Character v Diversity

An African-American from Generation X, two White Guys from the Silent Generation and a woman from Generation X. Arguably, the greatest diversity the U.S. has ever seen in its leading general election candidates for the Presidency. I think that’s a healthy thing.

The progress our nation has made on the topic of diversity is, surely, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. But, he taught us not to judge people based on observable differences – e.g. the color of skin (or the age of skin or the shape of skin). Rather, his instruction was to base judgment on content of character.

Character, then and not diversity seems to be the important consideration in determining the best candidate for President. But, what is character? J.C. Watts Jr., one of my favorite ex-politicians (I do wish he would get back in the game) says, “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.” I think that makes a great character “yardstick”. So, lets consider the things that first come to mind about these candidates that we’ve come to learn they did “… when nobody (was) looking.”

With Obama, I immediately think of the nearly 20 years he sat under the teaching of Jeremiah Wright. I find that deeply troubling.

In Joe Biden’s case, I’m mindful of the plagiarism he admitted to in school and that was obvious in his 1988 Presidential Campaign. He’s proven that you can’t take him at his word.

A year ago, “… when nobody (was) looking”, Senator John McCain was traveling coach-class and carrying his own bags because he was willing to stand up for our nation to win, even if it cost him his election. I find it very hard not to stand up for a guy who is willing to stand up for me like that.

Recently, Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin learned that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant. Quietly, giving being Mom priority over being a politician, Governor Palin provided her daughter the love and support she needed to begin dealing with the young woman’s challenging circumstances. Although the press tried to eviscerate her for it, it made me proud to know that someone with this sort of character is willing to serve us, as a nation.

Are there other matters to consider along these lines that would reflect more positively on Obama and Biden and more negatively on McCain and Palin? Perhaps. My recommendation is that we all give these matters our full consideration, in this same light and right away. November 4th is coming fast and we all need to be doing our best to determine the best candidates based on the Substance of their character and not the Style of their presentation.