Saturday, October 25, 2008

Patriotism, by Ed Gorman

My friend Ed Gorman is a World War Two veteran, retired businessman, and long-time Democratic booster. He is a great guy who helped me out a lot when I was younger and needed a lot of helping out.

In his many years, he's seen many times good and bad. Ed's Veteran credentials are at least as strong as John McCain's, so when he decides to speak about patriotism, he's not wanting for experience putting his ideas into action. Here is a letter to the editor of my home town newspaper, the East Hampton Star, which Ed wrote and forwarded to me:

"Patriotism can be defined most simply as loyalty and love of one’s country and willingness to protect and preserve it for future generations. I do not think of America, as a certain area of mountains, rivers, fields and forests but as a set of long established principles modified as America has matured. Most Americans understand, accept and try to respect those principles even if they cannot readily articulate them.

Patriotism, therefore, implies a responsibility to the future.

We cannot know with certainty how a presidential candidate will manage the awesome burden that office imposes but it is our duty to look at past behavior for clues.

John McCain and Barack Obama have provided us with clues of unprecedented clarity by the choice each has made for his vice-president. Joe Biden, Obama’s choice, was a serious highly regarded presidential candidate of broad experience and proven capability. He is a sound and responsible choice capable of taking charge should something happen to the president.

Sarah Palin may prove to be a likable enough lady although her desperate last minute non-vetted selection was entirely political. The Republican Party could not afford the convention floor fight of Joe Lieberman, McCain’s preference.

More than most presidential candidates McCain, the oldest ever to run for that office, should have been particularly thoughtful about the future. It is frightening to think that a woman with Palin’s limited experience, high school education and questionable judgment could be only a geriatric heartbreak away from suddenly becoming the most powerful head of state in the world--if McCain were elected president.

What do we know about Sarah Palin’s judgment? She believes in the creationism fairy tale and approves teaching the widely discredited faux science called intelligent design. She acknowledges global warming but does not believe mankind is responsible. She is free to believe what she wants and as voters it is our responsibility to consider her judgment when we vote.

As both vice-president and a mother of five, her youngest requiring great extra attention plus a soon-to-be-grandchild what would be her priority? Will she neglect her demanding family responsibility? Will she neglect responsibility to her job? Can a working mom; can anybody really handle both?

But if McCain vetted her and knew all he needed to know it was irresponsible to settle for her. If she was not thoroughly vetted it was irresponsible to settle for her. Either way McCain is grossly irresponsible. Opting for Sarah Palin was McCain’s first executive action. How he made that snap decision is a terrifying insight into this complicated, confused and irresponsible man. He is scary.

What do we know about McCain’s judgment and intelligence? Although he now struggles to distance him self from George Bush he has consistently supported the Bush agenda as we watched in despair as Bush was destroying America. So much for McCain’s judgment.

What about McCain’s intelligence? The best evidence might be his record at the Naval Academy, which like West Point places a premium on academic achievement. Of the 899 graduates in McCain’s class he was 894--well within the bottom one percent of his class. We cannot afford another dim or flickering bulb in the White House

Am I saying that McCain is unpatriotic? Yes. He has made clear that political gain trumps duty and responsibility to America’s future. His overworked POW trump card is not acceptable. The stakes are much too high. He has created a very frightening future for America

To protect America’s future it is the duty of every responsible American to vote and to reject John McCain."

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