Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Measure of a Man

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands on moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The great difference between one person and another is how he takes hold and uses his first chance, and how he takes his fall if it scored against him. - Thomas Hughes

Okay, yes, I got out my "positive quotations" book today. But I knew there would be something apropos of the godawful situation with the Coleman/Franken election.

I have met Norm Coleman and on many occasions have heard him speak. This is a man with a good heart, a man with integtrity, and one who conducts himself with decorum in adverse situations.

Contrast him with Al Franken, who is angry, bitter, rude, selfish and boorish. I could go on, but you get the point. And when I saw him on TV this morning saying he demands a recount and that "the Obama admistration and I have received reports of irregularities," my first thought was, how classless and predictable.

We should have known this man couldn't accept defeat with dignity. Meanwhile, Coleman has grasped his victory with humility and grace.

"The Measure of a Man..." That's what I think of when I look at Al Franken. I just want to shake him and say, "Man up and stop whining. For once in your life, show some integrity!"

I can't do that, but I just wish he would get an epiphany and stop this silliness. Just let it go Al, let it go. But he won't. That's not who he is.

That's why we have to hope and pray that Norm's victory sticks. I don't trust the "Franken Machine" not to try to steal this election. And I can't bear the thought of sending that despicable man to the Senate.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The difficulties of life are intended to makes us better, not bitter. - Anon

Yesterday, and for the many months prior, I felt that an Obama win would be devestating to our country. I believed it so strongly that I volunteered and called voters, wrote letters--some published and some not--and did everything I could to make sure McCain came out on top.

Yesterday, while driving my son to school, he asked, "So what's so bad about Obama winning?" This is a 16-year-old kid who has forgotten more about American history than I ever knew, who teaches me something new every day, and who is deep into the subject matter of his AP Euro class, in which, lately, the discussion has turned to this election. I was tired and made a big mistake.

I had just heard an economist on TV say the ideas Obama has for the economy are a modern-day version of what Hoover did at the beginning of the depression that prolonged it for another 6 years (raising taxes on the "wealthy," etc.). He also said that what Obama has in mind for this economy will bankrupt the next two generations. They will not know prosperity. In a moment of, I don't know, insanity, I repeated this to my son.

As the day went on, and I was volunteering, and buying champagne for the celebration of my candidates' winning their elections, a thought crept into my mind that if Obama pulled it off and won, I had just given my son a picture of his future similar to the one I remember was given to my generation in the eighties: you have no future, so why bother. Russia's going to nuke us anyway, so party now before the world ends. Still, I tried not to think negatively, and focused on a McCain win.

As we all know, it didn't happen. I was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch about the time the talking heads declared that a McCain win was a mathmatical impossiblity. I awoke to President Elect Obama giving his acceptance speech.

The house was dark, and I thought everyone had gone to bed. As I started up the stairs, I noticed my boy, sitting in the dark, watching Obama speak. I went and put my arm around him to watch the historic moment with him. We saw the faces of the African American people, with tears streaming down their faces as Obama spoke. Believe it or not, the sight of Reverand Jesse Jackson, a man whom I don't respect, with tears running down his cheeks, looking like an old man who had just seen something he never thought he would see in his lifetime, opened my heart.

This morning on the way to school, I told my son that even though we didn't want Obama to win, he is going to be our president and we must respect that. I told him that we can't be bitter about something that clearly means so much to so many. All we can do is pray for him, I guess. My son agreed.

He has told me that he feels an Obama administration will echo the Carter administration, and he'll be gone in four years after everyone gets fed up with him running the country into the ground and ruining our foreign policy, and they will throw him out of office.

That was yesterday. Today we should focus on what electing the first black president means to this country. Tomorrow, we shouldn't make the mistake I did of letting our young people think there is no hope. That kind of message can destroy a young life. And tomorrow, we must stand behind Obama and pray that he makes the right decisions for our great country.

After that, he's fair game. But I'll keep the kids out of it.