Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Don't let preachers tell you how to vote

To certain Christian friends on the right: I beg to differ. God is not a Republican any more than he's a Democrat. That's my opinion, which appears to differ from the opinion of some in the clergy who believe God has anointed Bush.

Please don't believe it. Don't vote one way or the other because of “voter's guidelines” handed down at church or on the Internet from “on high.”

More than one friend or relation has told me their pastor has used the pulpit to direct voters to base their decision on issues of gay marriage and abortion. In recent emails I've received two different “voter's guides” that all but name Bush as the candidate God favors.

Before falling for such “guidance,” consider this:

Thou shalt not kill. Or this. Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Who is your neighbor? I humbly submit that it's all of humankind. Those I admire most, including Jesus, suggest that's who your neighbor is. In the scriptures, Jesus mingles with people from all walks of life and various nationalities. The early Christians ministered to the known world. Consider that when mulling Bush's record as president. People are dying for his misguided and mean-spirited policies.

Mean-spirited? Conservative broadcaster Tucker Carlson reveals how Bush mocked Karla Faye Tucker, a born again Christian he'd recently signed off on executing in Texas. Bush pursed his lips and mocked the killer so, in Carlson's presence. “`Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, `don't kill me,'” wrote Carlson in the September 1999 issue of Talk magazine. Carlson, a conservative Republican, expressed shocked, and for his pains became persona non grata.

More to the point, Bush has shown a willingness to send thousands to their graves on the flimsiest of pretexts. He invaded a country that never did us harm, and as a direct result, 22,000 people--mostly civilians--have died awful bloody deaths, including bombings from the sky, beheadings, suicide bombings and worse, according to statistics broadcast on Sunday Oct. 17 on TV's “Washington Week In Review.” More than 28,000 Americans have been injured or so emotionally scarred they had to be airlifted from Iraq. The administration lies about the casualty numbers. It counts only those Americans who are killed or injured by enemy fire--8,000-plus as this is written. Don't be fooled by false numbers, false prophets.

In 2000, Bush failed to win the popular vote, yet he's ruled as if God gave him a mandate to run the world. Either way, he's been a poor steward of our Earth, putting the whole world at risk, in my opinion, with his horrible conservation record. The polar ice caps are melting, the rain forests are disappearing, and coral reefs are dying in our seas. Whole species are disappearing from our garden Earth. In short, Bush is presiding over the wounding and maiming of God's creation, even as he denies it's happening.

While no president since Nixon has given the environment the attention it deserves, Bush has been the most disastrous of all. He's rolled back environmental regulations. He's put anti-environmentalists in charge of top offices in nearly every agency that enforces environmental standards, he's pulled out of global discussions on greenhouse emissions and his nuclear policy is a disaster.

Even now he plans new generations of nuclear weapons for battlefield use. According to Daniel Ellsburg, interviewed in the current issue of The Sun magazine, Donald Rumsfeld made a list of targets in Iraq for possible nuclear bombardment in case the invasion went sour. Thousands, possibly millions of poor, defenseless people might've died--and could die yet--at the hands of a misguided nuclear weapons policy coupled with lies or “faulty intelligence.”

As for abortion, Republicans have held a majority on the Supreme Court for years. They've occupied the White House for most of the past 35 years, yet Roe vs. Wade is still the law of the land. Ask yourself why? They bring it up at election time and then hastily forget about it.

I submit there are other issues worth considering. What could be more important than the preservation of our garden Earth. Don't be fooled by "guidance" from the pulpit. Rather, vote your intelligence and your independent conscience. You'll sleep easier.


Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, as well as a freelance journalist, short story writer and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. His many writing awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is finishing a novel, ORACLE OF THE ORCHID LOUNGE, set in his native Tennessee. His book of selected journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About People by Don Williams, is now available for ordering. For more information, you may email him at Or visit the NMW website at