Voting For Hope
What’s wrong with the media? They try to influence our decisions from both sides with meaningless personality assessments and trivialities. This year they really don’t get it!
I saw Tucker Carlson on Morning Joe today, one day before the election. I say I saw him because it has been a long time since I actually listened to anything he has to say. His lack of influence was dramatically exposed by his being the first “celebrity” voted off Dancing with the Stars. Seems people didn’t think much of him. I found that vindicating because I haven’t thought much of him from the very beginning when he used to be a regular Republican slime thrower on CNN. But his very presence and Joe Scarborough’s continuing whine about the liberal media and the unfairness of John McCain’s treatment just gave further evidence of the fact that Republicans don’t have anything to say for themselves. It’s everybody else’s fault that they are facing a major beat-down tomorrow.
On the other hand, Barack Obama has laid out myriad reasons why we should vote for him and his party tomorrow. He promises to use the progressive tax system to help the struggling middle class of this country which was left behind by the Bush Administration. He has given 46 million people hope that they will soon be able to visit the doctor or go to the hospital without jeopardizing their financial futures. But more than anything else, he has given the American people the hope that we will return to the position of respect that we enjoyed in the world before George W. Bush started flexing American military muscle around the world, ignoring such universally accepted tenets of western civilization as The Geneva Conventions.
For many, especially the far right wing of the Republican Party, this last item is of no consequence. They long ago bought into the sentiments of the “neo-cons” that we should exert our “only superpower in the world” status to bring the rest of the world into compliance with our worldview. I have never bought into that vision for our nation. You can wrap it in paper and put a bow on it if you will, but it is still imperialism. While it is always tempting for those in power to use it in such a way, the road is fraught with dangers. In the western world no one has pulled this off since the Romans did it over 2,000 years ago. And those who tried paid a high price for their hubris in the end.
In 1989 I had the privilege of working and living in London, England. The English were fascinated with all things American including our politics. Those I knew didn’t understand the popularity of the man they called the “cowboy president,” Ronald
Reagan. They were beginning to weary under the rule of the Conservative Party and Mrs. Thatcher. But they did hold George H. W. Bush in high esteem. They found him to be urbane and a moderate. They saw him as a man of the greater world that was well suited to lead the western democracies. I was there in London the night the impossible happened: the Berlin Wall came down and the communist government of East Germany with it. It all had happened without a shot being fired, and our allies in England were impressed at our capabilities as a nation.
George H. W. Bush further demonstrated his leadership abilities when he successfully called upon our allies to join us in the first Gulf War to push the over-reaching Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The Europeans gladly came to our side and joined us in our efforts. We were hailed as the leaders of the free world due to Bush 41’s leadership. Then, because of a collapsing economy, we elected Bill Clinton, a man with little or no foreign relations credentials to boast. The Europeans held their breath to see what kind of leader he was. In time they were won over by his charismatic personality and inherent leadership skills. He also posed no particular threat to them. In other words, he wasn’t “scary.”
Contrast those pictures with where we are today. The George W. Bush Administration has scared the world to death. Now, the obviously paranoid Dick Cheney finds that to be excellent foreign policy, but it has failed us in the long run. After 9-11 the world was ready to come to our defense, even Muslim countries including Iran. They rallied to assist us in our war to root out the nests of terrorists that had taken over Afghanistan and the Taliban government that aided and abetted them. In the beginning George W. Bush succeeded in the same way as his father, but in the end he threw our strategic alliances under the bus to go after an old family enemy, Saddam Hussein. No doubt about it, Saddam was a very bad man, but he posed no real threat to us or our European allies. Bush and Cheney knew it and kept that knowledge to themselves. But more importantly, our allies in Europe knew it, too. It was only by blackmail that the Bush/Cheney Administration forced some of them to join us in Iraq.
As a result of this foreign relations nightmare not only have the American taxpayers been charged for the greatest military blunder in our history, we have been tarred by the experience. Our old friends in Europe now see us with suspicion in their eyes. They wonder what we are up to. They wonder if their own security is threatened by an America that already has troops stationed on their soil. So they watch fitfully and nervously as we pick our next leader tomorrow. They have seen their homelands in ruins time after time due to the blind ambition of one man or one nation to “conquer the world.” So they hear the rhetoric of John McCain and wonder if we have taken a permanent militaristic turn as a nation, and they hear the words of Barack Obama as a new hope that the balance of power in the world can be sanely restored.
The Republicans mocked Senator Obama when he drew a crowd of 100,000 cheering Germans in Berlin last summer. Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough joined the McCain chorus in proclaiming Obama to be nothing more than a fawned-over celebrity. They once again spit in the face of our friends around the world who wish us the very best and are still willing to follow our lead on the world stage. They mock hope and instead push more fear at the American electorate.
When I step up to the voting machine tomorrow, I am going to proudly and cheerfully vote FOR HOPE and against fear. That’s the American way. When people from all over the world have left the fear that exists in their homelands, it is because they are drawn by the hope of America. We are a nation of HOPE, not fear. And tomorrow I will refuse to vote for anyone who only offers me fear.
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! If you haven’t already voted, get out there tomorrow and voice your preference for HOPE over fear. It’s almost impossible to believe we are only one day away. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!