Thoughts on the Election

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. So the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.” – 1 Samuel 8:10-22

Here we go. I’m violating my own rule. I’m about to delve into politics. Forgive me!

Yes, I’m going to talk politics; no, I’m not going to say who I voted for or why. What I want to talk about is the way politics are conducted in the United States. I’m relieved that the presidential campaigns are done and over with. It didn’t talk me long to get tired of the mudslinging, the rumors, and the slander. Unfortunately, much of that continues and probably will continue for a very long time. An example is the recent suits that have been filed challenging President-elect Obama’s American citizenship. This is pathetic, really!

Did you know that . . .

· Barack Obama is close, personal friends with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers?

· Senator John McCain is a traitor who gave up secrets and issued anti-American statements while a prisoner of war in Vietnam?

· Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim plotting to implement Islamic law in America?

· Governor Sarah Palin embezzled government funds as governor of Alaska?

· Barack Obama was sworn in using a Koran when he became a Senator?

· John McCain wants to invade Iran, Russia and Syria?

· Michelle Obama is a racist?

· Sen. Joe Biden is a racist who hates immigrants (especially the Spanish-speaking type)?

· Sarah Palin advocates secession of Alaska from the United States?

· McCain has Alzheimer’s disease?

If you are naive enough to buy into the (mostly internet-produced and propagated) rumor mill of American politics, you probably believe at least one of the above, although none of them is true, and there are dozens of other similar rumors bouncing around out there, based on half-truths (Palin’s plans for Alaskan independence) or outright lies (Obama swearing-in on the Koran). Unfortunately, there are very few Americans who seem to have not bought into at least one of them. This is a disturbing trend in a country that prides itself on being the world’s beacon of democracy; in order for a democracy to function, it has to be based on the free flow of reliable information. The key word there is “reliable.” An election based on lies and misrepresentations is not a truly democratic election.

I have been an admirer or Senator McCain since long before this election, and even before he ran for the Presidency in the 2000 election. I think that he is a war hero, an American hero and a man of great principle. I have an endless amount of respect for him. This is why I was so disappointed to see the kind of campaign he ran in this election. I expected much more from him. I think that most Americans thought this was going to be a “different kind of election.” It wasn’t; it was just more of the same, if not worse than before.

Sen. McCain’s television advertisements that implied a close connection between then-Sen. Obama and Bill Ayers, the founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, are example of the very opposite of what I expected from McCain based on his past. Governor Palin’s statement about Obama “palling around with terrorists” was also disturbing in this sense. The only shining moment in the McCain-Palin campaign, the only moment in which he actually practiced what I had earlier expected from him, was when he corrected a woman at a town hall meeting who implied that Obama was a closet Muslim. I was also very impressed with Sen. McCain’s concession speech after it was officially decided that he had lost his bid for the Presidency. I think that if he would have run his campaign with the same principles in mind, the results may have been different.

I think that, overall, President-elect Obama ran a very clean campaign. This is not to say that they were not guilty of starting a little gossip, like the reports that McCain is so “old” and “out of touch” that he can’t check his own e-mail; I’m only saying that, overall, Obama’s was pretty tidy when compared to McCain’s campaign. Most importantly, Obama himself seems to have gone out of his way not to endorse any of the rumors. McCain and his supporters seemed to find and dwell in any evidence they could, even making it up at times, that Obama, or someone somewhere in his family tree, was a terrorist, a racist, a Communist or any other “ist” that Americans are afraid of. Obama and his supporters, on the other hand, in large part avoided this mudslinging, even given the overwhelming amount of ammunition they possessed.

McCain’s decision against commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Arizona is an example. At no point in the campaign did President-elect Obama use this against McCain, although it would have been very easy to point the finger and scream “racism!”. The only mention I heard of it came from McCain, when he apologized in his speech last MLK Day and admitted his mistake.

In the end, I have to say that I was very disappointed with the campaigns leading up to this election. I was hoping for much more, especially from President-elect Obama and Sen. McCain. Both of them appear to be intelligent, honest men with positive values and a real love for our country. I only wish that they would have acknowledged those attributes in each other more often. I’m not saying that I expect politics to be a love-fest by any means! I’m saying that I look for the day in American politics when two (or more) candidates, and their respective followers, can campaign against each other for office without questioning the patriotism or morality of the other. I look forward to a political debate based on the issues at hand with a common love and hope for our nation and for the world at large, and not on a dirty rumor from a mass e-mail forwarded to you by your Uncle Bob.

You want to talk issues, I’m more than happy. I enjoy talking politics. I’ve got my opinions and I’m pretty passionate about them, but I’m willing to listen to and consider yours. As soon as you mention that McCain is rich old man who can’t use e-mail and might have Alzheimer’s or that Obama is secretly a Muslim terrorist who takes his orders from his Black Nationalist [Christian] pastor, I’m done with the discussion.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Election”

  1. David,Thank you for your blog and (more importantly) your military service. Both are valuable to be sure, but the second reflects well on you and your comrades (and yes, I read your post on your bad habits).Your comments about the election are spot on. The whole 2 year campaign cycle was a disappointment to me–few candidates covered themselves with glory this last time out.In Christ,+Fr Gregory

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