Monday, November 06, 2006

Election eve thoughts and comments

This is not a political statement, but reflections on a stimulating new book just out.
This weekend I had a long drive. As I was coming back from Sedona, I listened to Senator Barack Obama's new book on tape, "The Audacity of Hope". I bought the book, as much has been made recently about the Senator and his possible consideration to run for President in 2008 and I wanted to hear his words first hand about his political life and family. I was also impressed with his commitment to doing his homework as a constitutional scholar.

I was surprised at how honest he was about political life, and what it takes to run for office. His disclosures gave insight into life with his wife and children, along with difficulties they have had with this choice to be a politician, with its heavy travel commitment. It was refreshing to hear his intelligent and articulate descriptions, written in an eloquent, educated. honest and self reflecting manner. I was particularly interested in his discussion of the process of trying to stay true to himself and the reality of having to raise enough money to compete and not selling yourself out when you must take contributions. He described the process of cold calling to raise money from those had contributed to other candidates, with which every sales person is familiar. He talked about the appeal of traveling on private jets, versus the lessons he was able to learn when traveling by car or commercial plane. Those everday people he met along the way shared their stories which fueled his political determination.

But that wasn't the whole story of the book. Nor was it Senator Obama's courage in his disclosures portraying him as a man of conscience. The points which struck me were about the sacrifice his family, especially his wife, is making for him to pursue his passion of political office. Michelle is described as a strong woman, at least his equal intellectually, who has put aside her law career ambitions to support her husband's goals by being home to raise their children. This echoes similar choices made by "stay at home" Moms all across America. But in this case I concluded she is making a larger sacrifice and worthy of our admiration. No wonder many good people won't sacrifice what it takes to run for political office of either party. Thank God some do. I salute you Senator Barack and particularly, your wife Michelle, and your children, Malia and Sasha. And all other politicians who have the courage to run for office and sacrifice so much.

Yes, there is much to criticize about all politicians and their political ads during this mid-term election campaign, as they fight for their survival to retain their jobs. Some will hopefully lose in this one while others will retain office for another political cycle, only to repeat the process again in a few years. In this much maligned political season and on the eve of the election, thank you all who have sacrificed for your country. But especially thank you to the families who sit at home and watch on the sidelines, as they truly are the unsung heroes -- just like Michelle Obama.


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