Thursday, October 9, 2008

That One

It has been a long political season. I am thankful that it will soon come to a close. This has been the most turbulent election I can remember, at least since 1992 with the on-and-off Perot campaign.

I believe that the right team is in the lead. They only need to play defense, and maybe shoot for a couple more points to fully secure the win. They cannot let their guard down yet, but their sideline can smile in satisfaction. What we've seen over the last few months has been a collapse of the opposition.

Specifically, if you couldn't already tell, I believe that Barack Obama will rightfully be the next President. John McCain has completely destroyed his brand. He's left himself with no choice but to run a dishonorable campaign over the coming month. It is a sad tribute to someone who once ran specifically on honor, dignity, and righteousness.

It comes down to two words, "that one."

When I heard him say that during the last debate I was astonished. I cannot recall a Presidential candidate with that little tact. I have heard no apology and no explanation for what was said. I can only assume that John McCain himself has lost his ability to be a gentleman. The only question now is whether his campaign is a reflection of him, or he a reflection of his campaign.

Thinking of the phrase, "that one," many things come to mind. Most notably are the times when my father would incredulously call my brother or I that way. "And that one over there wasn't helping anything," he would say. It was always used to scorn. It belittles and dehumanizes.

Yet, my father knew something that Mr. McCain must not. That is not a phrase to be used lightly. It is not to be used on those of equal or greater standing. A well mannered individual would never utter those words in public when any better label would do. My father knew that and he would never refer to my brother or I in such a manner outside the house.

Another interpretation would be that the quip was meant as subtle racism. I don't believe this is the case. However, I do believe that the questions and allegations are justifiable. I don't judge those who would accuse this man of resorting to racism during his fall from grace. I won't join them, though.

A more honorable man would step up and defend his words. He would explain that it is just an expression and declare that he did not intend to demean Senator Obama. Since that has not happened, we can only assume that his intent was dishonorable.

This is just one instance, though. Two words. Much more can be observed from the rest of the debate, and the rest of the campaign. Senator McCain's surrogates, especially Sarah Palin, have ventured down far less honorable paths. They are overtly questioning Mr. Obama's heritage, childhood, and service. In doing so, they insult all Americans who believe that freedom knows no such bounds, as well as those who put their country, and their communities, before themselves.

I believe that during these final days of this election cycle we should reflect on the grace and integrity shown by each of the candidates. Specifically, that which is shown by Barack Obama and that which John McCain has apparently lost.

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