Across the top of my personal blog, I have the following axiom: “A man must be accountable, else everything he does counts for nothing.” I did not write that in hopes of lecturing anyone, so much as it was to remind myself that I am responsible for what I write, and that I have a duty to remember what I owe to my readers and who I am meant to be. I put that at the top of my blog after I received an email from a Marine on active duty in Iraq, who had read my work and found it uplifting. I owe that guy an honest report every time, as do I owe it to everyone who takes the time to read my thoughts and analysis. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s there to remind me what I’m doing here as a blogger.
So, this week I have suddenly received a lot more attention than a guy like me ever usually gets, because some of the bigger luminaries have mentioned me. Some on the left have misquoted me and mocked me (so now I can give folks an accurate sense of how Sarah Palin must feel after a Couric interview), some on the right have taken comfort in my work, and some are just giving readers a chance to hear me out (thank you, Mr. Blogosphere).
Some folks cannot resist sending me emails to reinforce their point. A few folks, in emails and in comments to articles, have been trying to goad me into betting on the election. One fellow in particular tried to claim that if I did not put money up against him, that this would belie my ‘accountable’ claim. Of course he’s quite wrong; betting is not about accountability, it’s about greed, and about the morality of gambling on the outcomes of pivotal events in human history. I suppose such people could find an excuse to gamble on anything. Perhaps such people watch the news for a body count from the day’s murders, in some grotesque version of a ‘numbers’ game. Perhaps the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is, for them, amusement and an opportunity to gain some coin. Perhaps for every family praying for a lost child to return, there is a gambler putting money down on when the body will be found. For me, a national election is a solemn duty, a responsibility to put the best-qualified candidate into office, not an occasion for turning profit or focusing on personal gain.
The reason I am writing today, is that accountability is something this country badly needs to see more often from leaders. The present financial crisis has come about because so many people in finance, banking, and Congress have hid their actions and lied to cover their tracks. We are threatened by enemies who had America for it’s existence and founding principles, yet there are those whose first cuts would be against the defenders who have prevented 9/11 from happening again. It is up to us who are regular citizens, to speak out against the lies and for the defenders of our nation and its infrastructure.
As I wrote before, Accountable Americans understand duty. Accountable Americans respect sacrifice. Accountable Americans recognize the men who have put others first, and they recognize those who would put themselves first, and they are not fooled. In times of hardship, it is not McCain but Obama who would increase taxes and create higher unemployment by making it harder for smaller companies to hire and keep employees. It is not McCain but Obama who would increase opportunities for illegals in the U.S., who would principally take jobs held by minority citizens. It is not McCain but Obama who has taken hundreds of millions of dollars from private sponsors, whom he refuses to even identify, since the public would naturally wonder what sort of promises he made to get all that money.
It is not Obama but McCain who has suffered in service to his country. It is not Obama but McCain who has given generously to charity out of his own pocket. It is not Obama but McCain who has fought to protect the lives of unborn children. And it is not Obama but McCain, who when made aware of vicious comments about his opponent, immediately, directly and repeatedly called for his campaign to operate by ideals of respect and courtesy, asking hard questions but refraining from personal smears. These facts are undeniable, and make clear which sorts of character are present in each man.
Accountability means we recognize which candidate hides where he gets his money, and which has been honest about his past. Accountability means we vote according to what is right for the nation, not what we can get out of it. Accountability means we think about our families and the ideals of our nation, not the opportunity to punish some folks for success and threaten those who ask inconvenient questions.