I heard something today on the radio that sunk in a bit. Each election we are bombarded with “talking points.” How health care will be fixed, what needs to happen to the economy to get it back and running, the stance on taxation, security, etc. Over and over again we basically hear the same stuff. But then something happens that no one-person nor one party can control…the future. The future slowly makes its course and no matter which candidate is sitting in the Oval Office things change.
The World Series recently ended so baseball analogies are in my head. Let’s say the world was the pitcher and our president-to-be was the batter. No matter how confident Obama or McCain are in the dugout, no matter what they say about just how they’re going to perform at the plate, no matter how many teammates get behind them and support their efforts, no matter how confident they are in “negotiating”, or anticipating the pitcher’s reactions, they still don’t know just exactly what the pitcher is going to throw at them and when. The world has a similar way of unrehearsed actions. Far too often the political campaign “talking points” that make up the majority of the campaign become irrelevant compared to what the president has to face. Let’s look back at a few in our history.
Jefferson during his campaign in 1800, probably the earliest example, campaigned for a reduction of federal, particularly executive, power. He also called for strict fiscal responsibility in order to reduce the national debt and he pushed for strict adherence to the interpretation of the constitution. However, he had no way to foresee that Napoleon would offer to sell the Louisiana Territory in 1803 for such a meager amount. This threw his campaign “talking points” a curve ball. This would cost just over $11,000,000 plus a cancellation of French debt to the US worth $3,750,000. When all was said and done it cost the US over $23,000,000. And, there was great debate on whether or not it was even constitutional. Now it’s Woodrow Wilson’s turn at the bat. He campaigned both in 1912 and in 1916 that the US would not enter into World War I. Yet again, the pitcher had a different game plan and Wilson had no idea that the Germans would continue their submarine warfare against US shipping. Roosevelt did the same – campaigned that we would not be involved in WWII but how was he to know that Japan decided to show the world that they were the world’s power and attack the US at Pearl Harbor (boy was that a mistake). And of course we have George W. Bush. His entire presidency changed on 9/11. Just typing “9/11” makes me stop and recall that day. Nothing prepared us for that early morning but we certainly had to prepare ourselves afterwards and take action…none of which was involved in the campaign against Al Gore.
So history teaches us a great lesson. We can expect a curve ball from the pitcher. Joe Biden has already said that Obama will be tested. My concern, and what I heard on the radio is this, after the “talking points”, after the “dugout” speech, when the curve is thrown when a fastball was expected, what is the “vision” of this country for each of these candidates? Forget the campaign. How do these two presidential candidates “see” our country? Where do they envision us going? How do they get us there?
To me, this one is easy. All we have to do is look at what they’ve said, what they’ve written, who they’ve associated with, who they learned from, what they’ve taught, who they’ve fought, what they’ve fought for, who they’ve received contributions from, how they’ve reacted to allegations, who they’ve attempted to discredit for simply having an opposing view, who has spoken out in support of them, and finally, what my gut says.
One candidate is absolutely up to his eyeballs in questionable character when the above litmus test is applied. One is not. One has a vision that absolutely defies everything the country was founded upon (read this article about the opinions the founding fathers had on redistribution of wealth http://sweetness-light.com/archive/the-founding-fathers-on-redistribution). One does not. I believe one of these candidates will strike out miserably and one will overcome and adapt and hit the ball. Keep in mind that as citizens, we are collectively the Team Manager. WE decide who goes to the plate. If you vote for the candidate who has absolutely no idea how to hit a curve ball it will be on your conscience not mine. I will continue to fight for the right cause and the right team and I’ll do everything I can as a Manager to cut that player.
Kelly O’Connor – firstname.lastname@example.org