DR. JOHN DEMPSEY: Two Good Men Are Running for President
About a year ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article for The Pilot about potential tickets for the 2008 presidential race.
I mentioned the Dynasty ticket of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the Zsa Zsa Gabor ticket of Gingrich and Giuliani, the Kennedy-Edwards Extreme Makeover ticket, and a few others. I concluded with my own personal favorite, the McCain-Obama Unity Ticket.
While poking a little fun at Sen. McCain's age and Sen. Obama's lack of experience, I still concluded that these two fellows gave us the best chance to unify America and end the destructive partisan bickering that seems to have divided our nation in recent years. Now, a year later, lo and behold
John McCain and Barack Obama are running for president, and I am quite pleased with the options they present us.
I've followed the careers of these two gentlemen for a long time. I've always been impressed with Obama's vision and his ability to communicate that vision, especially to young people. I have admired John McCain's independent streak and, as a Navy veteran of Vietnam, I have always had a special empathy with his remarkable story.
After listening to their respective acceptance speeches, I have confirmed my belief that these two are the finest pair of presidential candidates I've seen in my voting life.
Both of these men pass what I've heard described as the "fifth grade" test. This is the test in which a fifth-grader comes home to his mom or dad and says, "When I grow up, I'd like to be just like Senator Obama -- or Senator McCain." With these two candidates, Mom or Dad can pat their fifth-grader on the head and agree that it's a worthy aspiration.
Naturally, these guys aren't perfect. They've probably made some mistakes in their lives, just like all the rest of us. We might think that Obama is too inexperienced, McCain is too old, Obama is too liberal, McCain too conservative
All that is fine, and it's fair game in our tumultuous (and seemingly interminable!) election process. But these are two fine men, and regardless of the one we choose to support, we can and should be proud of both these candidates.
Electoral politics in the United Sates is a contact sport. Between now and Nov. 4, lots of slings and arrows will be hurled by both sides. Despite that, we need to remember something that both Obama and McCain mentioned in their inspiring acceptance speeches -- that there is much more that unites us Americans than divides us as Republicans and Democrats.
Sens. Obama and McCain offer us very different approaches to solving the problems America will face in the future. The differences between them are wide and deep. As this election process moves forward, we as Americans need to listen to their views and vision and to make our choice accordingly.
I'd like to think that choice will be made based on which of the candidates offers America the best hope for its future -- not on the negative personal attacks that have so characterized American politics of the recent past.
We've got two fine men running for president. If you can't find something to like and respect in both of these two men, it tells me more about you than it does about them.
Dr. John Dempsey is president of Sandhills Community College and teaches political science.
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