John McCain’s moral values are harmful to America.
We show our moral values through our actions – through what we do, and through what we decide not to do. Our actions show what we value, what we are willing to promote, and what we think is not worth our effort.
On Wednesday, John McCain showed that he has no love of truth, that he supports a culture of lies and malicious distractions as acceptable methods of getting what one wants, and that he thinks it is morally permissible to distract the American people from the discussion of important topics with by diverting their attention with useless trivialities. These are John McCain’s moral values, and they are clearly harmful to America.
Whenever we act, we tell the world (or at least those who know of our action – which, for a presidential candidate is a lot of people) that they should have no aversion to doing the same thing themselves. When President Bush embraced torture (he changed the name, but he did not change the product), he told every two-bit tyrant in the world that torture was acceptable, and they, too, should not be ashamed to use it. When he embraced secret trials with secret evidence he said to the world that no leader should be concerned about doing the same thing, and no citizen in any country has a moral right to protest the possibility of being tried in such a court.
So on Wednesday, when John McCain embraced lies and senseless distractions as a way of gaining election as President, he told the people that there is no moral objection to lying, or to manipulating the American people with senseless distractions. He promoted these as things that all good Americans would and should do under similar circumstances.
However, these are not things that a virtuous person would do. If the people were to follow McCain’s moral lead on these matters, to the degree that they do so, America is made worse off. This is why a good leader . . . a moral leader . . . a leader who cares about what is good for America . . . would be leading America away from a culture of lies and senseless distractions. He would not lead America towards these things – and he particularly would not lead America further into a culture of lies and senseless destructions by his example.
There were two incidents on Wednesday that show how John McCain’s moral values are harmful to America.
Lipstick on a Pig
Barak Obama made the following statement:
John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle is, 'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics -- we're really going to shake things up in Washington.' That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing.
Obama was talking about the fact that John McCain’s policies are similar to President Bush’s policies. Where Bush’s policies are the pig, McCain’s policies represent putting lipstick on that pig.
However, John McCain and his campaign staff, showing an utter lack of decency or moral sense, decided to lie and claim that Obama was talking about Vice President Palin in making these comments. McCain is after the women’s vote, and to get it he thought it would be useful to lie to them and present Obama as somebody who does not respect women.
The second act concerns McCain’s claims about Obama’s support for a sex-education law. The law included provisions for teaching young children that if somebody tries to approach them in an inappropriate matter, that they might be in trouble and they should get away from such people. (See Factcheck.org Off Base on Sex Ed)
McCain created an advertisement that distorted this legislation by claiming that Obama favored teaching children about sex before they even knew how to read.
The moral crime here is particularly heinous, and a threat to children, because in the atmosphere that McCain decided to promote to get elected a person dares not support programs that will protect children from sexual predators, because doing so will put them at risk of this type of distortion. Apparently, protecting children from sexual predators is something that America needs to put aside, in favor of McCain finding an easier path to the White House.
The Importance of Character
Moral character is an extremely important quality to consider in a politician.
If you were to let somebody borrow your car, you know that you will not be there to look over his shoulder and see that he treats your car well. You need to know how that person – his dispositions and habits. Perhaps the most important quality to learn about a person in deciding to trust him with something of value is his moral character – his willingness to do what is right.
The more valuable the thing is that you put into somebody else’s care, the more important moral character becomes. If you want to trust somebody with your child, even for a day, issues of moral character are much more important than it is when deciding to trust somebody with your car. You want to take particular care to make sure that you are trusting your child to somebody who will protect him from harm, and would never cause harm to your child in pursuit of something that he finds personally gratifying.
However, on Wednesday, McCain showed us that he is willing to do harm to America in his pursuit of something that he finds personally gratifying. He contributed to and supported a culture of lies, malicious deception, and trivial distractions. These, according to McCain, are perfectly legitimate ways to get something that one wants – that is what McCain told us yesterday. These, however, are things that are harmful to America as a country, and to its individual citizens.
For a person concerned with helping America and protecting it from harm, liars and malicious manipulators are people that the responsible person would want to protect America from. They are not the type of people that the responsible person would teach Americans to become.
Persistence of Moral Values
A person’s moral character tends to persist over time. We can reasonably predict the type of person President McCain would be by looking at the type of person Candidate McCain has become.
What type of President would McCain be?
Judging from his actions recently, he will be a President that has absolutely no use for honesty or integrity. We can expect him to be just as willing to lies and distortions against those who criticize his policies as President as he has decided to use against his opponents as Candidate. Instead of a Presidency in which the country can expect open and honest debate about the issues that confront the country, we can expect personal attacks against anybody who dares to criticize his policies, and for him to blind, confuse, and distract the nation with misinformation and nonsense to keep us confused as he pursues his own interests.
Just as the Bush Administration has done over the past eight years.
I mentioned above how, if you were to trust your child to somebody’s care, you would want to know something about his moral character. If he has a long history of caring for children and protecting him, you would count that in his favor. However, if, in the last couple of years he has become malicious and abusive, this is far more important in knowing what his moral character is today.
When it comes to trusting our country to McCain, we need to pay far more attention to what he has done recently than to what he did several years ago. Today, McCain is somebody who will harm America by promoting lies and malicious deceptions as a way of getting what one wants. Today, McCain is somebody who would leave the country in the hands of an arrogant and ignorant leader who thinks that she can get her instructions straight from God in case of his death. Today, McCain is somebody who shows us over and over again that, instead of being somebody who is eager to protect America from harm, he is willing to be the author of that harm in order to obtain something that he finds personally gratifying.
A person who embraces lies and malicious manipulation is not only unqualified to be President. He does not even make a good citizen.
What type of neighbors and co-workers would you rather share your community with?
Do you want to live and work in a community surrounded by liars and malicious deceivers? If you do, then you will live in a community where you cannot trust what anybody says, and where nobody gives a second thought to distorting the truth or distracting you with made-up trivialities into doing what benefits them at your expense.
Or would you rather live in a community where you can trust your neighbor, and where they will deal with you with honesty, integrity, and respect?
When we act, we lead by example. When McCain acts, he leads by example. But where is he leading us? He is leading us further into a culture of lies, malicious manipulation, and distraction away from an intelligent discussion of real issues. He is promoting the type of community where these vices are accepted. And where a culture accepts these practices we can expect more and more people to engage in them.
Once upon a time an honorable McCain was willing to protect and care for America. Once upon a time, he was somebody that we could have trusted with our country. But that McCain is not running for office today. The McCain that is running or office is willing to do harm to America by promoting a culture of lies and malicious manipulation. We can add this to the fact that the McCain who is running for office today is willing to leave us in the hands of an arrogant and ignorant woman who thinks that she can get her instructions on how to lead the country from God.
These are McCain’s values today.
And they are harmful to America.
If you think that these arguments make sense, I would like to ask you share them with anybody you might know in the Obama campaign who might be able to put them to use. Or, if you know somebody in the McCain campaign who a person of good moral character, you might want to share this with her. Particularly if she is somebody who cares more about honesty, about moral character, and about America, than she cares about political party.