The 2006 election will determine much about our future as a nation.

It is vital for Minnesotans to take a hard look at how both major parties -- Republican and Democrats -- will handle the most important issues facing our country. I strongly believe those two issues are national security and national defense.

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Which party is likely to be the strongest and most effective on these issues?

It is my opinion, based on several months of reading and doing research, that it is the Republicans who will be strongest. Consider the following information gleaned from my research.

In the weeks following 9-11-2001, our nation was unified and determined to fight an enemy unlike any we had ever encountered.

Sadly, that unity has dissolved into partisan posturing as the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has sought to undermine almost every effort by the Bush Administration to put in place national security measures.

Many liberals want to close Guantanamo Bay and return to the "legal matter" posture of the former administration in regard to terrorism.

Many liberals oppose taping conversations of international terrorists in the name of "civil rights." Many liberals oppose using data mining technology to track known terrorists and too many favor a "cut and run" policy from the battle for Iraq, which is a part of the much larger War On Terror which began after 9-11-01.

Perhaps that "war" should have begun after the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombings of 2 embassies in Africa, the attack upon the USN ship Cole, or the bombing of American barracks in Saudi Arabia...all of which were traced to Al Qaida terrorists.

I cannot vote to turn over our national security to the liberal wing of the Democratic party!

What will happen in congressional committees if liberal Democrats win either the House or Senate in 2006?

There will be enormous consequences in these committees.

Sen. Carl Levin will chair the Armed Services Committee. Levin has opposed many military issues and has consistently opposed the "Star Wars" missile defense project.

Both North Korea, which is testing missiles that could reach the shores of the U.S., and Iran, led by unstable radicals, are threats to our nation and even more of a threat in the Middle East as the Iranian president has sworn to "wipe Israel off the face of the Earth."

John Conyers would chair the Judiciary Committee of the House. Conyers already has a plan in place (in writing and on the Internet) for the impeachment of the president for "war crimes."

(Apparently, a desire to defend the United States against terrorism is now a "war crime.")

Consider the implications of such action when we face the foreign relations problems already mentioned.

Bennie Thompson would chair the House Homeland Security Committee. He has voted against the Patriot Act and the tough House Bill for Border Control of illegal aliens who have been pouring into the U.S. for years.

These are just a few of the radical changes that will occur if the liberal Democrats take control of either legislative chamber.

Every Minnesota voter needs to look carefully at the future that could be ours. Minnesotans need to look past the pettiness and the "junk political sensationalism" promoted by national media and the 24-7 television networks. Do not vote by the sensationalism of such outlets. The much larger concerns of national security and national defense should prevail.

Both parties in both houses of Congress need to stop the partisan bickering and offer real solutions to real problems with cooperation between them.

Our votes should be for candidates who are likely to promote such cooperaton and attention to the larger issues. We are not only choosing a senator and national representatives, we are choosing our future.

Our choices in the election of 2006 could not be more clear. -- Kay Syvrud, Hawley