As I have put forward, the Toothpick Test is all about authenticity.
In far too many cases, the only options the American people have had for high elected offices have been people we all know to be out of touch and completely political animals.
Ad hominem attacks in the media on Joe the Plumber, the mere lowly human person who dared to ask a question of a man running for public office, have shown us how very much we are disdained by the media and by the candidates whose very salary We The People pay. An attack on Joe the Plumber is an attack on you and on me.
We have seen men like McCain who came through very difficult challenges early in life yet went on to celebrate what makes this country great through his work. We now know what it is to strongly consider electing a man who was born to a teenage mother. We have considered and elected for the highest office people from a broad range of circumstances early in life, be it very poor or very wealthy. In all circumstances, there have been various factors which color our perceptions of the candidates. Perhaps we haven't always made the best choice, but we, as a nation, live to have that argument all over again and to fight our battles in the arena of ideas again in one or two or four more years.
As to McCain, his actions when imprisoned are nothing less than remarkable, and yet, I have no doubt that he is of the same stiff moral fiber that has been the common thread in Americans that courses from today and back through the men who stood, fought and died in the belief in the possibility of a land of freedom and opportunity. McCain proved his toothpick-worthiness the first time he walked upright from a room of torture and scraped up the backbone to wink at a fellow prisoner. I may not agree with all his ideas and actions and bills he has put forward as senator, but he has proven he is a man of integrity.
In comparison, Obama is just words, just speeches. Obama has no record on which to run. Of the votes in the US Senate which he actually attended, he took the cop-out option of voting "present" in more than one hundred instances. What about the people who elected him to represent them? Doesn't he owe them their money back? If a man does not take his task in the Senate seriously, then how is he to be trusted to represent the entire nation in the highest office of our land? Obama has had a free ride from the press, and the specious nature of his background has gone largely unquestioned. Obama doesn't know what it is to be tortured, and yet compare the gesture of McCain's wink and stiff-upper-lip to the appearance that Obama has publicly flipped-off political opponents, and tell me who is a class act? Obama showed not the least shred of humility, never telling people "please do not call me the Messiah." And by the way, who would Jesus flip off? When people in the media have wrung hands in recent days and said the wrong outcome of this election would yield riots, he's not shown the least bit of leadership. A true leader would ask for calm and for dignity and for respect for this great American system. At every juncture Obama could show true leadership and win genuine respect, he has failed. And where is his family? We don't hear from a single member of extended family to support him? If you had a complete bastard relative running for national office, and one who made a habit of trying to destroy ordinary people who question him - would you keep your mouth shut, too? I'll bet you would. The absence of any extended family of Obama speaks volumes.
Back to the idea of authenticity-- why was the idea of Aticus Finch so appealing to readers? Because Aticus walking down the street was the same man when he was at home or was at work. He was genuine, authentic. I think we are tired of only having the option of electing people who have a glossed-on veneer of Ivy-league and too-rehearsed Hollywood styling, antiseptic and utterly removed from the experience of writing the checks to pay the light bill and mortgage and making sure the oil has been changed in the car and the myriad things that go into a normal and healthy life. Joe the Plumber knows what it is to be abused by the media, and we need to give great thought to the news organizations we support, because they so obviously disdain the ordinary person. Cast your mind back to the founding fathers-- how much time do you think they spent sitting around and talking about what low-brow dirtbags the small farmers were who lived on the edge of the wilderness? I'm betting not much. We need to rethink decency and standards, and insist that our government and media live up to those very attainable standards.
Yes, McCain is our toothpick candidate here, but I'll tell you who the real winners of this election are: you and me because we have Sarah Palin, and Sarah Palin because she has us. We have in Mrs. Palin a normal, down-to-earth person who has stepped forward and dared to say they would do their very best and uphold their own high principles while representing the people who hired her. Sarah has stepped into other high-pressure situations and refused to join the good old boy network just because that's the way things have always been done. Sarah has the opportunity to fulfill the idea I've always had that a decent person can navigate those choppy waters and hold their fellow leaders to a higher standard. The founding fathers intended that the highest offices of our Nation would be filled by people who were elected to serve for one or two terms in service to our country. The appearance of Sarah Palin in this field of candidates may signal a return to the principles that are the plinth on which our government stands. Maybe Sarah will not be in our vice president tomorrow. But I'll bet you a dollar she'll be our president in four years, and I'm calling that a win-win.
Of course, she's SO much cuter in person, but at least she looks less like Harry Potter than she did when I first started this drawing. Yes, I think McCain will win. Thanks so much for reading and God bless America.