During this entire campaign season...(all 18 months of it now)...I've been reluctant to get on board with either candidate running for our country's highest office. Like many Americans, I have been undecided. With both Obama & McCain, there are things to like and dislike about both candidates, so much so, that it has kept me straddling the fence. For quite awhile I'd begin to wonder if in fact America would be able to make a decision, myself included. In fact, I'd even contemplated briefly, not voting in this election. So many factors have played into this year's election. This has undoubtedly been the most controversial and bizarre (and perhaps longest) election year in the history of America.
When John McCain announced he had chosen a woman as his running mate less than a week ago, again, like many Americans I had never heard of Sarah Palin, nor could I have told you who she was if asked. My first thought was this was a political 'in your face' maneuver backlash at Obama as if to say, "If you won't pick a woman running mate, then I will."
Once the world was introduced to Sarah Palin, as the week unfolded, the media had their heyday with Governor Palin when she announced that her 17 year old daughter, Bristol, was 5 months pregnant. The media could not take Mrs. Palin at her word and leave it at that. They attempted to not only sensationalize the story in every possible way, but also spent countless hours working round the clock to try and uncover any possible spec of dirt on her and expose it for all the world to see. The entire media storm was enough to leave Americans thinking, "What was Senator McCain thinking?" Not me, because you see, I was simply amazed at how quickly once again Louisiana was forgotten because there was 'some other story' making headlines. The media once again proved that taking the low road was the way to go. I guess once the Louisiana storm was 'over', the media decided it needed to create a little storm of its own.
All these previous months of wondering and mulling over the facts, the smut, and the inbetween on both these candidates, finally led me to the realization that the tides were beginning to turn in one candidate's favor. At last!!
Last weekend when Hurricane Gustav hit LA, I saw leadership being exhibited. One thing that Americans want most in a candidate is proof that he can lead our country in crisis. If there was ever a better opportunity to show our country who could be the best leader, Hurricane Gustav provided such a chance. John McCain wasted no time in appearing on television before millions of viewers and announcing that the opening to the Republican National Convention would be suspended until further notice so the country could 'take off their political hats & put on their American hats'. He put our country first before any other order of business. And he got down to business. He had his campaign staffers organize a huge phone bank that was manned by numerous volunteers asking for and receiving donations for the hurricane victims. He moved quickly to go to Louisiana to see the aftermath and spent time, despite his busy schedule to help prepare care packages for those in need. John McCain acted like a leader and he also acted like a fellow citizen. He took charge and took the liberty to do whatever it took to ensure America was well taken care of. He understood what was more important and didn't mind rolling his sleeves up and getting his hands dirty. He acted in a manner in which Americans want in a President. We want someone in office that isn't afraid to get their hands dirty if that's what it takes to do what is right and just for our country.
Senator Obama on the other hand was also shown on television in front of millions of viewers. He was shown being interviewed by the press about his reaction to Hurricane Gustav. He was shown being asked what his plans were to do about it. He was shown telling the press that 'we are going to wait and see what is needed before we act'. (I had to question if our country faced a crisis, would he 'wait & see' before he acted, or would he be courageous enough to make a decision, stick to it, and act on it!). Initially when I heard Obama's remarks I thought to myself, "Okay, I can see & understand that. That makes sense." But then a day later, he was interviewed by Anderson Cooper during Anderson Cooper 360 and was asked if he was planning to go to Louisiana to access the damage and see where his help could be utilized. Obama's answer was he had discussed this with his campaign and they felt that instead of going to Louisiana and running the risk of police & fire personnel being pulled away to aid him with Secret Service duties to ward off possible photo ops, that they would refrain from going to avoid that and allow them to do their jobs during this critical time. I found this to be extremely arrogant. I would think at a time like this , the people of Louisiana have far greater things on their minds to deal with and think about than the possibility of getting a photo op with Senator Obama. I highly doubt many took their cameras with them when they were placed under mandatory evacuation. And again, he eluded to his earlier explanation that his campaign would wait to see what was actually needed and that there was a request on his website for his supporters to donate money towards the cause. What this said to me was instead of Obama being willing to do whatever it took for our country during this crisis, he was relying on his supporters to do the job for him.
And then there was Sarah Palin giving her acceptance speech tonight in the face of the media who has judged her, chastized her, scorned her, and rebuked her these last few days for being a woman, a mother of 5, a mother of a special needs child, a person who holds the highest office in the State of Alaska and has a 17 yr old pregnant daughter. Her morals, values, and convictions have all been critiqued by the media. She's been put on trial, if you will, all because there are those that are appalled at the idea that a woman can hold the next highest office in our country. Despite what she & her family have had to deal with over these last few days, Sarah Palin, showed everyone tonight that she is indeed a force to be reckoned with. She's a gutsy straight talker, a straight shooter and is not intimidated by anyone. She didn't have any problem giving the media a lashing without concern for how it would make her look tomorrow. She showed America why she's America's most popular govenor. She's tough and after hearing what she had to say, I had no doubt that she means business. Maybe its because I'm a woman and understand as only women can when it comes to standing our ground. But then when you think about it, most women do mean business.
I've often been a believer in the fact that the one thing Washington has always lacked is a woman with backbone who wouldn't take any junk and without fail could put all the Washington politicians regardless of their party affiliation in their respective place. Sarah Palin is such a woman. I'm glad she was a virtual unknown less than a week ago, because that is the kind of person we need in Washington. The same ole thing that has existed for decades now has been the result of our country electing the very politicians who have been in Washington and all they know are what they have always known. And that is why it has to stop. So be it if it takes a woman to do it. If elected, Sarah Palin, will make history, and more importantly, she will forever change the way things are handled in Washington.
With that said, John McCain is no pushover either. He's also never been afraid to stand up for what he believes in. I believe he will not only fight for Americans but he will make darn sure that America never has a fight on its hands under his watch.
If we needed a preview of what we can expect from Senator's John McCain and Barrack Obama as our country's top leader, I think we got a real taste of what's to come last weekend. The way I see it, Hurricane Gustav was the 'perfect storm' that didn't allow for any dress rehearsals or time to draft eloquent speeches. It was a real live situation and both Senators showed us how they would handle crisis in our country.
So...I have to admit, in these last few days I can finally say with clarity and certainty that I have made my decision. It was a long time coming and for a moment I began to wonder if I would ever be able to make my choice. As far as I'm concerned, the past 18 months have meant absolutely nothing, because in the course of a brief week, by demonstration of actions over words, I was able to determine who would be the best choice for the United States of America.
And that is why I will throw my support from here on out behind John McCain & Sarah Palin and come November 4th they will most definitely have my vote!!