As I was reading the New York Times the past couple of days the thing that hit me the hardest was just how much we don’t know or maybe how much we don’t want to know, about not only the candidates, but the issues. Both Bob Herbert and Frank Rich made it very clear that we have been so focused on the silly stuff such as who is the biggest celebrity, the New Yorker magazine cover, the over investigated fist-bumping, the Hilton/Spears idiocy that we’re overlooking some of the crucial stuff. Is the garbage all we can think about or focus on when it comes to this election? What does this say about our "lofty ideals"?
We certainly hear and read plenty regarding the war and some international matters, but what about here at home? There are so many issues right here that desperately need to be addressed such as just how many Americans are out of work – more than the statistics show I’ll lay odds. The housing and mortgage crisis, the number of people without health insurance, the surging number of high school dropouts and the rise of violent crime in parts of the country. The infrastructure of this country is wobbling and it is an issue that desperately needs addressing.
Then there is the candidates themselves and while we know just about every gritty tidbit about Obama – we seem to be focusing mostly on the negatives. There are the worrisome thoughts about whether he can really close the deal with ordinary people – whoever they are. And in spite of all that has been written, reported, investigated, publicized, you still hear people saying, “Who is this guy?”
Well, how about taking a look at John McCain. Oh, we know all about his military record, his time in the Hanoi Hilton, but believe me there is a lot more that we don’t know , or haven’t paid any attention to because we’ve been too busy focusing on the color of Obama’s skin. People in this country would do well to start turning that microscope on to John McCain, who didn’t call for Rumsfeld to be fired, who didn’t begin criticizing the war plan until long after “Mission Accomplished.” He didn’t get around to going to New Orleans until six months after Katrina and even then didn’t express sharp criticism of the Bush Administration’s response to that calamity – at least not until this past April and on his own campaign trail. Then there is his embracing those of the “right wing’s agents of intolerance”, spending months courting them. There is also the matter of the many lobbyists involved in his campaign. And then there are his morals, has anyone really looked into his past? Believe me, he could teach John Edwards a few things. I don't care about the affairs, they're politicians with big egos and it surely isn't the first time, I do care about the lying. If they will lie about one thing they can and probably will lie about other things.
And what about the potential first ladies – we know every detail of Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis, her pay raises, her various statements about “whitey”, being “proud” etc. etc. etc. But how much attention do we pay to Cindy McCain?
Some Republicans who do know about McCain and have serious doubts about him and his ability to lead are switching to Obama. Maybe it’s time for those of us who are truly concerned about the future of our country to spend more time taking a long look at just who John McCain really is and whether he is capable of leading this country. Maybe it’s time to take the microscope off Obama for a little while and turn our focus to the other candidate and the issues that desperately need to be addressed here at home.