Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Try to Avoid Talking Politics, But . . .

Sometime early in our marriage, we were watching a debate between the two candidates running for governor of Kansas. I don't remember even who they were now, or what all they were debating -- I wasn't that much into politics at the time. But one exchange between the two of them has stuck with me over the years.

The incumbent was being criticized by his opponent for breaking a certain promise he had made during his campaign for office four years before. I don't remember the governor's exact words, but his response was to this effect: When I made that promise, I honestly believed that was the best thing for the state. When I became governor, I became privy to information I didn't have before and realized that I was very wrong. So, I chose to do what I now knew was the best thing for the state rather than to keep a promise that would ultimately hurt the people.

I liked that answer. That's the way a servant of the people should operate in office. They shouldn't make such promises in the first place when they don't know all the facts (and nobody outside of the office does), but when they screw up, they should do the right thing by the people and admit they were mistaken.

Fast forward to 2010 . . and President Obama . . and Guantanamo Bay. As you may recall, during his campaign, then-Senator Obama railed against the place, and he promised that it would be closed by now. It is not. I don't know what reasons his administration is giving for this failure, nor what the real reasons might be. It may be that someone or something else has gotten in the way of his accomplishing what he still wants to do. It may be all political.

But I don't like to think the worst of someone; I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe that once he got into office and became privy to the information that only presidents and their immediate advisors are privy to, he realized that he was wrong. That shutting down Gitmo was going to put our country in serious jeopardy -- and so he didn't do it. Yeah . . . I would really like to think that. I would feel better about him if he would acknowledge that fact. I would have felt even better about him if he (like so many of us) had seen from the beginning the folly of such an action. But even if he feels he has to hide his real reasons to save face with his supporters, if he just does the right thing to protect the citizens of the country, I'm content. For now.

Of course, I could be entirely wrong about him. But I sure hope not. As I said, I don't like to think the worst of someone.

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