This man can bring us together. We need to let him help heal our land.
|Divided We Stand; United We Must Become
By Marilyn Mackenzie
As I listened to Senator John McCain's speech last night, I realized that if anyone is able to unite our country, it is John McCain. More than anyone, he sincerely cares about us enough to want to unite us into one strong and solid country again. He cares about each one of us, whether we are rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat. He cares about us because we are Americans, and he has been working for Americans for many years. I pray that he will be given the opportunity to unite us, as he feels he has been called to do.
This campaign has shown what a divided nation we have become. The blogs, forums and the news media emphasize this on a daily basis.
When McCain asked Governor Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate, this divisiveness became even more obvious. Never before have I heard people ridiculing a candidate - and others who share her life experiences - for being a small town resident, for not attending the "right" college, for trying to balance family and career.
Today, as I looked at the map on politico.com that showed red, blue and swing states, it became clear to me how different are the parties and how different are the experiences of each American in those different states.
If you look at these political maps, something becomes evident. There are probably triple the number of states for McCain than for Obama. But those fewer states (leaning towards Obama) account for a far greater population figure. They are more metropolitan areas, where the residents have no idea what it's like to live in small towns.
When I was in school, we didn't just study the history of our own state. We studied all states. We had to memorize the capitals of each state, what natural resources that had and what crops they grew. We learned about the original founders of each state. Long before there was an internet to connect us, we were connected because we cared about each part of the United States. We knew that some parts had more small towns and some had more larger cities, but we didn't think either was better than the other.
Back then, we also studied the history of the world and we learned to understand other governments so we could have a better understanding and a better appreciation for the government we had.
We learned to be proud of our country. We learned every verse of the Star Spangled Banner, My Country Tis of Thee, and America the Beautiful. We learned to respect the flag, our symbol of freedom. We learned how to salute the flag, how to raise and lower it, and how to fold it.
I have been blessed to live in five different states. I lived in towns with populations of three thousand, six thousand, ten thousand and twenty-five thousand. And I have lived in bigger cities of Pittsburgh, Houston and Cincinnati. I spent a week in Dallas training for one position, and traveled to Denver for a conference for another. When I lived in small Florida towns, I was near Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando. When I lived in small Texas towns, I was first near Houston and later near Dallas/Ft. Worth. I have lived in the north and in the south, and at one point in my lifetime, I think I had relatives in 40 of the 50 states.
Not everyone has had that experience. And for as much time as people spend on the internet with online friends, those connections - one a person who has lived in New York City all of his life and the other a person who lives in a town with the population of 3,000 - don't often concentrate on what makes them different. They connect because they have specific interests - in writing, in sports, or whatever the forum presents. Then when a campaign like the current one presents itself, they find themselves rather surprised at the heat of the arguments for and against candidates. This year, they discovered their differences, and rather than embracing them, people have resorted to name-calling and ridicule for what is different.
I have always found it odd that one would stay in a big city on unemployment because of losing a job, be kicked off unemployment after not finding a job, then being bitter at the government for not taking better care of him. I happen to know that at this moment in time, if I traveled to any of those smaller towns I mentioned having lived in, I could get a job. At first glance, the big city slicker might not be impressed with the pay level that would certainly be less than what he earned before. But the cost of living would more than make up for any decrease in pay. And yet people stay in the big cities, where they were born and raised and where they are comfortable, waiting for the government to come up with a solution to their unemployment.
I never understood how a person could give up hope when his/her job was eliminated, when there are opportunities throughout the United States at different similar companies, or opportunities to change careers and find something else to do. Waiting on the government for answers only perpetuates hopelessness.
In small town America, things are different. People don't sit around as much waiting for things to happen. They make things happen. If there are no jobs, they try working for themselves in some capacity. Meanwhile, churches and friends will reach out to them during their time of need. That has been my experience.
People who have grown up in the northeast think that everyone who is someone will have attended the Ivy League schools. But in the rest of America, people are proud of their community colleges and of their state colleges, and know that both give at least adequate educations, and often superior and less costly ones.
We need to get past the small mindedness that lets us believe that the sun only rises where we are in Boston, or in Detroit or in San Francisco. We need to understand that the sun also rises and sets in the towns of Mineral Wells, Texas, in Jackson, Michigan, in Seminole, Florida, in Lake Jackson, Texas, and even in Wasilla, Alaska.
We need to remember that there is an entire country out there where people are hurting and needing help. But that help cannot come from only the government. That help and hope needs to come from us, individually and collectively.
On Wednesday night, Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay said that John McCain, "wants to encourage people to grow and the government to shrink. With the right leader, we will put country first too. We will be inspired to grow and we will want to encourage each other."
Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard said that John McCain would "unlock and unleash the potential and creativity of every American" leaving us "free and empowered to make our own choices."
Mitt Romney reminded us "America is strong because of its people, not the government." He said that John McCain would "preserve and promote opportunity" while liberals want to replace that opportunity with dependence on the government.
Mike Huckabee quoted Abraham Lincoln, "A government that can do everything for us can also take everything from us." He also said, "I'm not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me." He reminded us that, "John McCain is by far the most prepared, experienced and tested presidential candidate. Thoroughly tested."
Rudy Guiliani reminded us that, "We the people - the citizens of the United States - get to decide our next president ... not the media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else."
Of Obama, Guiliani said, "He won and has spent most of his time as a ‘celebrity senator.' No leadership or major legislation to speak of. His rise is remarkable in its own right - it's the kind of thing that could happen only in America. But he's never run a city, never run a state, never run a business. He's never had to lead people in crisis. This is not a personal attack ... it's a statement of fact - Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada. The choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John has been tested. Barack Obama has not. Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training."
Guiliani also provided one of the quotations that will be remembered from the convention, "Because ‘change' is not a destination ... just as ‘hope' is not a strategy."
The former Mayor of NYC ended his speech with these remarks, "And as we look to the future never let us forget that - when we are at our best - we are the party that expands freedom. We are the party that is willing to fight for freedom at home and around the world. We are the party that wants to expand individual freedom and economic freedom...because we believe that the secret of America's success is not central government, it is self-government. We are the prty that believes in giving workers the right to work. The party that believes parents should choose where their children go to school. And we are the party that believes unapologetically in America's essential greatness - that we are a shining city on the hill - a beacon of freedom that inspires people everywhere to reach for a better world."
The theme of the convention was American comes first, and I believe that Senator John McCain and Governor Palin will put America first. McCain has proven that - in his military career and as a Congressman and a Senator. Being a prisoner of war does not qualify him to be President. But it does give him a definition of freedom and of freedom lost that most of us will, hopefully, never view. And it gave him a purpose, a calling, that he has followed ever since.
The people who would have you believe that John McCain is just a clone of the current President are wrong. Studying McCain's political career tells a different story. Doing a Google search of "McCain's speeches" will show you some of his words as well as comments from the people who were none too pleased with them, and often those who were not pleased were the other politicians in Washington.
When Governor Palin spoke on Wednesday night, she said that there are different kinds of change and that you can have "change that promotes career or a career that promotes change." She said that McCain's career promoted change, and from everything I've read about him that is true.
When Senator McCain spoke, I was inspired. And that was his intent, obviously. He said that we need "a government that stands at our sides and fights for our future."
He said that he would use the veto power to get rid of pork barrel spending, and that he would "name names." I want that in a President. I want to know which politicians are trying to sneak their own interests into bills. I want to know which of our leaders are pushing for excess spending. He wants to cut government spending and to get rid of failed programs. Hooray for that! Everyone knows that there are programs that have failed, but that keep draining the federal budget.
McCain's proposal to help the unemployed is fantastic. Instead of despair over losing a job that will never be replaced and knowing that the unemployment will eventually run out, McCain's plan is this: Allow the person to take a job with less pay - temporarily - and let the government supplement that pay (to be more in line with what he/she was earning) IF and WHILE the person is being retrained for another position. That is a program I could stand behind. It makes so much sense. It offers hope for the future.
McCain wants to reward good teachers and to help the bad ones find other work. He wants our schools to be accountable to the students and parents, and not to the union. I love that!
John McCain does want to shake up Washington. He wants to redesign almost every government program - because they were originally designed before the end of the cold war and before today's technology. That makes sense!
He wants transparency and accountability in government. He wants to work with both parties and to see that the credit for successes goes to them.
He wants remain the servant he has always been. He wants to be that servant first, last and always.
McCain said that nothing brings more happiness than serving a cause greater than self. He asks that we all find a cause in which to fight and to help, so that we can experience that happiness as well. And so that we can become the country we once were, helping one another.
Our future President said, "My country saved me. I will fight for her as long as I draw breath, so help me God."
If there was ever a more sincere man, I have not seen him. The media has tried to analyze McCain's posture and body language, but it's hard to do that since he has a body that was injured and tortured in ways that we probably don't want to know.
My fellow Americans, John McCain is a man who will fight for us. He wants us to fight with him.
As I took notes as I listened to each speaker, as I listened to John McCain himself, and as I did some other research about his history in Washington, I realized one thing. We have to take him up on his offer NOW.
I don't expect that John McCain is going to die in the next four years, as some have considered a possibility. Not after seeing how young his 96-year-old mother looks and after reading what his doctors have said about his health.
But in another four or eight years, it WILL be too late to allow John McCain to serve in the way that our country needs TODAY and the way that the man is ready and willing to do.
This is not about party politics. This man can bring us together. We need to let him help heal our land.
Copyright © 2008 Marilyn Mackenzie
Wow. I ended up with a one star rating. Is my writing really that bad?