Saturday, August 16, 2008

Did You Watch?

If you're an American and didn't watch Rick Warren's interviews of Barack Obama and John McCain, I would say "Shame on you," but that wouldn't be friendly and would come across in black and white as really judgmental (you wouldn't be able to hear my comic inflection) -- and besides, you may have been addicted to the final event of the Olympics swimmer who is out to beat Mark Spitz's 1972 record. So I forgive you -- as long as you set two hours aside right now (or real soon!) and watch the interview at the following link: (See, now you don't have any excuse. If you plan to vote this year, you need to see this. If you don't plan to vote, you have no right to gripe about who gets in. Simple as that!) So, here's the link:

Warren's questions were terrific, and Obama's and McCain's answers were terrific, showing exactly where they stand on many of the toughest issues of the day. Both are honorable men. You'll probably come down on one side or the other because they are not in alignment regarding the ways in which they'd address some of the issues...

I'm not going to do an "analysis" on either's appearance or responses. I think sometimes other people's analyses are detrimental to, and dismissive of, another person's own sense of "gut feeling" and native instincts... and I think our instincts are often the best way to consider matters, when they are informed by our reasoning, reading and absorption of daily reports.

I "get" both candidates and where they're coming from. I understand each one's rationale and how he came to the conclusions and the stands he has. (That's a civilized step in the right direction -- to read, hear and understand another's viewpoint, even when we don't agree with it.)

I align much more closely with Obama than I do with McCain, which is why I'll be voting for him; you may feel just the opposite. (Everyone I know has a strong opinion -- and it's by no means a unanimous opinion. I don't pick my friends based on their politics, their religion, or their color.) All I hope is that you feel a "peaceful" sense of decision -- and will not be voting from a sense of fear or of a "lesser of two evils" mentality (as I did for years and years leading up to this election).

I think we have a race this year that is vitally important -- perhaps the most important in my lifetime. We have a handful of major problems to tackle and gain victory of, before they get so far out of our control that they become a scourge to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So I'm serious as a heart attack this time around.

These are two honorable men. One's a military man -- a peacekeeper (McCain) -- the other is a more conciliatory man (and, in my opinion, a visionary) -- a peacemaker. The difference between the two, and the choice, seems abundantly clear to me.

I think a sense of foreboding or fear drives many (although certainly not all) to choose the peacekeeper: we feel that if he's President he'll be the best man to respond if there is another attack on our mainland. This theory gives us a sense of protection and security, false though it is. (I know for certain that Obama wouldn't just sit on his hands as President if we were attacked again -- he'd go after the perpetrators, something Bush failed to do except in a cursory way in Afghanistan before diverting to Iraq on bogus grounds, it turns out -- and make no mistake -- he knew they were bogus grounds, it has been shown; he just wasn't honest with Congress or the American people.)

Those who choose the peacemaker have the hope that by doing a lot less saber-rattling -- and by leaving Iraq for Afghanistan -- the American government and people will be viewed by the rest of the world as finally addressing our grievances appropriately against the enemies of freedom who masterminded and carried out the attacks on 9/11 and the attacks before and since then in other parts of the world.

As freedom-loving people, it's time for us to hear -- and to honor -- the Iraqi government's request for us to leave within 20 months and allow them to carry their new republic forward on their own terms. It's time to give our American troops an opportunity to rest up and make themselves ready for any other engagement in which we may find ourselves over the course of the next several years. They've done a marvelous job, and have families waiting at home who have sacrificed greatly for a very long time... They can be proud of what they've accomplished under horrendous circumstances.

McCain seems eager to stay and let Petraeus continue the war in Iraq. With all my heart, I believe that's a wrong-headed decision. For that reason alone, I would vote for Obama.

But I'm voting for Obama for a lot of reasons, not just that one.

Even in the very few areas where I disagree with Obama, his stand is reasonable, ethical, well-considered, and based on intense study and scrutiny. I respect his stand, even where I don't agree with it.

I would feel fantastic having him leading our nation next year...

Have you watched the interviews yet? Please don't leave this blog (or give yourself a reminder and a date to watch it) until you do, if you're planning to vote.

It'll be well worth your time! I can promise you that!

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