Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Couldn't Have Said It Better, Jack

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, it isn't a secret where I stand politically. The earliest election that I cared about was 1984 when I was eight years old and rooting for Walter Mondale. It isn't normal for an eight year old to care about primaries and polls. However, I come from a long line of farmers, blue collar workers, veterans who would spend any family get together discussing past, present, and future political leaders and the issues that mattered to us.

I feel passionately about many issues, yet Jack Cafferty at CNN wrote a commentary that said it best. Because this is my blog and I can share whatever I want to share, I am choosing to share this article. And remember, it is a commentary.

"NEW YORK (CNN) -- Russia invades Georgia and President Bush goes on vacation. Our president has spent one-third of his entire two terms in office either at Camp David, Maryland, or at Crawford, Texas, on vacation.

His time away from the Oval Office included the month leading up to 9/11, when there were signs Osama bin Laden was planning to attack America, and the time Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.

Sen. John McCain takes weekends off and limits his campaign events to one a day. He made an exception for the religious forum on Saturday at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

I think he made a big mistake. When he was invited last spring to attend a discussion of the role of faith in his life with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, McCain didn't bother to show up. Now I know why.

It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current president. When asked what his Christian faith means to him, his answer was a one-liner. "It means I'm saved and forgiven." Great scholars have wrestled with the meaning of faith for centuries. McCain then retold a story we've all heard a hundred times about a guard in Vietnam drawing a cross in the sand.

Asked about his greatest moral failure, he cited his first marriage, which ended in divorce. While saying it was his greatest moral failing, he offered nothing in the way of explanation. Why not?

Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.

He was asked "if evil exists." His response was to repeat for the umpteenth time that Osama bin Laden is a bad man and he will pursue him to "the gates of hell." That was it.

He was asked to define rich. After trying to dodge the question -- his wife is worth a reported $100 million -- he finally said he thought an income of $5 million was rich.

One after another, McCain's answers were shallow, simplistic, and trite. He showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has -- virtually none.

Where are John McCain's writings exploring the vexing moral issues of our time? Where are his position papers setting forth his careful consideration of foreign policy, the welfare state, education, America's moral responsibility in the world, etc., etc., etc.?

John McCain graduated 894th in a class of 899 at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. His father and grandfather were four star admirals in the Navy. Some have suggested that might have played a role in McCain being admitted. His academic record was awful. And it shows over and over again whenever McCain is called upon to think on his feet.

He no longer allows reporters unfettered access to him aboard the "Straight Talk Express" for a reason. He simply makes too many mistakes. Unless he's reciting talking points or reading from notes or a TelePrompTer, John McCain is lost. He can drop bon mots at a bowling alley or diner -- short glib responses that get a chuckle, but beyond that McCain gets in over his head very quickly.

I am sick and tired of the president of the United States embarrassing me. The world we live in is too complex to entrust it to someone else whose idea of intellectual curiosity and grasp of foreign policy issues is to tell us he can look into Vladimir Putin's eyes and see into his soul.

George Bush's record as a student, military man, businessman and leader of the free world is one of constant failure. And the part that troubles me most is he seems content with himself.

He will leave office with the country $10 trillion in debt, fighting two wars, our international reputation in shambles, our government cloaked in secrecy and suspicion that his entire presidency has been a litany of broken laws and promises, our citizens' faith in our own country ripped to shreds. Yet Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been.

I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him."


ellie said...

I consider myself an independent when it comes to politics. I think there is a time & place for both parties and our country is in desperate need of a change.

I'm looking forward to who both candidates choose as a VP & seeing the debates.

Glyphrunner said...

Similar to Ellie, I consider myself an independent when it comes to politics. Unfortunately, I cannot agree with the statement of "a time & place for both parties" as this indicates that there are only two options. In the United States, we do not have a defined political party system established in our Constitution or any other document of organization. Unlike Communist China or the former Soviet Union (or anywhere else that restricts political and social freedoms), this means that you can have multiple parties representing multiple views and diversity of our wide-ranging society.

With that in mind, we need to begin educating the latest generations to alternatives other than the Corporate Candidates; that is, the Democrat and Republican politicians that receive an incredible amount of financial and media support enabling the very opportunity of kickbacks, lobbying, and corruption. The political party system was originally used to provide a means of mass distribution of a message and generalized ideals of the candidates. This, of course, was before instant telecommunications, mass/public education, and the ability to truly dig into the structure, operations, motivations, background, and philosophies of government and the politicians involved with our government.

Unfortunately, the chance of a "3rd party" candidate making any difference in the next three elections (including this one) is next to nothing. If we start educating people to think, look for their answers, and see beyond the corporate sponsored "two party system" currently in place, though, perhaps we'll have politicians that will truly care about their country, their constituents, and their service - rather than their pocketbook and ego.

My vote is unfortunately going to be "wasted" this November when I refuse to vote for either of the Corporate Candidates. While my preferred candidate, Dr. Mary Ruwart, did not receive the nomination for the Libertarian Party, I will still be voting a "3rd party" option because it is my civic duty to participate in the representative government process that is such a privilege, not a right.