Michael H. Smith     

A politician who cares          

Ordinary folks are being galvanized in the televised debates by the boldness and principles expressed by Alan Keyes.  Americans are by and large a decent and productive people.  We are also by nature conservative in the sense that we believe in maintaining the status quo: "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

So when politicians come, as they do with depressing regularity, promising either to keep "it" going as it is, or to "fix it" -depending upon circumstances - we tend to give them a jaundiced ear.  If at all. We tend both to ignore and distrust self-interested politicians.  With good reason.  After all, the tradition of America is that things are really okay and if you leave us alone we'll do just fine.  But are they? Can we?

Only once in a while a politician comes along who seems not to care what people think.  Like a voice crying in the wilderness he is telling us things we already know - that things are not so great right now.  And more than platitudes will be needed to paper them over.  Oh yes, while old folks scramble in Moscow just to get food to eat, the batteries in my TV remote haven't died - yet.

While the economy is great and not too many major catastrophes have broken out too close to home - there are rumblings beneath the surface.  The unease is caused not only by the recent doings in Washington - but of events closer to home.

The massive corruption of spirit in our Nations Capitol against which Dr. Keye's rails is only a symptom of a deeper and broader malaise that ails us all.  After all, those Washington poltroons could not have been elected unless a voting populace thought they were the best that could be had.  We know that, even though materially we are doing okay, and the streets have not broken out in wide-scale riots-yet-things are getting scary.

Most of us are still looking the other way - but the signs are unmistakable.  Vandalism, disrespect, even violence are becoming the norm.  Those of us with a little age on us can remember a time when young people were more respectful-both of their elders and of themselves.  Columbine is the proverbial iceberg tip.

And our leaders seem unable even to address the moral problems let alone find solutions.  In fact they seem to be even more in denial about underlying problems than we.  The apotheosis of "tolerance," as the highest ideal, has risen to the top of the body politic so that no dares address bad behavior as what it is -bad behavior.  So we are tired of hearing about our President's dalliances - even of treason, because we know that no one will do anything about it.

Then comes along a politician who dares.  To Alan Keyes the message - not he himself - is paramount.  He is sincere in his lack of ambition.  He would rather lose 50 times over than lose the message - that Americans, good as they are, are even better people than our leaders give them credit for.  We can rise to a higher standard.  We can take back our freedoms and virtues from those corrupt politicians in whose hands we placed our "sacred trust."

Michael H. Smith

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