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October 31, 2008

Making My Selectionů

Derek Shackelford

There are currently six candidates vying for the President of the United States. Two of the candidates have garnered much of the national media attention and are a part of the two primary political parties.


Although there are six candidates appearing on the November 4th ballot, only one will be selected. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama have been the two who have received much of the national media spotlight. It is safe to assume with confidence that one of these two will raise their right hand in January. One of these two men will receive my vote and for good reason.


Senator McCain has served this country with honor and distinction. Not only has he served this country in the halls of government but he has served in the U.S. Navy. He has faced adversity and faced it with courage. Senator McCain has faced torture and knows what it is like to experience enemy fire and walk into enemy territory.


While serving in the United States Senate for 26 years, he has been considered a maverick of sorts because of some of his votes that differ from the party line. He has sometimes gone against conventional wisdom and been labeled more of a moderate than conservative.


The Republican Party – to some degree – does not label him a true conservative because of his stance on certain issues. A maverick according to Webster’s Dictionary is defined as one who does not go along with a group or party. Yet, Senator McCain is representing the Republican Party on its national ticket. If he were a true maverick, would he not be an independent? This way he would not be dependent upon the Republican Party. But I digress.


As Senator McCain makes his case for election as President of the United States, he has presented a case with little evidence. What does that mean? What has he proposed as far as changing the economy…? Tick…Tick…Tick…


Senator McCain can give us his interpretation of what Senator Obama would propose but his fixation has been on his opponent rather than his own leadership potential and skills.


The politics of fear have found itself front and center in this presidential campaign. Senator McCain attempts to give us multiple reasons why one should not vote for Senator Obama, but little reason to vote for him.


When the economic crisis occurred, Senator McCain suspended his campaign, believing that this was no time for politics. Well, when he decided to run for president everything became political. After all why did he choose Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, if not to capture the women’s vote that Senator Obama rejected when he didn’t select Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., NY)?


Senator McCain’s judgment can be questioned by this selection. He only spoke with her on a couple of occasions according to the published reports. As vice president, what does she add to his candidacy? She appeals to the base of the Republican Party. Senator McCain apparently does not. After all, she can see Russia from the shores of Alaska.


Senator McCain has relegated his campaign to the politics of fear in an attempt to capture the White House. He has not presented himself, or his campaign, with any type of cohesion or consistency that would make one think he was stable enough to govern the United States.


Which leads us to Senator Barack Obama. I know the criticism of him is his lack of experience. What is the criteria and job description for president?


In the democracy in which we live, voters select and then hold accountable those they select. There have been presidents in history with less experience who have held the office. Not only this, but those with the so-called experience have done a masterful job of showing their ineptitude in the position…See George W. Bush.


I know the criticism lays at the so called relationships of Senator Obama. Let’s cut to the chase and deal with them.


The relationship with William Ayers. Mr. Ayers is the terrorist from the 60’s and this is 2008? One can be sure since Mr. Ayers has participated in terrorist activity that he has been constantly monitored by law enforcement officials. If he even coughs wrong, he could face the consequences.


Which leads us to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Let me first say that I do not agree with everything that the Reverend Wright has spoken. The 15 minutes of fame for him was definitely in order for his performance at the National Press Club.


The question has been asked, how could Senator Obama stay in the church where the Reverend Wright had spoken things that were deemed anti-American?


If you could review every sermon that the Reverend Wright delivered from the pulpits of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago from YouTube Videos, then go ahead and make your limited assumptions.


I would suggest that you read “Keeping the Faith” and “What Makes You So Strong: “Sermons of Joy and Strength. These are books written by the Reverend Wright that show many of the sermons he offered. Make your total judgment based on the complete body of work, then come holler at me.


Why would Obama stay at Trinity? The answer is easy. This is where he learned he could be President of the United States one day. Did he have to agree with everything the Reverend Wright says politically? No. Do you agree with everything your pastor, spouse, or friends say? Do not cast dispersion on the Reverend Wright and link him with Senator Obama politically until you have read his body of sermons.


Some have suggested that Senator Obama would not be considered for the presidency if he were not African American. How short-sighted and – better yet – ludicrous. There have been those who have not been African American who have not been as qualified to hold the office.


Is it because they are of a different race that they got a pass? The current president has not shown the most discretion of judgment when it comes to decision making. One wonders if his last name were not Bush, would he even have been able to sniff the presidency. He is not eloquent of speech and his ability to generate a coherent sentence is often comedic relief. Now if he were of African American or Hispanic descent, would he have even been considered for his party’s nomination?


Senator Obama has shown the judgment and temperament to lead us. He understands that he does not have all the answers, so he surrounds himself with intelligent people. Eloquence in speaking is a part of shaping policy. See Ronald Reagan. President Reagan had a way of conveying through speech his policies and influenced people to believe in the decision.


Lately, Senator Obama has been labeled a socialist. Let one be reminded that it has been under the current administration that the move toward socialism has occurred. See the banking, insurance and mortgage industry. Has there not been a redistribution of wealth taken place for the wealthy? This is not to suggest that Senator Obama would participate in a socialist agenda.


In conclusion, it is certainly true that we live in a dangerous world. What we need now is someone who has the background in knowing how the world operates and who knows how people live.


Let’s see, Senator Obama has an African American father and a white mother. He was raised by his grandmother. He lived in Hawaii. He went to Columbia on student loans. He went to Harvard Law School and graduated 1st in his law class and was president of the Harvard Law Review. He lived on the rough streets of Chicago and was the underdog in facing the Clinton machine. Now tell me, can he relate to many Americans?


The attempts to label Senator Obama as a radical does not add up because he has ran a conventional campaign.


Many have said that they want a steady hand at the wheel. Senator McCain has been consistently inconsistent. Is this what we need for this particular time?


Well for two years, Senator Obama has shown he is steady, intelligent, bright, and consistent. Not only this, but he has offered hope as opposed to fear. I choose hope over fear each and every time I step into the voting booth.


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