October 9th, 2008
Hello, and welcome. I am a 62 year old centrist "moderate" and political independent residing in Precinct 1142 in Las Vegas. My wife Cheryl and I have lived in Las Vegas since 1992, and we have been together for more than 34 years. My daughter Danielle is the Executive Director of First Tee of Southern Nevada, our local non-profit youth golf organization. Her son, our grandson Keenan, is now a freshman at Henderson International School. Our son Nick lives here as well. He is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School, and works for the Executive Jet terminal.
I am a co-founder and former President of the Nevada Quality Alliance (administrators of the Nevada Governor's Awards for Performance Excellence). Cheryl is now the Corporate Director of Quality for Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc. of Walnut Creek, California. We moved here from Tennessee in 1992 when Cheryl was transferred by her former employer in order to assume the post of Quality Assurance Manager of the environmental cleanup project at the Nevada Test Site.
I am a quantitative analyst and writer by training and experience. I have voted Republican as often as Democratic across the course of my adult life, depending on the candidate who made the most sense at any given time. I have always maintained an acute interest a broad array in policy issues (I got my Master's degree in Ethics & Policy Studies at UNLV in 1998). It's simply a responsibility of the self-governing to be up to speed, difficult and endless and tiring as it may be slogging through and make sense of the detail.
I invite you to review some of my work on my sociopolitical blog at bgladd.blogspot.com (a work in ongoing revision and progress). I try to be a reasonable, critical thinker, and a positive contributor to our world (though I cannot lay claim to batting 1,000 in that regard). I love my country, for the ideals it stands for at its best, and in appreciation of my fellow citizens at their best. I consider myself a patriot, in what I regard as the true meaning of the term, the son of a patriot who left a leg behind in Europe defending this nation during WWII. He served along with all four of his brothers for the duration. Only my Pop and his brother Warren survived the war years. He and my mom instilled an indelible love of country in me. My Dad finally died back in May, just before his 92nd birthday, after six long years suffering from severe dementia. Mother is now in long term care here (I moved them both to Vegas from Florida last year) and ever-so-slowly fading away.
As an adult, I have come to learn that genuine "love of country" must often be "tough love" requiring well-considered, often difficult choices if we are to remain faithful to our founding national moral principles. Consequently, I must support Barack Obama for President and have agreed to serve as a precinct captain from now until election day. As this essay progresses I will try to explain clearly and succinctly why, and I hope to persuade you to my point of view. I've been asked to "just tell your story" to voters I contact, and this is one platform I thought I'd use straight away. Many of you will see me at your door in the coming weeks.
In our national history, the stakes have rarely been higher. I don't claim to have all the answers, and I certainly disagree strongly with Mr. Obama on some issues. But, I cannot let "the perfect be the enemy of the good." I welcome discussion and challenge (my home number is 702-260-0622, email, firstname.lastname@example.org). This is the perhaps most important election of my lifetime. We simply must get this right, eyes wide open. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by ad hominem character assassination and fear-mongering tactics and the myriad other policy red herrings increasingly bombarding us every day, if we care at all about the good of our troubled nation.
A recent loaded question/innuendo tactic Mr. McCain has started sarcastically repeating at his rallies and during interviews is along the lines of "just who is Barack Obama? The American people want to know." Really? Beyond pointing out the fact that multiple millions of primary season voters have examined him for two years and found him more worthy than his competitors and acceptable as a President, I would simply reply: It's pretty easy. He's written two biographical books (without having to resort to the services of a ghostwriter). They don't cost much. Buy them (or get them from your local library). Read them. It's well worth your time. Click here and here for Amazon links.
I found them well-written, thorough, thoughtful, and forthright. Some people will, of course, say "he's lying, he's being self-serving" (usually without having read the books). All I can say is, at least they provide a detailed, fact-checkable historical record of this man's life, all the way from his early childhood to his current run for President. Beyond those resources, the Obama campaign has published a detailed "Blueprint for Change" spanning a gamut of national issues: Civil Rights, Defense, Disabilities, The Economy, Education, Energy & Environment, Ethics, Faith, Family, Fiscal, Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Homeland Security, Immigration, Iraq, Poverty, Rural, Service, Seniors and Social Security, Technology, Taxes, Urban Policy, Veterans, and Women. While no two voters will agree on all of his proposals (I certainly have my qualms in some areas), we have a responsibility to be adequately informed as to his policy ideas. Basing your Presidential vote on the negative visceral impact of snarling 30 second TV and radio spots is simply an abdication of your duty as a citizen.
Evening update: This is actually rather sad.
McCain booed after trying to calm anti-Obama crowd
PHILIP ELLIOTT and BETH FOUHY, Associated Press, October 10th
The anger is getting raw at Republican rallies and John McCain is acting to tamp it down. McCain was booed by his own supporters Friday when, in an abrupt switch from raising questions about Barack Obama's character, he described the Democrat as a "decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States."
A sense of grievance spilling into rage has gripped some GOP events this week as McCain supporters see his presidential campaign lag against Obama. Some in the audience are making it personal, against the Democrat. Shouts of "traitor," "terrorist," "treason," "liar," and even "off with his head" have rung from the crowd at McCain and Sarah Palin rallies, and gone unchallenged by them.
McCain changed his tone Friday when supporters at a town hall pressed him to be rougher on Obama. A voter said, "The people here in Minnesota want to see a real fight." Another said Obama would lead the U.S. into socialism. Another said he did not want his unborn child raised in a country led by Obama.
"If you want a fight, we will fight," McCain said. "But we will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments." When people booed, he cut them off...
"You reap what you sow" is the operative admonition here, one has to think. I have to believe John McCain now honestly regrets having permitted the unleashing of this counterproductive and dangerous tactical vitriol. His running mate has by now openly and repeatedly insinuated that Barack Obama is all of the foregoing "un-American" things, egging on her fawning crowds and ramping up their irrational ire. Which is it? Is he the non-scary "decent person" whom John McCain now belatedly "admires" notwithstanding their policy differences, or is he Sarah Palin's treasonous "terrorist pal"? What does this say about wise, presidential calibre "judgment"? (Which, in my view, was rendered distressingly suspect by the very choice of Mrs. Palin in the first place.)