Riding The Straight Talk Express
Wednesday - December 17, 2008
The presidential election is over, of course, but I just can’t resume writing where I left off last August without some comments for closure.
During the election I was the chairman of the McCain Campaign Hawaii, so MidWeek deemed it inappropriate for me to submit columns, on the assumption that I would write about John McCain, which would constitute a conflict of interest. And, frankly, given the strength of my feelings about the importance of the election outcome, I probably would have. So that’s why you haven’t seen Coffee Break for the last four months.
Some of my efforts on behalf of McCain included a couple of 10-day tours in the Northeast on a “Straight Talk Express” bus, sometimes with former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Pittsburgh Steelers hall of famer Lynn Swan and close McCain friend U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham. John’s indomitable mother Roberta and his son Doug also joined us at times.
We supported John and Sarah Palin at rallies in Hershey, Pa., and Fayetteville, N.C., and, like them, our spirits were high and optimistic as the polls turned upward. We spoke for them in tiny towns across Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. At the Loews Speedway in Charlotte, driver Dale Earnhart Jr. joined us as we passed out 30,000 bumper stickers to NASCAR fans before the race at which Cindy McCain was the honorary starter.
We stumped the Virginia State Fair and the Tidewater Peanut Festival. We drank beer with Steelers fans in a bar called Sharkys in Latrobe, Pa. We encouraged campaign workers in the hinterlands as well as at the national HQ in Crystal City, Va.
But, alas, it was all for naught. The country’s financial system crashed and McCain didn’t handle it very well, so the economy was added to his list of “opponents” along with George Bush, the blatantly pro-Obama media and Obama himself. And the rest is history.
Honestly, I am so disappointed that the most qualified man in our nation’s history will not be our president and commander in chief, and that the least qualified in history will be.
But I’m even more disappointed in what that says about our country. Yes, we’ve proven to the world what you and I have always known: America is not basically a racist country, and that it’s true that anyone can actually grow up to be the president of the United States. But it also reveals the truth about the disturbing role of money and media bias in our electoral system, and about an education system that produces such gullible and ignorant - as in ignoring fact and truth - voters who stand for so little they’ll fall for anything.
So for now we - all of us, from whatever political affiliation - who are disappointed must be active as the “loyal opposition,” that balancing factor essential to any successful democracy. We must maintain a vigilant watch over the integrity of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, our democratic processes and our capitalist system of free enterprise.
We must question and challenge, and we must keep faith that the truth will overcome.
And we must always remember, “In God We Trust!”
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