The whole thing isn't too long, and I strongly encourage anyone troubled by the tight state of the current presidential race to read it quickly. His piece focuses on the fact that his wife, a strong Hillary supporter, appears likely to be voting for McCain this fall. Here's a stretch that I was especially struck by:
"... The bottom line is that this is where we are: a still fractious and divided nation, split right down the middle, as represented by my very own household. I am moved to think that we, along with the Obama/Biden team, will begin to change the very culture of the way we do business with each other and the world at large. That we should use 'Example as power rather than power as example'; that 'America's promise [is] of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.'
I ask myself why these tenets are so rejected by the opposition, by my wife. Is it racism? Is it the propaganda of family values and God and the manifest destiny of American domination of the world as a righteous cause? Is it that John McCain is still perceived as a maverick and revered for his heroic war service? Is it the singular issue for some women that Hillary Clinton was castigated in certain media and an object of old-school misogyny that is unacceptable and cause enough to abandon the very politics that she supports?
I can't answer these questions, as I don't understand the thinking and emotional investment that defends them.
My opinion of John McCain is different. Here is a man who had his moment in history already pass him by. After being eviscerated and politically castrated in the 2000 Republican primaries by the Bush PR machine; accused falsely of fathering an illegitimate and racially mixed child, he was given a chance at redemption and a chance to save the world from a man he considered at the time to be dangerous and untrustworthy. He could have run as a third party candidate and taken enough votes away from George W. to seal the election for Al Gore. He passed.
Four years later, John Kerry had talks with McCain about running as his Vice-President; a dream ticket that would surely bring down the Bush regime. Again he passed. When I ask Washington insiders why, they can only conclude that the reason was simple, unadulterated ambition to be President. But what a price to pay. This is a man who could have saved the world from the last eight years of disaster and instead is content to inherit the aftermath. But the other half of the divide chooses to imagine the younger McCain, the independent, free thinking, iconoclast he may very well have been once, long ago.
And now McCain has picked Sarah Palin of Alaska for the office of Vice-President. I'm sure she is capable of governing the frozen tundra of her state (couldn't help myself) and is surely a force to be reckoned with on some level. But no one can convince me thatMcCain has chosen a running mate who is capable of stepping into the Oval Office in the event of the death of the President. And let's face it, that scenario isn't beyond the realm of possibility. And even with this, I hear in real and electronic voices 'we like her,' 'she's warm and personable,' 'she's a soccer mom who has become accomplished and powerful.' What?
And so we stay divided: My country, my wife and I. I am stumped. But I am stubborn in my hope that Americans across the great divide, including one who sleeps in my bed, will wake up to more lofty dreams.
I imagine an America that can actually change. That we become a nation that prospers again but without pillaging the resources of nations that make their people hate us. That we become a nation that, as the constitution says in its preamble, its very first paragraph, 'promotes the general welfare' of its people.
When new ideas and belief-altering evidence confronts us, many of us still shout that the world is flat, or global climate change is cyclical, or women belong in the home. I can only remember when great agents of change come to us, it seems as many reject their presence as rejoice in it. Kennedy won office by the slimmest margin in our history to that point. Martin Luther King made as many or more enemies than there were marchers by his side."
I know that's a ridiculously long excerpt, but I recommend reading the whole thing, I found it an interesting meditation on the state of the nation/election.