Having served 3 years in the US Army, one thing that came out of that experience was a better understanding of why millions of Americans, past and present, have served, sacrificed, and given their lives for a cause greater than themselves.
I learned a greater appreciation for the freedoms of choice and speech that allow for the blending of diverse and opposing ideologies into the laws, direction, and character of our country. I believe in giving voice to differing schools of thought and letting their ideas and values be weighed against each other through the political process. America needs the balance of conservatives, libertarians, liberals and all the variations in between. Without that balance, our government’s integrity would be greatly diminished and would not serve its people or the rest of the world well.
Lately, I am disgusted by the deterioration of honor in our political process. People and groups are dedicated to winning at any cost, and they abuse their freedom of speech without respect to the American values of ideological debate, fairness, and truth. Ads, flyers, and emails circulate with edited sound bytes, quotes out of context, bigotry, lies, and distortions, all trying to brainwash voters away from opposition candidates.
These tactics are patently un-American and it is shameful that so many in this country are stooping to this behavior while deluding themselves that it is patriotic. If our political leaders are chosen based on lies, distortions, ignorance, and prejudice, then nothing of any worth is gained and our country and the world is ill served. These tactics show no respect for America’s political heritage, and they dishonor the sacrifice of so many who served to keep our country and our elections free and fair.
John McCain’s patriotism and military service were attacked by a typical smear campaign during the 2000 primaries. Being a victim of those attacks and an honorable man, I believe he will try to keep the 2008 campaign focused on his ideology and vision and Barack Obama will try to do the same. If these 2 worthy opponents can attempt to bring some respect, and honor back into the process, can’t we follow their example?
If you write or forward a political email, ask yourself if it is promoting a positive representation of your political views and the candidate who best represents you. If so, then you are acting in the best interests of your party and your country. If that email is just intended to spew smears, lies, and distortions about the opposition, and you still choose to send it, then you need to question your motives, your patriotism, and whether you are upholding the values of the millions of Americans who made great sacrifices to preserve your freedoms of speech and choice.