I realize this is an illustration blog, and though I’ve occasionally chosen political topics from which to glean inspiration, I normally just draw what Illo Friday tells me to an call it a day. But as the presidential election draws closer and the prospect of change, or not, becomes more palpable, it seems all the more difficult to separate life and art from politics. And although I consider myself an above average writer, editorializing on the weightier topics of the day is not my forte. Somehow the heightened gravity brings out more to cynicism than insight.
So, when I read something that accomplishes what I can’t seem to do, and in this case that would be capturing the marrow-level yearning of us all for our country to change, stated in a way that addresses the common denominator of our humanity, I feel compelled to pass it along. I think you’ll agree that what follows is much more than simply another partisan treatise on Barack Obama. It’s a statement made using a page out of Obama’s playbook; public discourse need not be drawn into the same seamy depths as reality TV. That there isn’t one set of rules for winning elections and another set for conducting one’s life. It’s by my cousin David Wally. Enjoy. And vote.
Dear Fellow American,
With less than eight weeks to go before our presidential election, the national polls reflect that the race remains basically deadlocked. Once again, our large country appears to be nearly evenly divided. With so much at stake, if you would be so kind, please allow me to make my case regarding which candidate would best lead us over the next four years…
First we must ask ourselves a simple question â€“ â€œWho are we?â€
We are all human.
Before we are male or female, young or old, straight or gay, rich or poor, thin or fat, Mac or PC, Christian or Jew or Muslim or Atheist, Black or White or Brown or Green, Democrat or Republican or Independent or Just Plain Fed Up â€“
â€“ Before people with personal and professional agendas try to drive a wedge between the rest of us and convince us all that we are each others mortal enemies â€“
â€“ First we are human.
And, as humans, we have to share this third rock from the sun. And, while our global population grows, this planet ainâ€™t getting any bigger.
But, in America, many things are growing larger â€“ the casualty counts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the demand for natural resources, the price of oil, the price of food, the national debt, the gap between rich and poor, the size of our classrooms, the number of home foreclosures, and the number of Americans who believe our country has drifted far too far down the wrong track.
After eight years of the Bush Administration, 80% of Americans think we are on the wrong track. This dissatisfaction crosses party lines and gender, race and age, sexuality and religion, smoking and non-smoking, tastes great and less filling.
The cold hard fact is that our country is not simply dissatisfied. We are depressed.
Our economy, our faith in institutions, our standing in the world community, our collective psyche, our spirit.
But though we may find ourselves down, it is time to pick ourselves back up once again. It is not the time to pull the covers over our heads, it is not the time to bury our heads in the sand.
It is time to use our heads.
It is time to pay attention to the world around us. It is time to assess the situation. It is time to separate the facts from the fiction. It is time to focus on which presidential candidate you want to lead our country for the crucial next four years. It is time to look deep within your soul and ask yourself some honest questions.
When you turn off the lights and lay your head on the pillow and put to bed your realities and dream about your future, ask yourself these simple questions â€“
â€“ Do the daily media distractions and political attacks have anything whatsoever to do with providing you and your family with a more prosperous future?
â€“ Do the latest manufactured â€œoutragesâ€ that dominate the airwaves and websites have anything whatsoever to do with keeping our nation safe?
â€“ Does the race or gender or age of these candidates have anything whatsoever to do with addressing and solving our countryâ€™s economic and national security crises?
â€“ Are the pundits and analysts and bloggers and radio hosts really addressing your best interests? Or is it possible that they are just manipulating you to protect their own best interests?
Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, ask yourself those questions.
Personally, I think that ALL of us basically want to get to the same place â€“ A safe and prosperous future. We simply have different ideas, a different road map if you will, for how to get there.
Though I am a man, I recognize that women are just as capable of providing great leadership as I am. Though I am in my 40â€™s, I recognize that people in their 20â€™s have just as many valid ideas as I do. Though I am a non-believer, I recognize that my reverent friends are no more or less enlightened than I am. Though I am straight, I recognize that my gay and lesbian friends and family are entitled to the same civil rights as I am. Though I am a Democrat, I recognize that many of my Republican friends agree with me on plenty of important issues â€“ even if we must agree to disagree on other matters of importance.
But in every case, we are all human. And in this country, we are all Americans.
For me, the candidate best suited to getting our country back on track is Barack Obama. He won me over four years ago, when he made the case, â€œThere is not a Liberal America and a Conservative America, there is the United States of America.â€
In that one short sentence, Senator Obama made the simple argument that we are all one people.
And that we need not treat each other as enemies.
Since then, I first hoped for â€“ and then supported â€“ Senator Obamaâ€™s candidacy. When he was far behind, when he pulled ahead, when things got close, when he fell behind again. Though I found plenty of admirable qualities in each of his opponents, it has been Senator Obama â€“ for me â€“ who has remained the candidate best suited to â€œpush the reset buttonâ€ on our troubled nation.
To be clear, I do not see Senator Obama as â€œThe Oneâ€ or a â€œMessiahâ€ or a â€œCelebrityâ€ or an â€œElitistâ€ or any of the other sarcastic labels his opponents and the corporate media have tried to make stick.
Rather, I see Senator Obama as a very gifted, thoughtful, rational, empathetic and (yes) articulate politician. He knows what the issues are, he knows that there are many ways to skin a cat, and he knows that â€“ in our evenly divided country â€“ the path to accomplishment is paved by the process of compromise and reconciliation.
Senator Obama has run under the mantle of â€œChangeâ€. And after two years of campaigning, it is clear that America is demanding change. Political change.
A change from the way the Bush Administration has led our country.
And so, the question before us is simple â€“ Which candidates policies would best effect that change?
In my humble opinion, this election has nothing to do with respecting either candidates biography, it has only to do with which direction these candidates would take the country â€“ and which policies they would pursue to accomplish their agenda.
Though I have great respect for John McCainâ€™s biography, the fact of the matter is that Senator McCain has politically supported George W. Bush over 90% of the time during the past eight years; and the policy positions Candidate McCain now puts forth promise an extension of the Bush Administrationâ€™s policies. With all due respect to this great American â€“ Senator McCain does not promise change.
While each ticket has compelling human stories to tell, our futures are not dependent on the candidateâ€™s biographies. I honor and respect Senator McCainâ€™s service and sacrifice when he was a Prisoner of War, I honor and respect the crisis Senator Biden had to overcome when his wife and daughter were killed, I honor and respect the fact that Governor Palin is raising a baby born with a disability, I honor and respect the fact that Senator Obama was raised by a single mother and returned to help his community prosper rather than cash in on his education with a cushy Wall Street job.
All of these biographies are compelling. But none of these biographies inform how these candidates would govern our nation. We need to focus on their policies.
In short â€“ For our well being, this election must be about the Steak, not the Sizzle.
While there are plenty of sizzling distractions put forth by the campaigns and the media and the blogosphere, each of us needs to recognize that there is a stark difference between the two presidential candidates on virtually every single meaty policy issue one can imagine (the economy, foreign policy, the military, social issues, civil rights, privacy rights, the Supreme Court, and so much more).
If you are unfamiliar with their policy positions, there is ample information available on both candidateâ€™s websites. We can debate the micro points, but for me, this election is about the macro crises we face.
The big picture.
And, with that in mind, the determining factor should really be quite simple:
If you are happy with the direction of the country, you should probably vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.
But if you share my assessment that our country has drifted deeply and dangerously down the wrong track, then the only real choice for â€œChangeâ€ in this election is to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
This is not a popularity contest, it is not â€œAmerican Idolâ€ and it is not a football game. This is a very serious decision we have to make.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with me or support my candidate â€“ for your own sakes â€“ please make sure that you ask yourself those tough questions and arrive at your decision based on the realities we face rather than the mirages that are manufactured to distract us.
With great respect, thank you for allowing me to present my argument.