ANATOMY OF A VOTER
I’ve made up my mind. I’ve decided who will receive my vote in the 2008 presidential election. Senator John McCain has been my candidate since 2000, but a lot has happened since he lost to President George W. Bush and so I’ve watched the current campaigns unfold looking for reasons to uphold my faith in Sen. McCain or to change allegiance to Sen. Obama, depending on who I think can steer America back to a place of respect and prominence in the world.
I think it’s as important to relay how I came to that decision as it is to merely state it. I’ve given over some part of everyday, to thinking about this decision, some days more time than others.
In 1945 I was born to parents who were life long staunch FDR democrats. My father was a life long member of the Teamsters Union. I came of age in the 1960’s. I was a child of the universe, born in the Age of Aquarius. “Twas a time of change sang Bob Dylan. And so it was; it was a time for peace, and love, for drugs and music and rebellion and war. Times were good. I was ten feet tall and bullet proof, JFK was president of Camelot and MLK had a dream. What could be better? There was one slight problem for me: In school I’d majored in sports, music and girls in that order. We did have a stringent atheletic code that required passing your core academic courses to be eligible to play sports every week. So I did enough to get by and not much more. The cost of that decision for me was that I couldn’t get accepted into college. Even if my parents could have afforded it my grades weren’t good enough. There wasn’t much welfare in those days, at least to my recollection. If you wanted something it was expected that you’d work for it. I’d earned my own money since the age of twelve, starting with a paper route and then at 14 hiring out to do farm labor during the summer months. I did earn a tuppence by singing mass every morning at 6 o’clock mass in my catholic church, and occasionally singing for weddings. During my junior year of high school I joined the local naval reserve unit as a way to earn some additional income.
My parents didn’t overtly prevent me from getting my drivers license but they also didn’t give me any encouragement to do so. The reason for their reluctance was that my father didn’t want me to be a truck driver like him. He encouraged me to get a job where I could use my brain rather than my back. The up shot of all this was that I never got a drivers license ‘til I was 21 and married.
Now I’m a high school graduate, without a drivers license who doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life doing minimum wage jobs, who can’t live at home (nor does he want to), And can’t get into college. What to do? Enter the priesthood! I went to the local seminary, picked up an application and took it home. My mother was ecstatic; her French/Irish/ American son was going to be a priest. Two weeks before I was to enter Seminary I’m having a conversation with my local parish priest: (Think George Carlin here) “Father if I become a priest will I have to give up women?”
Two weeks later my best friend and I joined the regular, active duty U.S. Navy.
This is where Camelot, free love, peace, hope and every thing good began to unravel;
You were right Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'
1. Medgar Evers was assassinated.
2. JFK was assassinated
3. This 10 foot tall bullet proof hospital corpsman volunteered (no, begged) to go to Viet Nam.
4. MLK was assassinated
5. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated
6. Kent State.
Well you get the idea; there was plenty of hate coming to the surface in America and all around the world.
Coming home from Viet Nam with my medals, commendations and purple hearts, like a whipped dog, we, Vietnam Vets all, were not welcomed home with open arms. We were spit on, shunned, called baby killers and were forced to hide our service and try to assimilate back in to an America that didn’t want to acknowledge us in any favorable way. I went to nursing school on the G.I. Bill, got married and had a daughter. A year after my graduation I rejoined the military and they sent me to school to become a nurse anesthetist.
I’ve worked hard to establish the life I have. I didn’t ask for handouts or welfare. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay is my guiding principal. I respected credit and refused to over extend myself and paid my debts on time and in full. I tried to be a good father and a good husband and my wife and I raised three children who are respected successful adult members of society and they live in a manner that shows me they ascribe to the same principles that have guided me. For all intents and purposes we would be called a middle class family. Early on we struggled and as time passed life became more comfortable, but I’ve always thought that gov’t stole too much from its citizens. That is to say; we (collectively) pay too much in taxes.
In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever hated another living soul. I came close once, but I’ve worked hard to overcome that most destructive of emotions, and can say that I no longer hold any enmity for that man only sympathy.
Now there are people I dislike for one reason or another; I don’t like rapists or child molesters. Loud and ornery people are vexations to my soul. And rudeness is a quality that I distain. Although I’ve told a lie or two or three in my time, lying is not a quality that I revere. Mean spiritedness and hatred for any reason I find distasteful at the least and destructive in any event at best.
As with most of the voters in the upcoming election I have never met any of the candidates running for president and vice president of the USA. My total knowledge about them has come from the varied media sources. I like all four of these people and I like their families. I think they are, each and everyone, solid, hard working Americans, with good family values and imbued with integrity. I think I would feel comfortable sitting around the kitchen table with any or all of these candidates having coffee and having meaningful conversation and being silly on occasion. The choice for me is difficult, but not impossible. One of the things that have bothered me about this campaign is that both sides have equally stilted the truth and or facts from time to time. The fact that I’ve had to go to SNOPES and FactCheck.org to find the truth has been disconcerting for me.
The two things that were incremental in my decision to support the McCain/Palin ticket were the recent article in the most recent Reader Digest Magazine, and the overt behavior of many Obama supporters.
The article was an interview with Michelle Obama. I was enamored of this woman. I respect her for so many things; her family values, her intelligence, her common sense, her genuine care and concern for her fellow Americans. I would take advice from this woman, I like her that much. I imagine sitting at her kitchen table and sharing with her my dilemma in choosing a candidate to vote for. She would listen attentively, giving me her complete attention, interjecting from time to time to clarify a point or to ask a question. At the conclusion of our discussion she said to me: “rel I respect you feelings and your concerns and I want you to follow your convictions, I want you to vote for John McCain.
Secondly, the vitriolic hatred spewed forth on Gov. Sarah Palin, since her selection as Sen. McCain’s running mate by some Obama supporters tells me I cannot support a candidate who attracts people of that mind set. There is no place for that level of hatred in this country.
Some folks have mistaken my distain for the Bush Administration’s debacle of the last 8 years as indication of my liberal leanings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Why that’s like saying John McCain is like George Bush. George Bush is no John McCain, by a long shot.
America talks the talk about wanting change in Washington. Well as I see it, the only person on either ticket who isn’t a part of the established system is Gov. Sarah Palin.
I support the McCain Palin ticket because:
His strong support of our military and his desire to bring them home with their heads held high.
His less gov’t, less stealing (taxes) from citizens.
His expectation that people take responsibility for their own actions matches mine
His ability to stand up to the members of his own party and demand integrity and fairness in gov’t gives me hope
I don’t believe in abortion. I do believe in limited choice.
I don’t like guns. I do believe in choice.
I think illegal aliens are a problem in this country. What is it about the word illegal that you don’t understand?
I think giving rogue regimes credence shows weakness and invites attack.
I applaud Sen. Obama’s compassion, warmth and intelligence.
I think his desire to be Santa Claus to everyone in America is too expensive.
His lack of personal experience with the military will hamstring his ability to make cogent decisions.
His promises of everything to everybody have spawned a cadre of zealots who will at the least be destructive to building a stronger America.
Lastly I believe in the old system where the majority vote getter becomes president and the second highest vote getter becomes vice president.
This missive is excessively verbose and if you’ve read ‘til the end God bless you!