The 2012 election is big -- but not for the reasons you might think



This upcoming presidential election is, as some have said, perhaps the most important one we have had in the past century.

It will determine the direction of the country for at least just as many years to come. The Supreme Court; health care; immigration; education; scientific discovery; energy; foreign policy; infrastructure – you name it. Just about everything we can think of is riding on this election.

But there is one thing for sure: When it is all over, regardless who is declared the winner, we still will exist as a country, united first to defend against the enemy and united second to be that shining city on a hill about which one of our former presidents spoke.


THIS 2012 ELECTION, across the board – just like all other elections – began as soon as the president took office in 2009. When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that his No. 1 job after the election was to see to it that President Obama was not re-elected to the White House, it was nothing new. However, what was unexpected was that he said it loud and clear, so everyone could hear him and make no mistake about it. It would make no difference at all what the president might accomplish during his term in office to McConnell and others like him. Can you really trust a man to tell you whom to vote for when he already has prejudged the candidate? Will he be fair in his judgment? Go figure.

Not only was this McConnell’s plan in 2009 and thereafter, it was the plan of many others, as we have seen over the past four years. Why? I hear the cries out there saying everything from “Obama’s not an American” to “he’s a Muslim.”

This man has been attacked with some of the most outlandish and vicious propaganda that I have ever heard bestowed upon a president, even upon our most dishonored ones. Yet, Obama has carried on with dignity.


EVEN IF OBAMA should lose the presidency, I would hope that his loss will win the hearts and minds of those of us who want to see this country go forward and not backward. There will be another day.

Let me be clear: I, as an American, am proud of this president and how he has led this country over the past four years. It was not so much what he did for me, but rather what he did for the country. We all are better off for it.

These attacks on the president remind me of my caddying days at the Augusta Country Club, when I first started out and not knowing much about caddying. Mr. Kilgore cursed me out on every hole and called me all kinds of names. What could I do about it under the circumstances but maintain my dignity and let him be the powerful fool he showed me he was that day? He may have been very important among his peers, but on this 12-year-old boy, that day, he made a lasting impression.

Just who are they who want the president removed from office come Nov. 6, at any cost? They are the big investors in this election, hiding behind their unlimited contributions and siding with candidates with whom they can have the most influence.


THIS ELECTION is much bigger than what the rich and powerful would have us to believe. It is not about race. It is not about religion, or about any other trivial things that are thrown into the campaign as distractions. I call them trivial because they always are going to be with us. Period.

While we are throwing names at one another, there are sinister people out there who can care less about either one of us. Why do you think this is so? They want control and to be able to operate at the least cost, which is not always good because the savings are not passed on to the consumer. Even the tax breaks that corporations get are paid for by, yes, us. Isn’t that strange?

Whom did we say we want to be governed by? The rich? You have to be kidding. You want to find a rich person at a campaign rally? It is undignified for them. Instead, they send pawns out to do their bidding for them.


IF PEOPLE DO anything to win, including destroying a man’s character, how will they rule? You cannot win with immoral tactics, then turn around and rule morally. If there is any doubt about this, ask former President Richard Nixon. His presidency fell not because of Watergate. It began to tumble way before then, as historians have pointed out. There is a character flaw in the “win at any cost” campaign. Anyone who wins by any means necessary, rules by any means necessary.

I was taken aback when one of our aristocrat politicians defended a local farmer politician in his battle for the District 12 U.S. House seat redrawn by Republican leaders in Atlanta. By anyone’s calculations, this easily should be a Republican seat – except for just one little problem: The Republican candidate cannot speak for himself. The former aristocrat politician says that is OK.

If a politician is unable to speak to the people in the district he is vying to represent, how is he going to speak to the complicated issues facing him in Washington, D.C.? Oh, I almost forgot. The former aristocrat politician – who, by the way, has learned his own lesson about local politics – says this man will vote the way he is supposed to vote: party line. At least incumbent U.S. Rep. John Barrow has a little independent thinking left after being tested in Washington for a few years.

Nevertheless, I guess this is how far we have come – or, should I say, how far we have gone backward, when all we needed then was a mouthpiece, no matter the qualifications. Those were the days when Southern politics were raw, where anything went to
win. Read Gothic Politics in the Deep South, by Robert Sherrill. I do not know about you but, for me, I do not want to go back to those days.


THE WORST THING former President Ronald Reagan said was that the government is not the solution, but the problem. Ever since, some have believed this falsehood and have made it difficult for government to function. This rather sinister characterization of American government is just short of treason. As long as people believe this, no form of government will please them. The next four years, they will be crying again: “Kick the rascals out!”


(The writer is a former Augusta City Council member and a retired labor relations manager from Bechtel Savannah River Inc.)



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