(Well, at least, the more decisive ones did.) Over the past 18 months or so, we had the extreme pleasure of getting to know our exceptional candidates; their hopes and dreams for the future; their specific visions and policies for the one remaining Superpower. We marveled over their impressive experiences and many successes that helped qualify them to assume the role of the most powerful person in the world. We learned of their causes and passions from following the money trail of their supporters’ contributions. We recognized the wonderful power and privilege of Free Speech as independent groups like “Swift Boat Veterans” and “Moveon.org” shared their patriotic perspectives through those truthful advertisements. We gained knowledge as the objective, impartial media at CNN, Fox, CBS (and Al Jezeera) helped decipher this dialogue for those less informed. We marveled over the outstanding example our country set, knowing that future thriving democracies in Iraq, Iran, and the Palestinian Authority watched with hope and admiration. We observed with pride as the world remained supportive (and envious) of all that is positive, strong, and moral about the United States.
We met their wonderful families (at least, the heterosexual members) and those loyal and trusted advisers who openly shared unbiased insight with the public. We came to realize that men of honor often maintain diverse opinions about solving the world’s challenges, yet always express their views with such integrity, diplomacy, and an eloquent command of the English (and occasionally Spanish) language (s). Yes, during this campaign season, we witnessed an informative civics lesson unfold before our eyes as honest debate and an intellectual flow of ideas graced the daily news. A presidential campaign truly represents democracy at its finest.
SO JUST WHAT DID WE LEARN???
On one hand, the Democratic champion of the impoverished, downtrodden, and jobless is actually a wealthy, East Coast, aristocratic elitist with a penchant for marrying well. This decorated war hero who proclaims that he’s “reporting for duty” to imply a strong military record is really an anti-war monger who is loathed by his fellow veterans. While claims of his heroic actions remain in dispute, no one questions the life saving bravery exhibited when giving mouth-to-mouth to his pet hamster. This “flip-flopping” opportunist apparently accomplished nothing during his long career in politics and is considered the most liberal Senator (even more liberal than his near-socialist counterpart from Massachusetts). While he has been training for debates his entire life, his snooty wife dismisses the public arena and cusses like a sailor when confronted by media. In his free time, this candidate (who resembles a Frenchman) enjoys the sport of the common man he represents (windsurfing). His choice of running mate, the son of a mill worker, arose from the depths of poverty to become a successful ambulance chaser.
On the other hand, the Republican war president prepared for military conflict by serving admirably during Vietnam with the National Guard in Alabama (at least, when he wasn’t AWOL). A self-proclaimed wild-man during his youth, he found strength in religion which helps him to reach each decision he faces today. A compassionate conservative, he will never give Europe veto power over America’s future and considers Poland among our most trusted and substantial allies. He understands that being president is “hard work” and clears his head while clearing some brush at his Crawford Ranch. An underdog at debating, he remains a decisive man of action rather than of words and still has some difficulty pronouncing “nukular.” Confident in his decisions, he has made nary a mistake during the four years in office which saw a ballooning budget deficit and apparently “the wrong war at the wrong time.” A staunch supporter of the pro-life movement and pro-family values, he wholeheartedly stands by his foul-mouthed vice president who, by the way, has a lesbian daughter.
JUST WHO WERE THESE “UNDECIDED?”
As election day approached, a significant percentage of voters remained “undecided.” Obviously, the difficult choice between these two “outstanding” leaders and men of vision created great stress and uncertainty. Some turned to role models like P-Diddy, The Boss, Michael Moore, Governor Arnold, Nolan Ryan, and Mel Gibson for sage political advice. Others checked out the daily projections from the pollsters to see how those individuals they most resemble will be voting. Still others drove the neighborhoods checking out yard signs in front of friends’ and family members’ homes (and vacant lots) to determine where loyalties lie.
Mainly they struggled with the incongruity of the candidates and their campaigns. Some disliked the current state of the country, but simply never connected with the alternative to the incumbent. Others strongly opposed the war, but feared that a change from the current leadership would bring disastrous results. Some were content with the challenger, but couldn’t bear the thought of a trial lawyer just a heartbeat away from the presidency. Others wished the choices of Democratic Vice President and President were “flip-flopped” on the ticket. Some respected the business and foreign affairs positions of the current administration, but disagreed on certain social issues. Others suffered through the challenging economic times with no jobs or prospects, but found solace in the moral backbone and faith of the President.
In all seriousness, many voters seemed to share the same exact sentiment, while they struggled with the choice between two “less than desirable” candidates. This simply cannot be the best we can do. While these are seemingly honorable men with a patriotic desire to serve their country, there must be better options out there somewhere. Where are the successful leaders who have earned sound, ethical reputations for intelligence and success? Where are those hard working, independent-minded folks who are not beholden to any party or partisan issues groups? Maybe Ross Perot was a bit of a “kook,” but aren’t there others with similar ideals and desires to lead (and just enough ego to run)? Politics has become such a mean-spirited, dirty game that often the best and the brightest choose to avoid it altogether. Therefore, many of us remain “undecided,” frustrated by the process, embarrassed by the negativity that the season brings, tuning out the pundits and media who shed virtually no real insight (except Jon Stewart), and wishing for better candidates (and better times ahead).
In the meantime, the people have spoken; a president has been elected and it’s time to put aside all differences, accusations, bickering, and mean-spirited parting comments (though honest debate is still allowed and encouraged). It’s time to support the elected leader of the free world, whether or not he was your choice. God Bless the President and the United States of America. (In this day and age, we can use all the blessings we can get.)