families plunged into San Francisco Bay?

Could you then not grasp its horror? Would you then in the name of homeland security still want to take powers away from the President?

Or would you feel the same way if that
beautiful little city of New Roads, Louisiana, on the False River, so peaceful with its Spanish moss in the live oak trees, were to go up in a mushroom cloud. Could you then not grasp its horror?

We rev up our emotions so easily to fight to keep super highways from leveling ethnic neighborhoods.

So, it would seem to me that we should get up the same kind of rage when terrorists want to level entire cities like Baltimore, or Atlanta or East St. Louis or the manicured mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.

If those beautiful cities were the target of a terrorist attack, could you then not grasp its horror?

Or the Space Needle in Seattle, filled with tourists, crashing to the ground?
Or a small pox epidemic in days wiping out completely the Twin Cities of Minnesota, or spreading across the sparsely settled plains of South Dakota?

From the great Atlantic Ocean to the Wide Pacific shore, from the Blue Ridge of Tennessee to Beacon Hill in Massachusetts, I guarantee you then this country would grasp war horror.

And as sure as night follows day, when catastrophes occur, the U.S. Senate will be held accountable if we fail to give the President the tools to do his job.

Why are the people back home always ahead of the politicians? Because most politicians - especially at our level - don't get out among them anymore.

Oh, we think we do. A town hall here, a senior center there. A focus group or two, perhaps. But we don't really. We don't talk to real people anymore. We're too busy holed up in a room dialing for dollars. And the only horror we can grasp from that experience is some fat cat telling us they've already maxed out.

Why are we even in this debate? How will it be recorded in years to come when the historians write their accounts of these days in the U.S. Senate in September 2002?

How will our actions be judged by the people who go to the polls this year on November 5?

Frankly, I think it will be one of our sorriest chapters, certainly the worst in my short time here. A chapter where special interests so brazenly trumped national interests.

Herodotus, who lived in Athens in the 4th Century B.C., is usually called the father of history.

He wrote about the Persian Wars and about the Battle of Marathon, which later historians called the seminal event in the history of freedom.

Herodotus wrote that the Persians lost that battle - even though their army was bigger and better equipped - because the Persians committed the sin of hubris.

Hubris is best defined as "outrageous arrogance." And if you study the lessons of history, especially the lessons of the history of freedom, you will find that hubris would time and time again bring down many other powerful civilizations.

Hubris - outrageous arrogance - is so prevalent in this debate. The hubris of some pinch-minded labor bosses and their purchased partridges in a pear tree.

Outrageous arrogance. What else can you call it when the interests of the few are raised above the welfare of the whole country?

For the rest of our lives we will have to live with what we do on this issue. Will we choose to protect the special interests or will we choose to protect the lives of Americans?

Will we tie the hands of our President or give him the same unfettered flexibility other presidents have had before him?

Don't let this be one of those votes you'll look back on and ask yourselves for the rest of your lives, "What was I thinking of?"

For as we are reminded in "The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam," "the moving finger writes and having writ moves on, nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it."

I ask one last time, Do we not understand what war means to the ordinary person? Can you not grasp its horror?


TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: evildemocrat; homelandsecurity; zellmiller
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-185 next last

1 posted on 09/25/2002 1:56:34 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: YaYa123; Mo1; Dog Gone; A CA Guy; Amelia; ArneFufkin; blackbart.223; Bush2000; Chad Fairbanks; ...
FYI.
2 posted on 09/25/2002 1:57:37 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
The Dems are waiting for another terrorist attack before they will pass it. Then they will call it "too little too late" and blame Bush's "leadership failure".
3 posted on 09/25/2002 1:59:37 PM PDT by AppyPappy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin

ZELL, STEP OUT FROM THE DARK SIDE!
4 posted on 09/25/2002 1:59:52 PM PDT by finnman69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
I continue to be more and more impressed with Zell Miller. An intelligent legislator.
5 posted on 09/25/2002 2:00:17 PM PDT by ladtx
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AppyPappy
This was a fabulous speech from the floor. I wish everybody had seen it.
6 posted on 09/25/2002 2:00:18 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Zell's stance epitomizes why Democrats can still be elected in the "Conservative" South (contrast Zell to liberal Gore losing his home state of TN in 2000)...
7 posted on 09/25/2002 2:00:51 PM PDT by Southack
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ladtx
I continue to be more and more impressed with Zell Miller. An intelligent legislator.

He's evil. All Democrats are evil.

8 posted on 09/25/2002 2:01:32 PM PDT by NittanyLion
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Kudos to Zell Miller!!!! I don't care who speaks up, just that we are UNITED!!

This recent rash of blaming America, and America bashing is sickening.

Daschle didn't speak for my father in law who during WWII flew B-17 bombers, nor does he for either of us!! One having served IN NAM, and myself serving during Nam but conus.

E-mail to Daschle sent!!

I think I will send one to Zell Miller thanking him!
9 posted on 09/25/2002 2:01:34 PM PDT by Vets_Husband_and_Wife
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Senator Miller and his dogs Gus and Woodrow
10 posted on 09/25/2002 2:02:25 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
BTTT
11 posted on 09/25/2002 2:02:51 PM PDT by Roscoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Howlin I am going to hijack this thread ....Daschle is about to reappear in the well of the Seante to make further comments.....as per Carl Cameron..FOX NEWS..

Hit the ping list!!!!!!

12 posted on 09/25/2002 2:04:56 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Oh, we think we do. A town hall here, a senior center there. A focus group or two, perhaps. But we don't really. We don't talk to real people anymore. We're too busy holed up in a room dialing for dollars. And the only horror we can grasp from that experience is some fat cat telling us they've already maxed out.

C'mon, Zell, the water's fine on this side of the aisle...

13 posted on 09/25/2002 2:05:19 PM PDT by mhking
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
My God, what a floor speech. This needs to be e-mailed to every talk show host in the nation. FReepers should be able to accomplish that task. Especially targeted should be the talk show hosts in all the states where close Senate races are going on.

Both sitting Senators and would-be Senators should be challenged to agree or disagree on this speech by a fine, DEMOCRAT Senator.

Congressman Billybob

Click for "Til Death Do Us Part."

Click for "to Restore Trust in America"

Click for "I am almost out of ideas"

14 posted on 09/25/2002 2:05:20 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Daschle live on FOX!!!!!!
15 posted on 09/25/2002 2:05:20 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: mhking
Daschle speaking live!!!!
16 posted on 09/25/2002 2:05:50 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Dog
Daschle speaking live!!!!

Help us poor, cubicle-bound folk...what's Shorty the Barber saying?

17 posted on 09/25/2002 2:06:50 PM PDT by mhking
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: YaYa123; Mo1; Wphile
ping!
18 posted on 09/25/2002 2:07:06 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
One Word..... "WOW"
19 posted on 09/25/2002 2:07:23 PM PDT by Winston Smith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mhking
He is digging his hole deeper!
20 posted on 09/25/2002 2:07:25 PM PDT by MamaLucci
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: mhking
Continuing the attack on the President!~!!!!!
21 posted on 09/25/2002 2:07:39 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Zen Miller is the only Democrat with backbone and clarity.
22 posted on 09/25/2002 2:08:25 PM PDT by CheezyD
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MamaLucci
This speech is designed to get on the network news!
23 posted on 09/25/2002 2:08:28 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
HOLY CRAP!!

Zell did not hold back. This speach is incredible and, if there is justice in the world, will go down in the history books.

Zell rocked the house!

24 posted on 09/25/2002 2:08:38 PM PDT by Damocles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MamaLucci
Daschle is lying again! Pres Bush did not mention Senate DemocRATS -- daschle must have a guilty conscience and want on the prime time news.

I hope my Senate Nickles gives the response this time!
25 posted on 09/25/2002 2:09:15 PM PDT by PhiKapMom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Dog
This speech is designed to get on the network news!

PJ, Dan & Tom's deadlines are at the bottom of the hour...

26 posted on 09/25/2002 2:09:17 PM PDT by mhking
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: MamaLucci
I don't know who gave him that shovel but he just keeps on digging, doesn't he?
27 posted on 09/25/2002 2:09:17 PM PDT by SwatTeam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Congressman Billybob
Did you see it? It was one of the best speeches I have EVER seen from the floor.
28 posted on 09/25/2002 2:09:37 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
OK, Miller is supporting the President's position. I assume all Pubbies are also supporting Dubya. So with Miller's support, that should mean there is a majority of votes to pass the Homeland Security bill. So why hasn't it been passed?

Answer: Daschle.

So why hasn't Zell bailed on the Dems and voted for a Pubbie for Majority Leader? That I don't have an answer for.

29 posted on 09/25/2002 2:10:34 PM PDT by Tribune7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog
Got it ... he's cooled his jets. Funny, but he looked all of 4' 6" this morning. The incredible shrinking Senator.
30 posted on 09/25/2002 2:10:59 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: SwatTeam
Daschle is doing some serious back peddling!

He must have taken to the woodshed in the past few hours!

31 posted on 09/25/2002 2:11:22 PM PDT by Damocles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: mhking
He repeated what he said this morning. Amazing!
32 posted on 09/25/2002 2:11:34 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Winston Smith
Try to catch it on CSPAN; it's even more "WOW" if you hear it!
33 posted on 09/25/2002 2:12:05 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Zell is an evil Democrat. All evil Democrats need to be voted out of office.
34 posted on 09/25/2002 2:12:34 PM PDT by Sir Gawain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oldeconomybuyer
Why does he pose with Dash-hole and Geppie here in that photo?!?!?!? haaaaaa!
35 posted on 09/25/2002 2:12:36 PM PDT by RetiredArmy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
This is a helluva speech, I wish Zell would not be in favor of Max Cleland's re-election to Senate next month.
36 posted on 09/25/2002 2:12:58 PM PDT by RobFromGa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: RobFromGa
Sorry. Should have pinged you.
37 posted on 09/25/2002 2:14:23 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
He just told the President of the United States ...UP YOURS!

I hate that little SOB!!!!!!!

38 posted on 09/25/2002 2:14:38 PM PDT by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Oh Boy, is Zell going get it from Tommy Daschle!

What a speech! Zell hit it right on the head. Yes Zell, demonRats are willing to sell out the security of this country. Be it nuclear secrets to China or tying the hands of the president in the matter of Homeland Security. That's who they are.

Zell, you need to leave that scum-ridden party. Don't walk, run to the other side.

39 posted on 09/25/2002 2:15:31 PM PDT by unbiasedtruth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mhking
You know Zell's going to zig left in a matter of days, even minutes....he's just zagging right today.
40 posted on 09/25/2002 2:16:39 PM PDT by Catspaw
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Damocles
It sounded to me like he just reiterated what he said this morning but he found his soft voice and it didn't sound as strident. He's an evil little creep.
41 posted on 09/25/2002 2:17:17 PM PDT by SwatTeam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: NittanyLion
He's evil. All Democrats are evil.

Possibly. Though there surely must remain a handful that are still simply misguided. Be that as it may, one should never be seduced by evil speaking truth on occasion. Such an event simply makes the evil all the more dangerous, deceptive, and destructive. There is always hope of redemption for the merely misguided. But, in the end, evil must ultimately be crushed, not reasoned with. Any delay is simply time to allow the misguided to remove themselves from evil.

42 posted on 09/25/2002 2:19:04 PM PDT by Prince Caspian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SwatTeam
Well, he did add one thing: the president of the United States is a liar.
43 posted on 09/25/2002 2:19:28 PM PDT by Howlin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Hey Zell! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!
44 posted on 09/25/2002 2:21:17 PM PDT by shadowman99
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Has scoring points with some labor boss become more important than the safety of our citizens?

Zell is going to get kicked out of the Democratic Party if he keeps asking questions like this!

45 posted on 09/25/2002 2:21:23 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: unbiasedtruth
MAYBE, Ziggy Zell is fed up this time with the AXIS OF EVIL RATS! Prehaps he'll cross over to the LIGHT this time around. KEEPING ALL TEN FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED!!!
46 posted on 09/25/2002 2:21:23 PM PDT by RoseofTexas
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: AppyPappy
BINGO!!!
47 posted on 09/25/2002 2:21:29 PM PDT by A. Morgan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
Holy moly, I got chills reading that speech!!! It is the "iron curtain" speech for our age! God help us if it is ignored.
48 posted on 09/25/2002 2:22:16 PM PDT by Dems_R_Losers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
I missed Daschle's second speech. Did he backpeddle or did he confirm his asinine statements from earlier today? Getting two different impressions reading this thread. Need info.
49 posted on 09/25/2002 2:23:20 PM PDT by Peach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
He said at the end of his little add on that he hoped this would be the end of it. Figure the odds! This little uproar may even carry on over the weekend into the Sunday Morning shows. I just hope we have some of the more outspoken people on to shoot down everything he spouted. Can't stand the sawed-off little twerp.
50 posted on 09/25/2002 2:23:42 PM PDT by SwatTeam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-185 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson