I dislike the parts of the news cycle which exploit the personal failings of others. There are times when, reluctantly, I concede they may be relevant. I intentionally stayed away from the John Edwards adultery story, for example. But I admit his behavior, had it been known, would likely have derailed his candidacy. Which would likely have changed the Democratic primary. Which may well change the history of both our nation and our world should Barack Obama be elected President of the United States.
Seen in that light, discussion of Edwards’ adultery as it applies to the political consequences of his candidacy is legitimate. It matters what we do. It is through this lens that, as a father of 5 and as a man who has answered for his share of unwise decisions over the years, I view the past week’s politics. It matters what we do.
John McCain faced the most important decision for his campaign to date. Who to choose for VP? Be the maverick, choose Lieberman and the base be damned? Play both ends against the middle? Choose Romney or Huckabee and both appeal to and repel a portion of the base? Or make a bold play to the base, the country and the world and go with Sarah Palin? Tough choices. Important choices. It matters what we do.
Millions of dollars in donations over a few days, an almost unanimously energized base, the best possible poll results and frantic, desperate, Democratic spin and attacks later – it would seem he chose well. After all, if the response of most reporters and news rooms to Obama’s candidacy is cheering and open campaigning on his behalf, it then speaks volumes to me that those same newsies respond to the Palin pick with laughter. They’ve fashioned for themselves, by their own actions, a reputation in the public eye that ranks right down there with our Democratic Congress. If they’re against it, it must be the best thing going! It matters what we do.
Which brings me to Bristol Palin. Who would have thought a 16 year old from one of our least populous states would, by actions undertaken in private and never intended to be made public, have the ability to reach out and touch a family, a country and maybe a world? I cannot imagine what it is like to be Bristol Palin tonight. A lot rides on this election. It is impossible to calculate how her behavior will impact that election and thus, the world. It is an academic exercise in the theory of “What if?”. But it’s real. It matters what we do.
Given the predictable, inevitable response from the Left once her story became known, her family’s choice was bold and courageous. They would support Bristol and her decision to both have the baby and marry the father. Grace under fire. The courage and strength that come from actually having convictions even if you don’t always live up to them. It matters what we do.
We have come to the last weeks of the election. I didn’t watch much of the DNC’s antics. I won’t watch much of the RNC’s either. I will tune in for Sarah Palin’s speech. It’s time to stop watching and start working. Working to stay true to what I believe. Giving to those men and women that I believe in. And voting on November 4th for the people and the party I believe are best for the country and the world.
Because I’m reminded this week, by a 16 year old Alaskan mother and wife to be and a 72 year old Presidential wannabe, what I’ve always known, what it is vital I continue to teach my children, and what I must continue to live by myself. Behave as if the world depended upon your actions. It just might. It matters what we do.