As have many of you, I have been watching the progression of the upcoming Presidential election with stomach-churning, lip-biting, hand-wringing anticipation. After the 2004 election, when all sorts of election-day shenanigans led to George Bush’s winning his second term, I became much more interested and really conscious of the political going-ons. I have since realized that it is important to pay attention to the fine print of things, otherwise we will get duped. That includes keeping a close watch on these “undecided” and “swing” voters.
With Senator Barack Obama–the first ever African American Presidential nominee– at the forefront of the race, this is the most important election in my (and possibly every) generation’s lifetime to date. The outcome of this event is critical and will directly impact our individual lives, our society, our nation and ultimately the world.
There is a lot at stake, and with so much mud-slinging less than twenty days until the November 4th election, there is still room for the pendulum to swing right, or in other words– wrong. Each passing day is more critical than the one before it. Senator Obama’s opponent, Republican nominee Senator John McCain, according to the latest polls, is losing the race. With his numbers down, the media scrutiny (for reasons such as: his choice of his –putting it nicely– controversial running mate Governor Sarah Palin and his old age–he’s 72 years old and has had several bouts with melanoma: a deadly form of skin cancer) his campaign’s confidence is dwindling and things are getting ugly.
There are many dynamics at play as to why Senator Obama is ahead in the polls and this fact says so many good things about how much we have grown and who we are today as a country. But no matter, the current state of the Presidential race has caused the McCain-Palin campaign to take a sudden turn (or return) to spewing and inciting venomous negativity.
Within the past week, they have abandoned the issues (mind boggling with the crumbling economy at the forefront of the people’s minds) and are aiming straight at the Obama campaign’s jugular with personal character attacks, commercials which spew lies about his political intentions, and far-fetching accusations questioning his loyalties to America: “He pals around with domestic terrorists” and “His interests in America aren’t the same as yours and mine”. To this there were boo’s from the crowd (sounding more like a lynch-mob) followed by screams of “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” to which Palin only smiled and nodded her head as if in agreement.
These are just some examples of the hatred being incited by Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin (herself, a whole other story). It is clear that there are racially discriminating undertones to her remarks. And, unfortunately, there are people out there listening; people whose decisions are driven more by fear than by critical thinking; people who are blindly loyal to the GOP/Republican party; people who may feel they are not ready for a Black president; people who are simply undecided. Who are you Undecided’s? To me, you are nameless, you are faceless but nonetheless very powerful– even menacing– because you can tilt the boat and toss us all into the ocean or –and hopefully– help steer us into safe waters.
Life was good for the lot of us during President Clinton’s reign. But things changed in 2000 when a young, ill-fitted Republican Governor George Bush was elected to office– twice (!): We were attacked by terrorists, which led to us to a still active war in Iraq, lending reason (or excuse?) for constitutional amendments which now limit certain individual freedoms and rights to privacy; the mortgage industry went bankrupt and lead to an economic recession; and most recently Wall Street and the banking industry have plummeted causing an impending depression. As a result of these events there was government infighting about whether or not to rescue these corporate failures with a $700 billion dollar “bailout” Bill, which has since passed. And, let’s not forget that upward of 750,000 jobs have been lost since January of this year. Things are bad in epic proportion and something has got to change. With John McCain’s past of co-signing ninety five percent of Bush’s policies, electing him would be equal to electing Bush for a third term.
I applaud Senator Obama’s efforts during his long and drawn out campaign. He and his team have grown a grass-roots campaign to that of a global phenomenon– and this feat speaks volumes about his leadership abilities. Again, he is ahead in the media polls and with many months of heavy-campaigning all over the nation; commercial ads, press interviews, town-hall speeches and large stadium-sized rallies, three- formal hour and a half televised debates– things are still looking good for Senator Obama. But will he hold strong? It is clear that he and running-mate Senator Biden’s supporters are steadfast, as it seems are McCain-Palin’s. I mean, if their supporters are still committed to voting for them after all that has been said and done then they are obviously with them to the end no matter the consequence.
So, just as with the 2000 and 2004 elections, the win will depend on you “Undecideds”. According to media polls there are eight percent of undecided and or swing-voters out there in society scratching your heads, non-committed to which nominee you want as the next Commander in Chief. I find it hard to believe or, better yet, understand how one doesn’t see the facts, the evidence, that the past eight years of government has destroyed our economy; and still threatens our individual and societal livelihood and our nation’s overall economic well-being. For all but one percent of the country, life as we have known it can change for the worse for years to come if the fundamentals of how our government is being run do not change. And, I have a feeling that you eight percenters are not a part of the one percent elite of whom our nation’s economic downfall will not affect one way or another. And, since this is the case, how can you possibly consider voting for a nominee who will no doubt continue the trend of dis-acknowledging the poor, while attempting to eradicate the middle class, to keep the rich– well, rich?
I am confused by the existence of undecided voters at this stage of the Presidential race. However, I cannot be so naïve as to believe that much of this indecisiveness is not a race issue. But, what else can it be? This is 2008, a time where racial and cultural lines are meshed more than they ever have been before. I mean, Senator Obama is proof of this with his half Kenyan half Anglo lineage. No doubt he is a Black man, and a great one at that. Well- educated; graduate of Columbia University, top in his Harvard Law class; magna cum laude, and the first Black President of the Harvard Law Review. Admiringly, he chose to work as a Community Organizer out of college instead of going directly into the corporate arena.
For eight years (1996-2004) he taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago where he was a Senior Lecturer and before that a Lecturer (1992-1996). He was elected to the Illinois State Senate and served from 1996-2004. Subsequently, in November 2004 he was elected to the U.S. State Senate and still holds his seat as he runs for U.S. President.
His other attributes are that he is socially adept, charismatic, in good physical shape, a skilled writer and speaker, a devoted husband and father, not to mention good looking. And as a matter-of-fact, he remains calm, cool and collected during the most pressured of times. Let’s face it, the man has it all but this wasn’t always so.
He was raised by his grandparents and his single mother who at a time had to rely on food stamps to put food on the table. He has lived the pains of the poor and is well-versed with the struggles and concerns of the working and middle class. He is a wonderful example not only to Black men but to all men . . . men and women, and especially our youth. He is proof that hard-work and dedication will get you far. He is the future of this country and has earned the necessary credentials and qualifications to effectively take on Washington as our next President of the United States.
And, his wife, Michelle, is a female version of him. Biographical reports say that she was born and grew up on the South Side of Chicago and graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. After completing her formal education, she returned to Chicago and went to work for the law firm Sidley Austin, on the staff of the Mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley, and for the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Hospitals. She has since defected from corporate law to work directly with the disenfranchised. And, of course, we all know her now as a devoted wife and mother of their two little girls. Now, how can you doubt their abilities to represent our country with the intelligence, poise, dignity and good judgment with which we and the rest of the world deserve?
In comparison, what are McCain’s credits? He graduated from the United States Naval Academy at the bottom of his class (reportedly, he ranked 894th in his class of 899, mostly due to disciplinary reasons . . . the “maverick” in him, I’m guessing), which is probably why you never hear him championing the importance of education. He later applied to the National War College but was turned down as “under qualified” by military brass. But he went straight to the top with an appeal– to Secretary of the Navy, John Warner; a friend of his father’s who overruled his initial denied entry. Not surprising. Okay– he is a U.S. Navy veteran, a prisoner of war (POW) no-less. But here are some facts: While a navy airman he crashed three separate times, which investigators credit to flying skills and erred judgment-lightly termed mishaps. Regarding the most serious of the three accidents he was reportedly “clowning” around in a Skyraider over southern Spain when he flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout. While a POW it is said he was shot down and captured, again because of his self-proclaimed “maverick” ways. He brags in his autobiography that while captured he was offered an early release but insisted on staying imprisoned. But according to fellow POWs, last names Dramesi and Butler, McCain was no special case as many of them were given the same offer (he was one of 600 captured men). Accepting the release offer would have forced them to speak out against their country and lie about their treatment to the press and to do so would have been an abomination.
McCain’s nickname while in captivity was “the crown prince” because he gave his captors enough information so that they would leave him the hell alone. This information, according to his own autobiography, included things such as him being the son of an admiral, providing the name of his ship, the number of raids he had flown, his squadron number, and the target of his final raid. His “singing” was despite an uber-rigid Code of Conduct that governed POWs: to give only their name, rank, date of birth and service number-and to make no “statements disloyal to my country”. The son and grandson of admirals, he had a privileged status in the Navy and it is obvious that he had no problem using his status to deviate from policy and procedure. Just like George W. Bush III, he is the third generation of a family dynasty but is more mediocre than heir-worthy. Not to take anything away from his service to the country, but war hero? I think his merit may be a bit inflated.
He was a member of the U.S. House Of Representatives from 1983-1987. Interestingly, he got a tip that a Senate Seat was opening in Arizona and the very day the retiree made his announcement his wife Cindy bought him a home in the district so that he could qualify to run in the election. He did run and successfully won the seat to the Arizona State Senate in 1987 and now currently holds a seat as a Senior Senate member. Yes, he has twenty six years of experience as a Washington politician but I will take quality over quantity each and every time when given the choice. How about you?
Whichever way you want to call it, this is not the entire picture of John McCain. While being held captive in North Korea, he had a wife named Carol who waited for him devotedly and with worry while caring for there children back in the States. But after he returned, the war celebrity that he had become, he discovered that she had been disfigured in a car accident three years before. And, how did he show his love, appreciation and concern for his beloved wife? I will tell you how: by cheating on her, then later divorcing her, for his now wife (18 years his junior, former drug abusing, Anheuser- Bush beer heiress) Cindy.
According to biographical reports, “In 1989, Cindy McCain became addicted to Percocet and Vicodin, opioid painkillers, which she initially took to alleviate pain following two spinal surgeries for ruptured discs, and to ease emotional stress during the Keating Five affair. The addiction progressed to where she was taking upwards of twenty pills a day, and she resorted to having an AVMT physician write illegal prescriptions in the names of three AVMT employees without their knowledge.” Bad judgment, anyone?
And, regarding the Keating Five affair, within which McCain was a heavy player-he personally had a hand in holding back federal regulators who were closing in on Charlie Keating, among other dirty dealings– he was never admonished from guilt as the media has reported. Though, shamefully, he did only receive a slap on the wrist by the Senate Ethics Committee (they concluded it was “bad judgment”) despite thousands of investors having lost entire savings. As a result, the Savings and Loan industry collapsed costing us taxpayers $3.4 billion dollars. Hmm, sound familiar?
May I also throw in that he voted against honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a national holiday steadfastly from 1983- 1989? Yes, let us add this alarming piece of information to the list. I can go on and on about McCain’s’ blatant lies, flip flopping on issues, horrible judgment, involvement in corporate corruption and morally and spiritually bankrupt campaign because there is SO much more to say. But do I really need to say more?
We need a diplomatic leader with good judgment, a sound mind, who is physically healthy and who actually has a soul. I always look at situations with three eyes, a critical mind, a keen Spirit, and well-tuned intuition– as should you. Wake up people and make your decision! And, in case you still don’t get it– Obama-Biden ’08!
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