I trust that most Americans 18 years and older sense that we nearing the apex of a rather significant election season. America will soon have the opportunity to choose it's next President and Vice-President, and in so doing endorse certain priorities and process for our government. We are nearing the end of a period of largely "conservative" administration of government, lead by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, and many thoughtful people are asking themselves questions like "Is America Better Off Now Than It Was Eight Years Ago? - Am I?" and "Why?" or "Why Not?." I am older than 18, American, and not un-thoughtful. I have been asking myself these kinds of questions for months now, even in the midst of my unending-thirty-something-existential-upheaval. Some of my fellow Americans are fighting and have died in war. Some of my fellow Americans are precariously housed and underinsured. Some of my fellow Americans are having their email read without their knowledge and consent. Some of my fellow Americans are being treated unfairly because of their sex, race, age, religion, or sexual preference. Some of my fellow Americans are having trouble finding and keeping good work for good pay. And most of us are paying lots of dollars to get to work if we got it. What is the role of our elected American government in addressing these matters? And if there isn't any role, what do we pay those people for?
As I evaluate our nominees for future American leadership, I'm not looking for a Dynamic Duo to completely eradicate what I consider to be dysfunctional in or deleterious to America today. When I really think about it, I am looking for a couple of people that have good ideas, good experience, good temperament, and even good intentions - which I think they all have - to meaningfully address as many critical areas as possible. I totally understand that what may be troubling and what may be a good idea may only look that way to me and, after all, I only get one vote. Nevertheless, I do not think that all the nominees would address what I consider to be America's challenges with equal competence, insight or commitment - the necessary, though perhaps not sufficient ingredients to good leadership.
Senators Obama and McCain have been each making their case to Americans for nearly two years, and their respective VPs much less than that. This is an important feature of an election, in my view - the opportunity to evaluate a candidate in real-time, over time: their responses, reactions, thoughts, evolutions, and immutables. Despite the obvious age/life experience disparity between Obama and McCain, Americans have ample evidence of each candidate's qualities and thought-processes, from nearly two years of campaigning, in order to decide not just what the issues are, but who is best suited to lead at this time. While McCain has demonstrated some competence, some insight and commitment - to certain notions involving war and the mechanism of war - I see Obama as demonstrating far more competence and insight in a greater range of issues facing America, as well as commitment to the process of getting it right, as opposed to being right. That's just the way I see it.
I could end the post at that, but I can't resist giving my two-penny opinion on the Palin Phenomenon. I don't understand how people who profess to think about politics and America with any degree of sincerity, and have been following the national dialogue for the past 18 months, could now in the past week be given to argue that Sarah Palin is ready for executive office, in the capacity that a VP would need to be on Day 1, as they say. More so than Biden? More than Obama, some venture to say. Some particularly excited Republicans state that she and McCain should switch seats! Really? When there's this, this, this and this? I do understand how the idea of Palin, the self-described "average hockey mom," moose-hunter and mother of five (or four, give or take a grandchild), as VP and possible POTUS is interesting and definitely Lifetime material. I also understand that up until Palin's nomination by McCain a week ago, Republicans didn't have an "Obama" (as I wrote a few weeks ago) - or, a non-white-male-person that elicited enthusiasm. But if social conservatives feel the way about Obama that I do about Palin, then maybe we all understand each other even less than I thought.
Update, RE Palin: revelations like this are a little disconcerting, no?