Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

McCain's understanding of the world

John McCain is no Barack Obama. He's not photogenic. He's not a spectacular speaker. His war injuries make him look robotic at times.

And from a purely superficial standpoint, I worry a little bit that too many Americans might make their decisions about the presidency as if it's a beauty contest, instead of looking at the lives and listening to the hearts of the men who want to be the 44th president of the United States.

But I hope there was at least one undecided voter out there tonight who heard John McCain's heart. I hope they heard loud and clear that John McCain has a clear understanding of the world, an understanding garnered by years in the military, years in the government and -- most importantly -- years of watching what war can do to a family, a community and a country:

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn't do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don't. I know how to secure the peace.

My friends, when I was 5 years old, a car pulled up in front of our house. A Navy officer rolled down the window and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. I rarely saw my father again for four years. My grandfather came home from that same war exhausted from the burdens he had borne and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home with me.

I hate war. It's terrible beyond imagination.

I'm running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of our ideals -- to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

Do you get it? John McCain would keep us out of war if it was at all possible, because he understands the costs of war, but he also understands that war is sometimes necessary to sustain the freedoms that most of us take for granted.

Barack Obama would keep us out of war regardless of the situation, because he doesn't understand the impacts of restraining us from a war we must fight. He believes all war is bad, but has no basis for judging the competing costs of aggression or pacifism.

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