Last week, my computer crashed. I was silenced for most of the week (which probably is good news to some.)
There were several days last week that were like young Alexander’s “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
On Monday, not only did my computer go down, but my beloved wife experienced an upsetting reaction to a minor medical procedure and wound up in the ER.
She felt awful, I felt awful. Fortunately she quickly recovered, and I finally got my computer back. So at last all is well. Whew!!
Wednesday was another of those days. In the evening, I watched my blessed KC Royals lose the last game of the baseball season by only one run to those ravenous Tigers from Detroit. The Royals have a really good baseball team; they should have done much better. Ah well, I’ll patiently await spring training in 2013. With Royals fans, hope springs eternal.
Finally adding to the dark hours of last week, on Wednesday evening there was a political debate. The two candidates for president faced each other in some sort of “Super Bowl of Politics,” as described by one pundit. For me, the election of the president of the United States is NOT a “game.”
It is a very serious event; we make a deadly serious decision. Just ask the more than 9,000 dead Americans who perished uselessly in two unnecessary and immoral wars against nations who did us no harm; wars launched by the decision of the previous president.
The coming election also is NOT about “star power,” which candidate has the most pizzazz or who wins a TV spectacular. We’re not choosing the “next American Idol”, or we’re not selecting a King who can rule unilaterally. We’re electing a leader of a party with a point of view, a vision, a focus.
This election is not about personalities. It is about a belief system; it is between two very different belief systems of the role of government. The question for the candidates is what do you believe and whom do you represent?
The neocon Republicans have selected to represent them a man who was born to wealth and power. He not only was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth, he ate off a platinum plate throughout his life.
He has never been a part of “average America.” The only “class” he knows is the “upper class” in which he lived and moved and had his being.
He can only represent who he is and those from whence he came. Also, he is duplicitous. He says “I’ve got nothing to hide” yet hides his Income Tax Returns. He says he has concern about the American economy, then deposits a large portion of his share of that economy in foreign banks or banks on the Cayman Islands. He says he paid 14 percent in taxes, but doesn’t tell us 14 percent of what. If the one who represents a particular belief system is duplicitous, are not those who share his belief system equally untrustworthy?
I can recall being told Iraq had weapons of mass destruction with the ability to deliver them. After a pre-emptive invasion, conquest, destruction and deadly occupation of Iraq, we found that no such threat ever existed.
Many Americans and innocent others uselessly died because of that duplicity. Does anyone remember that this political persuasion is the only political party to have a president forced to resign because of deceitful and near criminal behavior.
Sadly the current neocons concentrate totally upon dollars; the deficit and reducing taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the poor is their focus. As I look at their belief system and their focus of government, the neocons represent a shadowed, shaded, and totally self serving style of governance.
In contrast we have a political party, which is of the people, guided by the people, and is totally for the people. Its focus has always been people. This is the party of the 47 precent of Americans that neocons flippantly discount. I was born under a great Democrat President: Franklin Roosevelt who inaugurated that blessed people plan: Social Security. I served in the Air Force under another great Democrat, Harry Truman who integrated the armed services. I was uplifted by the spirit of John Kennedy, and then wept as he was cut down by an assassin.
I watched his successor Lyndon Johnson pass the voting rights act insuring all citizens the freedom to vote; a freedom the current neocons are seeking to harness for their own privileged voters by restrictive voter ID laws. I saw Johnson, with Truman at his side, sign the expansion of Social Security to provide Medicare for so many ill and aged Americans.
I cheered the spiritual quality of Jimmy Carter even as he failed to rescue the Iranian hostages.
I watched with joy Kennedy and Johnson activate and expand the Food Stamp Program that has fed so many hungry Americans.
I gave thanks for Bill Clinton, who left to his successor the largest American financial surplus in decades, which sadly was squandered by the Bush wars that created the deficit. Finally, the Obama administration has corrected the horrible injustice of DADT in the military; has extended health care to all, and has even insured for McPherson a new highway to Hutchinson.
Democrats have a history of service to all Americas. Our focus is always people, not dollars.
It is this heritage of service that the Democrats pledge to continue under the President. Obama cares; Democrats care about you and me.
The “fork in the road” is indeed obvious. Do we continue to serve and care for all Americans, or do we choose a party that will serve the richest Americans, guided by the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
I vote Democrat because Democrats have for decades done more good for more people more times. If the Ayn Rand band triumphs on Nov. 6, it will be “a terrible, horrible, very bad, no good day” for all Americans. I’m voting Democrat!
Fr. Bob Layne is a retired Episcopal Priest living in McPherson.