The changes over the past eight years have made me consider for the first time, the meaning of being an American. In the past, whenever I thought in terms of being an American , I thought about being born in the country governed by the Constitution, a document I still find to be awe inspiring. But over the past eight years, being an American has come to mean something else. It means being a part of a nation symbolized by George W. Bush. In a very real way, his decisions have been a reflection of me, as an American, his beliefs have been a reflection of mine, as an American. Because we, as Americans have placed him in the highest office, chosen him to be our face our thoughts, our decisions, and our voice, to ourselves, and to the world. So, being an American over the past eight years has meant being Quick Draw McGraw, with little need or respect for education, history, those considered experts, or being held accountable for the result of my actions.
When we elect a President we are electing the symbol of who we are as a nation and as a people. And even if we are not thinking about it at the time, somehow it just seems to happen that way. Being a citizen of a nation has a different quality based upon that nations leadership at the time. Being a citizen of the United States had a different quality during the time of slavery. Being a citizen of Germany had a different quality during the time of Hitler. Being a citizen of a nation is not about real estate, it is about the beliefs, values, and integrity of the leadership – especially in the case of elected leadership. “You will know him by his works” – well, our works, in this case, are that ballots that we cast. We can try to distance ourselves, we can point the finger, but to paraphrase a statement made by someone in the Bush white house when asked about why they do not consider the overwhelming desire of the people to get out of Iraq, the response was, “The people have one opportunity to make a decision, that is on election day every four years”. That being the case, I think that it is time we seriously change the way that we decide.
Now, when George W was running for President, other than what turned out to be a Washington outbreak of sexual promiscuity, led by President Clinton and followed closely behind by most of the officials seeking his impeachment. Other than that we were not really facing any major crises. The only imagined threat at the time to the stability of our nation as a result of the attention paid to President Clinton’s infidelity, came from the Gay community seeking the same rights as all other human beings. “Morality” being the only major issue facing our candidates – paved the way for the self-named moral majority to take over and elect the one person who was White, Male and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, even though he stumbled on two syllable words, failed in almost every business venture that he was involved in, did cocaine, had a major alcohol problem, fudged his service record and carried a six shooter. In the country’s desperation to find a president as far from Bill Clinton as possible, we went from a Rhodes Scholar to George W.
George W ran a dirty mudslinging campaign; and his right to the office of President will forever be tainted by doubt. There were not enough of us really looking at the man we were electing to symbolize and guide our country.
The President leads the country. We do as he does. During President Reagan’s administration, the country was one big Hollywood movie set, everything including shoulders were big. During President Clinton’s administration there was a great number of people in the government, in the clergy and in the populace who were secretly using their dipsticks indiscriminately. Sex became bigger than the shoulder pads on Dallas. Now, during the Bush administration we took out our six shooters and waged war, greed went over the top, and education was given the same respect as he gave it, which meant that if the country did not have a huge gambling addiction and played lotto, most if not all of the nation’s public schools would be forced to shut down. The war that we want out of, was supported by the majority of the people in the country – and we cared as little about getting more information before jumping in as the President did. President Bush has charged up a national debt of $9,571,086,623,544.22 – and he is looking to increase the nation’s credit limit by 3.1 trillion dollars. So, since the country seems to follow its leader, and its leader spends, spends, spends and tells the people to spend, spend, and spend some more in order to boost the economy, we did, to the tune of approximately 2.5 trillion dollars in household debt.
Here we are again, approaching that one day every four years when we have the opportunity to participate in the future direction of our country and our lives. We are faced with a war that Senator McCain said could last 100 years; a war, by the way, that we can’t afford to pay for. So now we must choose the candidate who has the integrity, beliefs, values and concerns that we want to represent us for the next four to eight years. The first and easiest way to judge a candidate is how he runs his race. Remember the saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game.” Is the campaign honest and above board, or does it throw honesty and integrity to the wind? Does the candidate play fair or hit below the belt? Will he win because he is the best man for the job, or because he used performance enhancing tactics instead of his own fitness to come in first?
When a candidate spends all of his time talking about what the other candidate did or didn’t do, will or will not do, that candidate is clearly not very strong on what he himself has done or will do. We need to vote for the candidate with the best agenda and the realistic means of fulfilling it. We need to choose a candidate because we are intelligently informed as to what the candidate plans to do about the many crises facing our nation and the world. Our candidates need to convince us, not why we should not elect his opponent, but why we should elect him. They need to convince us that they have a well thought out plan, that their plan will work, and most importantly HOW their plan will work.
We need economic plans from the candidates that can be critiqued by experts as to their viability, and the cost to us in programs, or taxes, because we will pay somewhere. I believe that we should know in advance before we vote, where the bill will have to be paid.
For our healthcare crisis, what are their plans and how will they work? And for Iraq, if one candidate has a plan to pull out, how and what will we leave behind? If the other candidate plans to stay until we win, what does winning the war in Iraq look like? And how does winning the war in Iraq influence Islamic Jihad throughout the entire region? How does an increase in troops create a meaningful lasting peace between warring religious factions? And what about eliminating our dependency on oil, foreign or otherwise and replacing it with more eco friendly fuel sources? What about the issue of global warming and the effect it is having on our economy and our food supplies. We need the plan, we need the timetable, and we need to know that we have the time left to implement whatever it is.
Anyone old enough to vote, is old enough to understand the answers to these questions. We need the answers to these questions. We need to choose – not based upon who can sling the most mud the fastest – we need to vote for the candidate who, in our minds best represents us, and has the best agenda for the well being of the people of this country. It is not an issue of experience, because – no one in history has faced so much before. No one has the experience to handle all of the crises on our plate, but someone must have the wisdom and foresightedness to do so.
We don’t need one candidate to tell on the other like little children, he did this no he did that – we need men, who don’t need to point fingers to win, who can stand on their own two feet, with confidence in their own agenda’s and their own records and with these things, along with honor and integrity – face the nation as candidates worthy of being President of The United States. And we, need to vote with our brains, for the man who best represents our needs – because we only get one chance to do the most important thing in our lives and the lives of our children once every four years. This time, knowing how much can change in the blink of an eye, we need to demand to be informed. We need to demand an honest election. We need candidates who trust that we will make the right choice given the right information, just as they expect us to trust them with our nation and our lives.