As a practicing independent, I fully enjoyed both political conventions. I relish the political season, particularly in a presidential election year. What fun, both parties promising change, with no real (positive) change in sight.
It stirs my blood to think that little will change for the better, no matter which ticket gets elected. I enjoy all the speeches; I even taped them all. It was a real hoot to watch as both parties made their case that change was, indeed, needed and in fact, possible, if only we'd cast our vote for them.
I really like and admire both presidential candidates. In 1999, I had the honor of reviewing Sen. John McCain's book, Faith of my Fathers, for Leatherneck magazine. My admiration and respect for him has never wavered. However, I am also impressed with youthful candidate Sen. Barack Obama. His intelligence and his oratory skills are sublime.
So now, and for the first time in ages, this old independent voter is genuinely torn. My vote is still up for grabs. No matter who wins, American political history will be made. Gosh, how I love that! And, I ask, what's not to adore about this exhilarating political campaign season?
The key to my vote shifted when McCain made his surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. I liked her from the start, and his choice awoke something in me. Her story was compelling and I sensed that her persona rang true. What an electrifying choice. And a risky political move, one might only expect from a Navy fighter pilot.
During her address I was moved by both her speaking style and her directness. I was indeed enjoying her forceful presentation; that is, right up to when she took that uncalled for shot at Sen. Obama's work as a community organizer.
I was shocked and then hurt. As an active proponent of, and (sometime) practitioner of how communities might better be organized, I was stunned by her belittlement of the Herculean efforts of thousands of selfless community organizers I've known and worked beside.
Her suggestions that our efforts and commitment to our fellow citizens were, at best, a punch-line for her attack on Sen. Obama's efforts seared me. For when she attacked him with that sarcastic remark, she demeaned us all.
The best and brightest people I've had the pleasure of working with constantly extend themselves, beyond belief, in their attempts to simply enhance the lives of their community and their neighbors. They selflessly strive to improve the standard of living of countless people. Gov. Palin's slapdash remarks were painful, unworthy and offensive.
As a governor, she no doubt has counted upon the multitudes of volunteers to assist Alaska's many deserving citizens. She, like the other 49 governors of our great country, should be thanking their lucky stars that they have such hardworking and compassionate people to continually rely upon. She belittled us all with her cutting and imprudent remakes. And folks, she did it for a laugh! Well, folks, she got the laugh she was seeking. And shame on all the jovial delegates, and shame on her for those disparaging comments.
I fully believe that Sen. McCain was dealt a disservice by her ungrateful and ungraceful comments. Yet again, my vote is up for grabs.
Bob Loring heads East Pasco Toys for Tots and the American Dream Congress.