Why I voted for John McCain today
I was happy to do so.
I was less happy about taking all four of my children to the polls, but I gave them
threats a pep talk about surprising the adults there by being a blessing to them, enabling them in what they were there to do — vote — which is very important, by keeping their entire bodies quiet.
But, I needn’t have worried; the entire affair took about five minutes, because there was no line. And, they were complimented by an adult regarding their behavior. 😀
I find myself troubled, though, because I have been challenged by some folks regarding my candidate of choice, John McCain.
I don’t like to be challenged. I don’t like to be tested. I realize that it’s important, sometimes, to submit to that, but there’s a deep part of me that wants people to realize that I have given so much thought to the issue — whatever the issue is — and my intentions are good. ~sigh~ (02/07/08 — ETA: For me, not liking to be challenged is based on my high desire to be trusted. Not to simply pan it off on personality, but it’s a standard trait among Meyers-Briggs’ ISTJs, which I am. I have a NEED to be trusted, and it is personally wounding to me when people don’t trust me, because I’m utterly sincere. I take it as an affront — more than I should — when people don’t trust me. It’s not about being afraid that I might be wrong.)
My support of McCain has been long-standing. I voted for him in the primaries in 2000. I’m live in Arizona, from where he’s been an outstanding U.S. Congressman for more than 25 years.
I have though, been having some internal musings about the whole situation, especially since most Christians, and certainly most Christian homeschoolers, support Huckabee. Why do I support McCain? Is he the most conservative? No. Do I agree with all of his voting decisions and public stances? No. But, still, I support him.
I have come to the realization that I’m not as conservative as I once was. I have also come to the realization that my hopes for a president lie not just in what he espouses, but in his leadership abilities. The ability to lead well is a HUGE issue for me. Also, I confess that I am more pragmatic about my choice of Presidents than I used to be. I once thought pragmatism was a dirty word. I thought a pragmatist meant someone who didn’t have the courage of — nor, the proper foundations for — their convictions.
So, how did I get from being ultra-conservative to where I am now? It’s a long story, which includes finding out — much to my absolute horror — that a high school boyfriend, who was a golden boy of the ultra-conservative think-tank/lecture group I attended, The Arizona Breakfast Club, and also president of the Young Republicans at Arizona State University, was secretly a white supremacist who viewed the Holocaust as a lie. Matt couldn’t understand why I broke up with him. Duh. I also came to the realization that most ultra-conservatives are totally fear-based (much like most ultra-liberals are guilt-based). I don’t want to live a fearful life.
The most pivotal point in my change of outlook happened after I got married.
I quickly saw that being unbending in my stances — no matter what the topic — was often based in selfishness, arrogance, a lack of concern about others, cold-heartedness, self-righteousness, an unwillingness to hear anyone else’s opinion, and more ruthless and unkind character qualities. It became abundantly clear to me that the trust of my husband, and peace in our home, most often trumped my “need” to be right. Thus, I launched on my slow-moving journey towards valuing others at least as much as I do myself, and understanding that others’ opinions and thoughts could actually be good — even when they didn’t agree with mine. And, as a matter of fact, just because I valued something as important didn’t mean that it should be important to everyone else.
In other words, I learned that, just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t make them wrong.
I’m NOT saying, “It’s all relative.” I don’t believe that. There are definitely areas of sin, and there are definitely areas of black and white. But, beyond that, there’s a whole lot of grey area shaded with opinion, translation, personal values, personality, personal history, personal convictions… and on and on.
I’m tellin’ ya, if I hadn’t been
hit over the head with a sledgehammer learned that, I would be divorced, and much the worse for it. I’d probably hate the Body of Christ, and have virtually no respect nor value for authority of any kind. I’d probably be a childless hermit, and I’m not kidding. I’d probably live five miles up a dirt road in the wild hills somewhere, contentedly (but not so happily) by myself, fighting mental illness.
All that to say, my support of McCain is somewhat pragmatic, and I don’t think that’s bad. For me, it’s a triumph.
And, I confess, the issue with which most conservatives take offense with — the McCain-Feingold bill — I really don’t understand. I mean, literally. I have virtually no idea what that bill is about, and all its many ramifications, because it just wasn’t that important to me at the time. I do know that I receive fewer mailers from both pro-life (and other conservative interests) and pro-union (and other liberal interests) during election time, and I think that’s an outgrowth of the McCain-Feingold bill.
If you’re still reading, you may want to check out this article, describing Bob Dole’s defense of John McCain, in a fairly terse letter to Rush Limbaugh, who, along with other conservative pundits and analysts, aren’t big fans of McCain. One bit was of particular interest to me:
As a P.S., Dole adds a table from the Senate Library showing that McCain’s voting record — as measured by support for the president — mirrored that of the ultra- conservative former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).
Jesse Helms, folks. His voting record mirrors Jesse Helms. I’ve seen the same said of McCain’s record and that of Fred Thompson, too, also a bastion in the conservative front.
I realize that he is not as conservative as some. But neither is he as liberal as perceived by some others. Republicans are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, IMO, when they vociferate against McCain. Even if he’s “soft” on issues that some of us would rather he’d be hard on, he’s still, overall, had a very strong conservative record over the entire course of his political career.
In Arizona, he has a 19% disapproval rating, and that’s among Democrats *and* Republicans. The most conservative don’t approve (for reasons that seem ridiculous to me), and for more understandable reasons, the most liberal don’t approve. But other than that, by those who know him best, he has had a STRONG approval rating since he took national office in 1982. For 25+ years, he has proven himself as a strong leader who can get the job done. He runs his mouth, he ruffles feathers, he’s unafraid to have friends who think/believe differently than he does. But he’s a GOOD statesman. Regardless of what the most extreme would accuse him of, or hold against him, he has been a fantastic Congressman.
There are things that I’d rather he’d not espouse. I wish he was vocally a little more supportive of 2nd ammendment issues (though his voting record shows him to be pro-gun). I don’t think amnesty is the way to go (though I’m not incredibly opposed to it). I wish his economic policy was a little more clear. I’d like to know where he stands on US sovereignty issues (though, from his military and POW history, I can’t imagine him supporting any sort of North American Union or anything like that, but from what I can find, he hasn’t been really vocal about his beliefs on the matter). He does support the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, though why he felt differently for so long is beyond me. I also wish he was younger, but, oh, well.
I like his sense of humor. I like that he’s unafraid to speak his mind. I like that he’s tough. I value the fact that all seven of his kids have a good relationship with him; to me, that speaks volumes. It bothers me that he’s on his 2nd marriage, but at least he’s been married to Cindy for nearly 28 years.
I think his is the face that should be turned to the world, saying, “We are Americans. We believe strongly in some really significant things, and we’re willing to back it up, but if you have some disagreements, I’ll probably listen to you. Some areas are non-negotiables, but I am interested in hearing you out.” Unlike Bush, he’s at least willing to listen to (most) others who don’t agree with him. AND, unlike Bush, he’s not really a “damn the torpedoes” kind of guy; he’s more willing to at least try to build concensus, even though he’s not always successful. Bush says, “This is what I’m doing, and I don’t care what anyone thinks, and I don’t care if anyone else is on board.” McCain says, “This is what I plan on doing, and this is why I think it’s a good decision; I’d like you to come along.” IMO, that’s better leadership, and we need a president who is a good leader, not just has good ideas. In every situation McCain has been in, for all of his life (at least POW-era and afterwards), he has proven himself to be a LEADER. That is VERY important to me.
I am very firm in my resolve of supporting McCain, even though he’s not perfect; I think he would be a fantastic leader of the American people, and a good statesman FOR the American people in foreign affairs.
Plus…. you gotta vote for someone, and I think that McCain is far and away the best choice among Romney (YUCK. Why isn’t anyone talking about his fairly extreme liberalism and leadership failings???? Even the state over which he was governor, Massachussetts, supports McCain, saying Romney was an awful governor), Huckabee, Paul, Clinton or Obama. (02/07/08: ETA — I meant that the most conservative newspaper from Romney’s “home” state supported McCain, not, obviously, as the primaries showed, that the whole state did.)
So. Anyone still with me??? 😀
Please, exercise your right to vote. I’d be thrilled if you’d join me in support of McCain, though I would understand if you don’t; he’s not perfect. But, please, support someone (I’d be especially pleased if that “someone” was at least a Republican), and don’t just complain about the choices available, and PLEASE don’t cut off your conservative nose to spite your Republican face by saying you’d rather vote for Obama than McCain in the November elections. That’s just stupid. IMO. In my still-not-so-humble opinion.