During the run up to the recent U.S. election, several groups peripheral to the McCain campaign, particularly in the days just before the vote, were sponsoring seriously-negative advertisements on both radio and television that were no doubt unfounded, completely ridiculous criticisms of Barack Obama. They were obviously designed to sway a small percentage, hopefully one that would make an electoral difference in the outcome.

Most people, I suspect, dismissed them outright. Many had already voted and weren’t paying all that much attention, but reading and hearing them it made me realize that there were always unspoken shortcomings and potential failures in any man’s life and that setting this even notably unique and very gifted man up as such a hero, such a savior, such a beacon of hope, was a serious mistake.

The problem is that we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear, and even “hope” itself, though it can be nobly ‘audacious’ in many circumstances, is also as much a pitiful slave to our desires as it is to our desperation. In other words, just as the poor hope for redemption, the rich hope for more riches and continued freedom from poverty. Hope is at best, only a common denominator.

In the end we must all realize that a slave is only a slave when he accepts his slavery and that true freedom is always a rejection, of servitude, of conformity, even of the fear of death. As such, we must never look the other way when Barack fails to meet up to our expectations and compromises our principles, just as we must not praise him too highly lest in the end he too falls far from grace.

Like Barack and Michelle, Bill and Hillary, George and Laura and all the rest, regardless of what we do, we are all just men and women, imperfect, all-too-often and all-too-representative of the worst of human frailties and failures. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that we will be at least as forgiving as we are critical, at least as loving as we are hateful, and in the end, at least as free in our minds as we are captive to our most inspired or even most foolish of dreams.

Ed McCoy
Bokeelia, FL USA

Categories: Letters

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