Monday, March 24, 2003

Don't know if you are familiar with Zell Miller, the past governor of
Georgia, and who is now Georgia's junior senator in Washington, but this
article that appeared in the newspaper is very appropriate. (And believe
it or not, he's a Democrat!)

Zell Miller knows how to boil things down to the basics. That's what
Georgia's junior senator did Thursday when he explained why it's
important that Saddam Hussein be defanged.

But he's also a good storyteller. Here's the text of Mr. Miller's
remarks, made on the Senate floor about the need to help President
Bush deal with Iraq.

"Mr. President, I have signed on as an original co-sponsor of the
Iraq resolution, and I'd like to tell you a story about why I think
it is the right path to take:

A few weeks ago, we were doing some work on my back porch back home,
tearing out a section of old stacked rocks, when all of a sudden I
uncovered a nest of copperhead snakes.

Now, I'm not one to get alarmed at snakes. I know they perform some
useful functions, like eating rats. And when I was a young lad, I
kept snakes as pets. I had an indigo snake, a bull snake, a corn
snake and many others. I must have had a dozen king snakes at one
time or another.

They make great pets and you only had to feed them a mouse every 30
days.

I read all the books by Raymond C. Ditmars, who was the foremost
herpetologist of his day. That's an expert on snakes.

For a while, I wanted to be a herpetologist, but the pull of being a
big-league shortstop outran that childhood dream.

I reminisce this way to explain that snakes don't scare me like they
do some people. And I guess the reason is that I know the difference
between those that are harmless and those that will kill you.

In fact, I bet I may be the only senator in this body who can look
at the last three inches of a snake's tail and tell you whether it's
poisonous or not. I can also tell the sex of a snake, but that's
another story.

A copperhead will kill you. It could kill one of my dogs. It could
kill one of my grandchildren. It could kill any of my four great
grandchildren. They play all the time where I found these killers.

And you know, when I discovered these copperheads, I didn't call my
wife Shirley and ask her advice, like I do on most things. I didn't
yell for help from my neighbors or take it to the city council. I
just took a hoe and knocked them in the head and killed them. Dead
as a doorknob.

I guess you could call it a unilateral action. Or pre-emptive or
even bellicose and reactive.

I took their poisonous heads off because they were a threat to me.
And they were a threat to my home and my family. They were a threat
to all I hold dear.

And isn't that what this is all about?"

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