CHARACTER—IT’S ALL ABOUT CHARACTER
By Andy Weddington
Monday, 03 November 2008
It cannot be serendipitous that “president” and “character” are 9 letter words—arguably, synonymous words.
Character matters—it really matters—it really, really matters.
Character is why John McCain should be elected the 44th President of the United States of America.
Absence of character is why Barak Obama is unfit to ever be elected to the presidency—of anything.
Voters need ask only one simple question tomorrow: Which candidate is a man of true character?
Rod Serling (1924-1975), the imaginative brains and front man for the unnerving television series “TheTwilight Zone” that aired 1959-1964, must be shaking his head in frustration and saying “why didn’t I think of that?” An episode, and possibly a four year series, centered on an American presidential candidate, void of any qualifications, who mesmerizes the masses and is on the verge of winning the most powerful political office in the world. But before his head quits shaking, Serling concedes and answers his own rhetorical question knowing that reality is often times far more frightening than any fiction a genius could conjure up.
Tomorrow the United States of America—the most powerful democratic republic on the face of the earth; ever—faces one of the most important presidential elections in its short history. Certainly in our lifetime we will not likely again face a decision of this magnitude. The man ‘we the people’ elect tomorrow will inherit an office burdened with incredible responsibility, unimaginable pressures, and unforeseen challenges that come from every quadrant of the globe—some at 3:00am. We had better put the right man in the White House or all indicators are we are going to pay and pay dearly—a few thousand greenbacks down the drain in the stock market will seem a pittance. Count on it. Don’t take my word for it—ask Joe Biden. Last week his mouth, yet again, engaged before his brain and predicted Obama (not the new president), if elected, would be tested. Old Joe just can’t help himself; he knows Obama is not fit to be president. Pay attention—he’s trying to tell us something. It should surprise no one if we learned that Putin, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Kim, and Bin Laden (with others chomping at the bit for a seat at the table) are presently engaged in a high stakes online poker game to see who gets to throw the first curve ball if Obama wins. And it’s not a winner-take-all game. The winner merely gets to pitch first. As I sit here mentally shaping this article’s content, I remain perplexed, in fact, completely dumbfounded, as to how the junior senator from Illinois, Barak Obama, has managed to position himself as the favored candidate—at least by pollsters and major media—to win the Oval Office. I have wondered for months and months, what do Obama supporters see in him? I, like many, do not like what I see—at all. Am I missing something? I don’t think so. Fingers are pointing at the liberal left and the blatant Obama-leaning mainstream media as the culprits. But, that finger-pointing assumes a huge portion of the country’s citizens do not have a brain and are incapable of independent, rational thought. Perhaps that’s true. If it is true, only one word comes to mind: scary. But, I am guardedly optimistic the vast majority of our countrymen take their privilege and civic duty to vote seriously and, come Tuesday, will think through their decision carefully.
There is much talk and heated debate on the airways and in print media about the importance of experience to lead our nation. This candidate has done this and that…he’s done this but not that…she has never done such and such or this and that…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But, is experience really the most important variable we want in our leadership—especially our nation’s highest elective office? Is it possible for anyone to really have the full scope of experience (whatever that is) to assume the presidency of the United States? Such a requirement is ridiculous. It’s absurd. No one can have done everything. It is simply not possible.
What is not ridiculous or absurd to expect—even demand—is that our president be of sound character. Character—not experience—is the foremost trait required of a leader—any leader. And every true leader knows it. Need any more proof than the catastrophic financial mess our country is in this very moment? A mess brought about by greedy and immoral business and government “leaders” that we now know, albeit too late, are without character? Character, simply defined, is moral excellence. Moral excellence—doing what is right, even in the absence of a witness—is the heart of good, sound decision-making. And, good decision-making from our president is a fundamental must. Good decisions are the foundation for what keeps us safe—a president’s foremost responsibility—and what keeps us moving forward—socially, economically, and yes, even militarily—which keeps us safe.
Where does character—moral excellence—come from? It starts at home and at a very early age. My parents taught me (and my siblings) right from wrong. Their behavior was exemplary making for crystal clear standards and uncompromising expectations. I learned right from wrong and, on occasion, wrong was made unmistakably clear through punishment; make that disciplinary techniques, that would not meet today’s politically correct acid test. Outside the home, the Catholic Church (and school) had a hand in developing my character. So, whatever misdeeds may have slipped by Mom and Dad—and not many did—the nuns, who God blessed with eyes in the back of their heads, tended to business. And if by some rare stroke of good luck something escaped Mom and Dad and the nuns’ detection, Monsignor O’Brien was always on standby with a stern look but sympathetic ear and the power of penance to clear the conscious. The corrective outcome of a Hail Mary or two and a few Our Fathers was far less uncomfortable than the home-brewed remedies and creative measures employed by the nuns. After leaving home, more than 26 years of commissioned service in the U.S. Marine Corps continued to test, forge, and set my character. The core values—Honor, Courage, and Commitment—were and remain the guiding principles for moral excellence expected by and demanded of United States Marines. Everything Marine originates from the core values. Everything. And, by the way, these same core values are the standard for moral excellence by those who wear the uniform of the U.S. Navy. John McCain, as it should be common knowledge by now, served a career in the Navy including a five year stint of involuntary duty—a true ashore hardship tour—in a North Vietnam POW rat hole that tested his character—daily. To the chagrin of his captors, John McCain did not just pass the character test—he aced it—with flying colors—the red, white, and blue of our stars and stripes.
Character has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with race, gender, religious beliefs, socio-economic status, or political party affiliation. A wealthy businessman or even a presidential candidate may be void of character while that of a homeless citizen, who claims Public Park bench 21 in Toledo, Ohio his legal residence, is impeccable. We may leap to erroneous conclusions based on appearance and dress but it is not possible to judge one’s character by looks, clothes worn, or where one resides. Yet it is possible to judge one’s character by their decision-making and behavior. Barak Obama’s decision-making and behavior is disturbing—very disturbing. Nauseating may be a better word. He has yet to be completely candid and honest about his relationships, and lengthy ones at that, with unrepentant terrorists, America haters, and criminal businessmen. His powerful supporters have given these despicable people little more than a casual, disinterested glance—if that much of a look. Why? When pressed by responsible reporters who believe the American people have the right to know truth and fact before voting, Obama offers an aw shucks chuckle, a hand wave off, and discounts the relationships—even if spanning well over a decade—as mere acquaintances, at best. Really? That’s his story and he’s sticking to it though there is ample evidence to prove otherwise. Absence of character aside, Obama is nothing more than a polished shell endowed with some charisma and a knack for enthralling hyped up crowds with cleverly crafted, eloquent speeches. He is a consummate example of form over substance. He skillfully distracts the public’s attention away from his huge flaw—no character—and focuses them on something else—at the moment, the economy and their individual wallets, pocketbooks, and bank accounts. As if money is the most important thing in the world. Yes, the economy is important—very important. But, the presidency is so much, much more than the economy. The economy will get better whether Obama is in office or not. What will not get better is his absence of character—it is not a temporary illness. Obama is plagued with an incurable, progressive disease, acquired during childhood. Obama is what he is—a slick talking con man. A con man standing square in the spotlight starring in a real-world episode of “The Twilight Zone”—to be played out tomorrow. It would be comical if it were not reality and damn frightening. Sorry, Rod, fiction takes back seat again.
Whether we will live in “The Twilight Zone” after tomorrow rests completely in the hands of the citizenry. John McCain and Sarah Palin have proven—repeatedly—they have character. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are characters. There is a huge difference. Elect a man of character—a leader. Vote John McCain for president.