WE ARE KNOWN BY OUR BODY OF WORK
September 14, 2008
It has been said that we are "known by our body of work." This seems to be true if one is young or old, male or female, rich or poor, urban or rural dweller. Such is the legacy of those of past generations as well as those of us today. And no less, our political leaders are also known by "their body of work." This body of work also includes a willingness to face defeat or ostracism in the pursuit of what they believe to be right.
Many may dislike Paul Wellstone or Jesse Helms, but few can fail to appreciate their conviction and willingness to take a stand for what they believed. Franklin D. Roosevelt is remembered for his creation of the New Deal after a world-wide economic collapse; also, he is remembered for his leadership in the defeat of the Axis powers with resolute determination. Jack Kennedy is fondly remembered for establishing a new frontier of leadership based upon "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." We well remember Ronald Reagan for the "great confident roar of American progress, growth, and optimism" as well as his noted historic acclaimed words "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" And, today, we remember John McCain's unwavering lifetime commitment to public service, both as a military hero and as a maverick in the US Congress ... first in the House for six years and twenty-two years in the US Senate. And then there is Barack Obama, a fine orator, known for his work as a community organizer and street activist in Chicago, and in 1996 elected to the Illinois State Senate where he served for six years and voted "present" 130 times on major bills. He was acclaimed as its most liberal Senator. Presently, Obama is in the US Senate and has been for a little over two and one-half years spending fewer than 200 days actually in the Senate. To be sure, we are known by our body of work or lack thereof.
Presidential candidates McCain and Obama will be vetted for their past work performance and contributions as well as their current position on the issues. Senator McCain is thought of as a hero with determination and resolve on political issues who is willing to upset various elements of the party to do what he views is right. Many see him as a maverick as well as highly experienced and a "sure footed" leader with powerful skill in judgment. Senator Obama is an eloquent speaker almost of rock star proportion and sees hope and change as the bedrock of his campaign. Some say he is condescending whose hubris and pride are wearing thin on people, that he is weak in judgment, and perceives his campaign as a spotlight totally on himself and not on the needs of the people. Senator Obama speaks eloquently about "change and hope," but eloquence is no substitute for a record. Obama's statement is confusing when he proclaims "This is the finest nation in the world, now join me as we try to change it."
The next six weeks should prove to be illuminating. Obama talks "change" but McCain has demonstrated "transformational" change by action. Remember it isnít what we say that matters, it is what we do. In the first major decision these two candidates have made, Obama decided on a long time Washington insider with "politics as usual" as his Vice Presidential running mate. The selection of Senator Biden confirms Obama's weakness of experience, but also demonstrates that his "transformational" politics is unsubstantiated political rhetoric as he chose an experienced partisan with no record of challenging the pay for play, pork-barrel politics of both parties. McCain, on the other hand, decided on an outside the Washington beltway female and one with executive experience. Governor Palin is an "ordinary" person and, it is noted, that what she does, she does "extraordinarily" well. Thus we have... Senator McCain, Senator Obama, Senator Biden, and Governor Palin: three with legislative experience and one "new face on the block" with executive experience as a Governor. It is important to note that it is actions which count. Senator McCain picked someone who was anti-establishment, fighting for clean government and high ethics. Senator Obama chose an experienced manipulator of the broken system he claims to want to "change."
And the Presidential election campaign moves on. We continue to hear clarion calls from Obama for hope and change and calls to redistribute income among the people. McCain promises to put his country and the needs of the people first, while at the same time he advocates peace through strength, economic growth and security, cutting runaway pork-barrel spending, and balancing the budget. There is no doubt, we have major domestic and foreign challenges ahead of us and the American people are calling for the highest level of moral courage, transformational leadership, creative approaches, and action solutions. Vacuous calls for change and hope seems pathetically weak, while transformational ACTIONS of change regarding kitchen table issues seem to resonate with the people. ACTIONS matter, not rhetoric, The Wall Street Journal pointed out recently that John McCain has requested zero dollars in earmarks, while Senator Obama requested over 80 million dollars in earmarks.
There are those who say, "America has failed." America hasn't failed; its politicians have failed. Let us start by demanding actions over rhetoric. We believe that America's moral failures are dwarfed by our moral triumphs. Americans are known by their history of accomplishment and giving. We are a people of hope and optimism, work and energy, determination and drive. Americans are a people who have the moral courage to stand firm on principle, and they expect no less from their leaders. Americans are known for their body of work, and it is that work ethic that is the genius and genesis of change. That is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.