My ask of McCain
Recently I have taken part in a few discussion threads over at Neowin pertaining to Barack Obama. Neowin isn’t a political forum, it’s a technology community; but in times like these – politics seeps in just about everywhere. A group of individuals over there have repeatedly attacked Obama over meaningless drivel such as the infamous lapel pin “issue.” I have thought, on multiple occasions, that this marvel of absurdity was behind us. Each time I have been proven wrong shortly thereafter.
I partake in these discussions as an Obama supporter. However, I have always spoken highly of both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain. Clinton was our senator when I lived in NY before moving to Washington. She was good for NY, and I think she is a very efficient politician who fights for the needs of those who vote for her.
McCain is a friend to my family, being an outspoken supporter of my uncle, former Blue Angels commander Bob Stumpf, when he was wrongly punished during and after the mishandled “tailhook” investigation that lasted from 1991-1996 (a wrong that was righted, to some degree, under the Bush administration). I have a deep respect for John McCain because of how he defended my uncle’s honor even when it was unpopular to do so, how he served our great country bravely in Vietnam, and how he continues to serve our country today in the US Senate.
I supported McCain’s bid for the Republican nomination in 2000, and I was obviously quite disappointed at the outcome of that race (an outcome that I think many wise Republicans regret to this day). I have no ill words for McCain. He’s a great man, and I am happy that he won the nomination this time around. However, as you already know – I am supporting Barack Obama come November. I won’t get into my reasons here, but I believe at this time that he is the best hope we have for the future of our country.
Unfortunately, what I see happening today is quite similar to something I saw back in 2000 and 2004. Instead of focusing on issues of substance, too many of us focused on distractions – like picking apart every sample of mangled pronunciation or nervous misspeaking that came out of George W. Bush. I do not exempt myself from this criticism, but instead will hope that I have matured a bit since then.
More than that, I’d like to hope that we all have. If for no other reason, out of necessity. During the 2000 election season we were riding an economic bubble, we weren’t in any wars, and we didn’t really feel threatened by any earthly enemies. Childish discourse was perhaps a luxury we could afford. Things have changed quite a bit since then, and I think this demands a change in our politics as well.
Senators Obama and McCain have a chance to do that. But this kind of change cannot happen on one side of the aisle and not the other. Both sides need to recognize that we have two smart, capable, patriotic candidates who love this country and want to do what’s best for it.
Senator McCain – I ask this of you: Tell your supporters that you don’t want them to practice the kind of petty political sensationalism that I described in the first paragraph of this post. Tell them that you don’t want to win this election based on lapel pins, mixed up names of 65 year-old battlegrounds, or who may have lived in the other guy’s neighborhood. What’s more, tell them you don’t want to lose this election based on your own occasional faux pas, unsubstantiated fears about your mental well-being, or unfounded concerns about your age.
Tell them that your campaign is about who will best lead this country. Tell them it is not about rumors, fear mongering, or tabloid sensationalism.
Don’t think about whether this is the right way to win. Think about whether this is the right thing to do. I believe Barack Obama will make the same gesture (to a large extent, he already has), and that he will call on his supporters to recognize and respect Senator McCain’s action and his desire to elevate our political discourse.
If he does not, then you will win, having proven that he is not the candidate so many of us think he is. If he does, and this should be our shared hope, then we all win.
The ball is in your court, Senator.