We have voted and now we are waiting to see who won. In one area we have all lost. We have lost heroes.
Liberals have always been able to look to Ralph Nader as a towering figure of principle and integrity. Even people who disagreed with him respected him as someone who would not compromise his ideals. He would always fight the good fight. But the hero had feet of clay. In pursuing his campaign, he has been untruthful and exaggerated the issues outrageously. And while gathering support by promising he would never be a spoiler, he went on to make it clear that what he really wanted was to be a spoiler.
Conservatives and Independents were energized by John McCain, a war hero of incredible courage and integrity. His “straight talk express” crossed the country like a breath of fresh air on the political scene. He stood up to his party – both parties – on campaign finance reform. And then we saw him campaigning for George W. Bush with a pained expression. He was mouthing hollow phrases in praise of a man who had run a particularly dirty campaign against him in South Carolina. What happended to “straight talk” and integrity?
Both of these men have sacrificed the treasure of public trust. Even worse, they have fed the cynicism that permeates our society. We will survive the outcome of the election whether our candidates won or lost. It will take longer to heal the scars left by the loss of heroes.
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