Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where I Stand

I am not a liberal or a conservative or independent. I am not a registered anything. I am an American citizen and I, and every other citizen, have the franchise and constitutional right to choose where I stand, whom I support and how I will vote in each election.

In the past I have voted for republican candidates and I have voted for democrat candidates and I could vote for an independent depending on the candidate platform positions. Whether the candidate of any party is male or female is not an issue for me. It is an issue whether the candidate is sufficiently qualified for the office.

I am tired of my media pontificators and alleged journalists telling me that the detriment of Obama is that he’s black and a socialist and race is an issue and the extreme of McCain is that he’s ultra conservative and right wing and age is an issue. I am tired of distant and obscure connection extrapolations that suggest Obama is a terrorist or a Muslim and even putting those two words together in the same sentence, as some commentators do, is a disservice to the inherent and original grace of Islam and to my intelligence. I am tired of inferences and suggestions and innuendo that McCain will carry on “W’s” failed policies. I am tired of the un-truths and distortions of each campaign and the constant reiteration of false facts.

Each one of our current presidential candidates is qualified to be president. Race is not an issue unless you are personally prejudice, neither is age. Each one is an honest and good man and plans to be of service to America. Each one will be presented, if elected, with daily choices that require intellect, knowledgeable advisor input, innovation, compromise, compassion, and an understanding, if not implementation, of what is “the greater good”, not the partisan good.

Patriotism is the process of supporting the positive ideals of our government, not necessarily its policies. Policies can be wrong and often are. Ideals are the shared noble values by which one chooses to be governed and hopes to live by for the good of the whole. To equate patriotism as loyalty to a party or person or position is misinterpreting the word for the aggrandizement of partisan positions.

“My country right or wrong” is a prejudicial, ignorant and irresponsible belief. It undermines our past greatness and our future potential as a beacon for the oppressed of the world. It should be, “my country, let us have the will to do right and the grace to admit wrong”.

Our system of government is a good one. It has its flaws and as a participatory democracy it is our individual responsibility to find the flaws and root them out; if need be vote them out, and replace them with ideals and people who transcend politics and transform our republic into a beacon of light for all who seek to be heard and ask that the rule of law be fair and that opportunity be equal.

It has been a personal sadness of mine for many years as a broadcast journalist to report each Election Day that only a small percentage of eligible voters took the time to vote. We are in this life together, only a few can get by without the help of others, so the rest of us must work to encourage, support and honor the diversity within our oneness. We will not always agree, but in courteous disagreement comes a self-righting process.

You may believe that war is right and just and that is your right. You may believe that war is wrong and unjust and that is your right, but unless you participate in the election process you relinquish your right to critique and you mitigate the new and old warrior deaths that fought to sustain our system. Support for our troops is not the issue here, only the policies that sends them ill-equipped into harms way.

Do not let the few who have the public pulpit usurp your liberty of thought or your rights of reason. The politically glib may beguile and persuade, but private discernment and choice have always belonged to each of us.


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