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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ghosts of Campaigns Past

Whitney M. Duck

It appears that in this presidential race that many people are trying revive the ghosts of former presidents. There seems to be this need to compare and remind the party faithful, either Democrat or Republican, of the past glories each political party had at one time during the last century. For example, many conservatives want a Ronald Reagan like candidate, just as many liberals want a new Kennedy. As fanciful as this might be, the reality is that the world has changed dramatically since both of these men held the office of the Presidency.

I am not so sure that the "good old days" may be worth reliving. The idea of another Ronald Reagan or John F. Kennedy can be appealing to many people. The current discord and uncertainty facing the nation can bring out the longing for a better and perhaps, a simpler time. Both Reagan and Kennedy brought forth a sense of nuance and hope to a large section of the country. Each brought energy and a new way of seeing the possibilities of a new way and voters went to the polls.

Even though Reagan and Kennedy came from two different sides of the political spectrum, each was able to create a sense of togetherness, and encourage voters to charge into new and uncharted territory. Now the world is a different place. It has been 20 years since Reagan held the White House and 45 years since Kennedy sat in the oval office. Today, the world is a much more complicated and different place.

A quick glance at a newspaper or television would bare this fact out. It is not only the news is different but it is the manner in which we get our information that is different. The Internet has become a major form of communication and that is not the only factor that has changed! Our enemies overseas are not as clearly labeled. What use to be the "Cold War" is now a "War Against Terror". Conventional warfare has taken a dramatic turn and the threats now are not so easily defined.

The economy is not humming the same tune it once had. The idea of just making new cars and U.S. made steel beams are long gone and the manufacturing sector of our economy is hurting. Our economy has become more fluid and consumer based. We now buy with little or no concern. The United States is in debt to too many other nations and now our own economic well being is at stake. Our nation faces many, many different challenges and working and looking backward to go forward does not make much sense.

Now it is time to move forward. Somehow, we will all have to work together to fix our national economy. As distasteful it might be to some, our military is broken and in desperate need of repair. We must not forget the past but instead build a better future. Will either of the two Presidential candidates, Democrat Senator Barack Obama or Republican Senator John McCain, do so? I do not know. This history has yet to be written.

Moving forward, without the ghosts of past presidency's hovering over head, is the only way of rebuilding what is broken. Somehow, we will have reworked our national economy. NASA is still trying to go back to the moon and we lack mass transportation. Our schools are hurting and our infrastructure is breaking around us. Some of these issues have been around for a very long time and now the time has come that we must face these issues head on.

Americans can and will pull together to move forward. Change is never easy and it often comes with many pitfalls. Either way we vote this November, the public will be asking for a new start. We must not forget the past but learn from the successes and failures. Instead, all of us must pull together to build a better future. Will either Obama or McCain lead the country in the right direction? Right now I do not know, but this history is yet to be written.

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