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Why am I supporting McCain? An open letter to my friend and whomever else

October 23, 2008

First of all, thank you, H., for dropping the A-bomb, as in Accountability, as in why am I supporting McCain/Palin? After all, as you benignly observe, I don’t approve of the bailout or other things they consider essential to the vitality of the republic. In fact, it’s true that I am at odds with most of what Senator McCain has represented over the past eight years of his tireless candidacies. I used to call him “Trigger-Lock Jock.”

I appreciate your question because you know me well enough to expect me to invoke my customary mantra, “I never explain anything.” Profound as it sounds, I kiped it from Mary Poppins. But, senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

As long as I live in a constitutional republic that relies on the votes of its citizens for the selection of a President, I will vote for someone who is running for President.

I think it’s stupid to vote for someone who is not running; there is enough derision inherent in the process given who is. Not voting is not a statement; it’s a concession to lassitude, affirming the utter despair of my fellow citizens to which I refuse to subscribe, at least for now.

I don’t see the election as a dilemma quite like two evils of which the moral choice is to choose neither. I don’t see it as a moral choice. I see it as a civic obligation. From there, we pray for the mercy of moral leadership.

I’m not a diehard partisan. I’m likely to vote for some Democrats at my State and local levels. I tend to vote Republican more often than not, but I vote for competence and whatever I can discern as uprightness.

I think McCain has fortitude and a misguided but benign heart of a patriot. I think a President should be a patriot. I think Palin is a patriot and a competent executive sufficient to the task to which she is called. McCain was not on my shortest list in this past or any past primary. I’m afraid to say how little I think of Obama because I worry that the Secret Service will show up at my door, haul me off, and make my Cat a ward of the state.

Vic noticed a job announcement for a U.S. staff attorney position in Pago Pago, American Samoa, and asked me whether he should apply. I have been suggesting lately that we might want to live in a remote location for a while: maybe four, perhaps eight years. The only reason we didn’t follow up seriously on the possibility is the animal quarantine issue. We have 10 Grand and 10 years invested in said Cat. He wouldn’t survive the quarantine in Samoa.

So Pago Pago’s out. Besides, we’re ones to pray for perseverance in trial, not deliverance from it. We pray for grateful hearts, mindful that we deserve far worse than anything this election will deliver.

Okay, voting for them is one thing; publicly supporting them is another. Why would I do that? Zeal is part of the blood sport of American politics. It’s encoded in my DNA. I don’t need to win, I hate to lose, but I do engage. That said, I’ve no delusion that I’m influential.

As you know, I supported Ron Paul until his withdrawal from the race. I am perturbed that he has called on third-party candidates, all of whom are at significant disparity with his principles, to do everything possible to undermine the race between the actual candidates. We’ve held our primaries, caucuses, and conventions; we have our candidates. I think we need to stick with the rules; otherwise, there can be no race, and we’ve no way to lay hold of the prize. The prize is the preservation of our principles.

But the republic has devolved to the point where the American people want nothing to do with principles. They would rather be serfs than take the consequences of their actions as free men. It’s bread and circus time: they want Saturday Night Live and Economic Stimulus Plan checks forever.

Our banks, medical care, and marketplace are all nationalized. We can still feel like voluntary traders, we can still pretend that the government is a more suitable guardian against moral hazard than the voluntary market interactions of rational individuals. I agree that “that government is best which governs the least,” but it’s too late for that. Neither McCain nor Obama, nor any likely successor, is shooting for governing the least.

So it comes down to who is more likely to slow down the inevitable. Gridlock is our only hope. McCain is more likely than Obama to be in a constant state of discord with Congress. “Rhapsody for Pelosi and Obama” is a distasteful tune. So I support what I can to oppose what I must.

Does that answer your good and very fair question?

One Comment
  1. October 23, 2008 1:59 pm

    New Calendonia’s out too. I just checked.

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