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We'll get the government we deserve

Posted: October 28, 2008 6:52 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Four years on from our last presidential election, a truism lives in painful memory. We got the government we deserved.

We got what we had coming four years back when a fear-baited, cowering American electorate gave George Bush thumbs-up for four more years of that special "W" brand of incompetence and mayhem.

Untold misery later, how we decide this time around is even more crucial than the last.

"She can't take much more of it, Captain!" Scotty so often decried of his overwhelmed but beloved Starship Enterprise.

Those same sentiments all-too-accurately sum up today's state of our beloved America.

She really CAN'T take more of the executive branch incompetence and negligence that has put us in dire straits and caused America such decline.

We've backslid ourselves into a corner and now face a critical tipping point for the nation.

One feels the desperation everywhere, from the workplace to the mall to the stock market to home equity.
So which way, USA? Positive hope for positive change, or reactive fear against our better interests once again?

Will Americans have the courage to finally reach past fear to say, "Enough is enough!"? Or will a bogus boogeyman, panted and preached from an overdressed and undereducated panderer, get the better of our judgment?

Beaten to desperation as "compassionate conservatism" morphed into a perfect storm of incompetence and greed, most voters pain for "change we can believe in."

But there's that one last final act of reaching beyond manipulated "fear of the new" - to claim the change we know we need. For some, punching on the "D" side of the ticket is akin to renouncing the faith of their fathers.

But Republican faith renouncers are coming out in droves. The serious, studious side of conservatism has weighed the tale of the tickets.

Many, if not most, are pulling for Obama. Obama and Biden have garnered three times the newspaper endorsements of McCain/Palin.

Newspapers having never endorsed a Democrat before are backing Barack.

As if to slap McCain and Palin with effectual $5,000 Gucci gloves, Sarah's own Alaska Daily rejects McCain because of Palin, citing her unpreparedness as disqualification for both.

"Few who have worked closely with (Sarah Palin) would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in ... would stretch the governor beyond her range."

Then, their endorsement:

"Sen. Obama ... brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand.

"The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain. You need look no further than the guilt-by-association lies and sound-bite distortions of the degenerating McCain campaign to see how readily he embraces the divisive, fear-mongering tactics of Karl Rove."

Obama campaign slogans have it right. "Hope and Change - or more of the same."

In less critical times, "be true to your school" party loyalty might be enough to win the day. But with two everlasting wars, economic collapse, infrastructure decay - adding whatever else to your list of afflictions - this time, this year, the stakes are too great for blind party loyalty.

Standing in deed for "Country First," Republican elders blaze trails for fellow Republicans to follow:

William F. Buckley: "Having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect ... Barack Obama has the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for."

Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan: "I am going to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done and I will be voting for Barack Obama."

Gen. Colin Powell: "Because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities as well as his substance - he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

Yet some still fall for fear over fact. "Obama is a Muslin. Obama loves abortion. Obama is a socialist poised to nationalize our homes."

But Obama is, in fact, a long-standing Christian, committed to reducing abortion, and is the candidate capitalist king Warren Buffet himself personally endorses. Manipulating fear, the McCain camp bets, will distract from real concerns of endless war, tax disparity, economic collapse, declining education and aging infrastructure.

So, which way, USA? And which way, embattled middle-class Republicans?

As with the past two elections, we'll again get whatever government we deserve. We caved to fear before - with ruinous results. Now devastated, have we finally learned sufficient courage to hope and vote for needed change?

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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