Wednesday, February 20, 2008

McCain, Obama: Freedom? Change?...Pride???

John McCain said:

Our purpose is to keep this blessed country free, safe, prosperous and proud.

That's fantastic. Now both the leading candidates are advocates of change. And change...real change...fundamental change is what this country needs.

Given the shockingly rapid decline in Constitutional protections for individual liberty in the U.S. amidst the panic of the so-called "war on terror," it should be obvious that a militarized approach to foreign policy is not the road to freedom. As for safety, does anyone feel safe anymore? And's your floating mortgage rate doing these days?

But pride is where the discussion really gets uncomfortable. It is hard to be proud of a government that starts wars on false pretenses. It is hard to be proud of a government that breaks its own laws to prevent enemies from being brought to trial. It is hard to be proud of a government that violates international law even as it criticizes other countries for being a threat. It is hard to be proud of a country that voluntarily launches a war against an "evil" dictator and then lets the conquered society collapse into chaos. It takes more than whining "nice...just incompetent" to make me proud. But most of all, it is hard to be proud of a country that bullies weak opponents who are too proud to kowtow with threats that "all options are on the table." So, John, if you think you are qualified to be president, reassure us that you would never dream of allowing yourself to crawl into the gutter of world affairs and engage in any of the above hypothetical actions.

Don't worry, though. I'm just feeling neurotic. After all, in this democracy, we can trust our leaders. A presidential candidate would never lie to the American people. So I have a dilemma. I certainly support Obama's call for change. I also certainly support McCain's call for an America that is "free, safe, prosperous, and proud"--which would be change indeed. The only solution I can see is to vote for both of them.

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