In these waning days of this election cycle, my colleagues and I tried to focus in on what affected us most as we went to the polling booths (we all voted early). Pundits and commentators have all covered the usual - - - like race, age, use of deceit and deception, half-truths, misstatements and, well, lies. We saw more of this on the McCain side than we did with the Obama campaign. We all saw the McCain ticket meander like a wandering river; Obama and his crew remained straight and narrow, never deviating from his message and purpose.
We believed that most of the campaigning was meaningless. Why? Because when voters go into a polling booth, they remember only "tag lines" from the many months of the campaign. For example, Obama promises that he will reduce taxes for those earning under $250,000 annually; this includes 95% of the population. Or that, health care should be a right for all Americans as he stated in the townhall meeting with McCain in Nashville. McCain says he will tax the value of a health care policy though providing a $5,000 credit to purchase health care coverage. What confuses the comprehension of such simplistic notions, more so with McCain than with Obama, is the flip-flopping nature of what McCain has said throughout the campaign. Again, by way of example, he states in a published piece that health care can be fixed like the banking industry has done with the financial markets over the last decade, yet we all know what trouble the economy has been in over the last several weeks due to bank failures. Then we all heard about socialism, relationships to terrorism, who the candidates' spiritual leaders have been, and on and on. We even smiled and perhaps laughed at the skits on SNL, and what we viewed on the John Stewart, Leno and Letterman shows. And, of course, there has been the selection of Gov. Palin as a running mate, which need not be a basis for further commentary in this post. This is all part of the cauldron called the game of American politics - - - and, unfortunately it is a game with no real rules. But, most voters have already made up their mind who they want for the next president; we have reached a point of diminishing returns in what we are now seeing on TV or listening to on radio or over the internet.
One item that we all observed that has not received any real treatment in the mainstream media is the behind-the-scenes role of Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama - - - besides, that is, being the candidates' respective spouses. Of course, Michelle is articulate, bright and quite presentable in her views and presentations at a podium. Mrs. McCain, though less seen at a speaker's platform, has undertaken considerable charitable work which is quite admirable. Nonetheless, we all noted that in an overwhelming majority of public appearances by Senator McCain filmed by the media, she is but a few paces away but in the same picture as he is. Being present with your spouse certainly has its place on the campaign trail (even speaking at rallies apart from him), but is the reason she is in ear shot of her husband a sign she does not trust him to be alone without her, that she wants to be in the limelight all the time, or what? This all is a quirk on which no commentator has offered an opinion or observation.
Our final point is a lesson for every American: to thine own self be true. While McCain may bill himself as a maverick, he allowed himself to be molded, and then morphed into, a follower of what main stream Republicans in his campaign wanted him to become for this general election. That was his downfall. What he truly is was revealed briefly when he swiftly took the mircrophone from a woman who thought Obama was an Arab because of his (Obama's) middle name; without hesitating, McCain said Obama was, in our words, a fine and upstanding American. If we saw more of that McCain, his poll numbers would have been higher going into the final days of this election.
If Obama wins, and he does so mightily, then his victory will be a lesson for McCain . . . and all those who want to succeed in leading our country in the future: in taking the country where it desperately needs to go now, just be yourself.
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