My regular readers know I am always 'on message' because frankly, that's how I roll. But I feel the need to give everyone a pep talk, so here goes.
I believe in John McCain. I believe he is running for the right reasons. I believe he truly has the heart to help Americans make responsible, lasting change in their government and in their country. I also believe he has the head to navigate those changes and the cojones to get the job done.
I DO believe America needs change - and, pardon the cliche - hope. We need change in the attitudes of the people we elect. We need people in office who understand that they work for us and not the other way around. We need people in office who understand the need to be accountable and make others accountable. We need to understand what is non-negotiable and where we can be flexible (and yes, there are some times when that's appropriate and necessary). We need people in office who understand that humility is a virtue and ego is, 99% of the time, a distraction from the tasks at hand.
I could rant forever about what a cowardly, phony, undesirable guy Barack Obama is. But that is not why I do what I do. There are people who are motivated by that, more power to them. Yes, Obama is frightening, not just because I disagree with him, but because he is the double-whammy: setting people's expectations so high AND not having the experience, judgment, or skill to achieve what he promises. If America buys his line hook-line-and-sinker, and he fails to deliver (as history and objective review of his record suggests he will), "Hope" may die forever, the way "Presidential dignity" did when Bill Clinton screwed an intern in the Oval Office.
Now I know there are many here and elsewhere who do not believe John McCain is the perfect choice. You don't like one or more of his past votes. Or his future ideas. Or he's too old. Too conservative. Not conservative enough. Too much of a maverick. To those, I say this. Step back from the microscope and see who we are really looking at. A man who actually got something done working with the other party. A man who was a true hero under the harshest possible conditions, could have rested on his laurels for life, but instead took up a challenging, often thankless career not for his own benefit but for his country's. You may not love John McCain, you may not even like John McCain. But John McCain can do for America what needs to be done.
Everyone has talked about "if we don't elect McCain we get Obama...agggghhh!" And yes, I fully support that brilliantly-worded statement. But if we don't elect McCain something even bigger happens. The humble, the brave, the unassuming candidates will shrink back into the background to toil in obscurity instead of stepping forward to lead. We will tell future generations that we cared more about following the advice of the Black Eyed Peas than we did about who deserves this responsibility.
This election, I have done all sorts of things I never in a million years would have considered doing. I went to a caucus at a stranger's house and shared my most deeply-held but very rarely articulated beliefs. I was interviewed by a newspaper and a magazine, both of which actually listened to what I had to say and encouraged me that what I am doing, even if they don't like my candidate as much as I do, is a good thing. I have told people I love that they are wrong, and in some cases, even convinced them of that fact. I have gone out on limb after limb because I will never run for President (probably!) but I can make a difference in my country by supporting the right kind of person for the right job.
Tomorrow McCain will hitch his wagon to a star, or a turd, we don't yet know which. Yes, of course it matters because it may seal his fate and that of America. But it will not change the fact that unlike his competitor, McCain hasn't claimed entitlement to your vote -- for decades, he has shown a willingness to earn it. The old fashioned way. With hard work and principle. With humility and perspective.
So whomever he picks, I urge you to consider the lifetime of commitment John McCain has given this country and give him the benefit of the doubt. Thank you.