I have been trying to emphasize character here lately, and last night I was reading Truman, by David McCullough, again. I just love this book, if you haven't read it, please do so. As I was reading I came across this entry that really hit home:(1)

Certain precepts and bywords were articles of faith in such a place (Independence, Missouri), in such times (1890-1905), and nearly everybody growing up there was imbued with them, in principle at least:
Honesty was the best policy. It saved time and worry, because if you always told the truth you never had to keep track of what you said.
Make yourself useful.
Anything worthwhile required effort.
If at first you don't succeed, try again. "Never, never give up," Harry's father would say.
Children were a reflection of their parents. "Now Harry, you be good," his mother would tell him time after time after he went out the door.
He appears never to have questioned such dictates, any more than he questioned the established inequality of black people. "In those days," he would remember, "right was right and wrong was wrong, and you didn't have to talk about it."
Many of the most familiar guidelines came directly from the Bible: "Honor thy father and mother." "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings." "Be of good cheer."
From Sunday School and his own reading of the Bible, Harry knew many passages by heart—particularly Matthew 5, 6, and 7, the Sermon on the Mount. "Ye are the salt of the earth...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works..."
He memorized a prayer, one he would say through much of his life:

Oh! Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of Heaven, Earth and the Universe:
Help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right; make me truthful, honest and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me. Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving and patient with my fellowmen—help me to understand their motives and their shortcomings―even as Thou understandest mine!
Amen, Amen, Amen

Say what you mean, mean what you say, he was taught at home. Keep your word. Never get too big for your britches. Never forget a friend.
They were more than words-to-the-wise, they were bedrock, as clearly established, as integral to the way of life, it seemed, as were the very landmarks of the community, its schools, church steeples, and courthouse. Not everyone lived up to them, of course, but to Harry it seemed everyone ought to try.

I figured out in thinking about this, why I want our leaders to have such character, and be above the common man and the common sin: It is because this is what I want for myself. I figured out why I distain the dishonesty of Nixon, JFK, Clinton, and the like: It is because I am angry at myself for having acted with low moral judgment and character in the past.

I used to think like many of you: 'What matters in their personal life does not matter in their job.' I now no longer believe that. I have come to believe that what are leaders do, what JFK, LBJ, Nixon, and Clinton, did, was to tear at the moral fabric foundation of this nation. There has been a 48-year deteriorating effect that must be reversed. I think that their moral and personal makeup has had unconscious repercussions on the nation that most people are not aware of.

Hillary and McCain seem like just a continuation of the past, the same general machine that has been in place since 1980. I would also like to see a president from more modest means. Hillary came from a fairly well off family, McCain's father and grandfather were both admirals. I think George W. Bush (43) has NO clue what so ever what the little guy is going through. Obama is the closest, of the current three candidates, to the common man.

I just don't know if any president can put this country right. We need a long term plan on the U.S. Dollar. We need a long term plan on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Oil is the #1 component that is pervasive in every little thing that we do. Energy and health care are the two most challenging issues facing the small American. If we came up with a comprehensive energy program the rally in the Dollar would be massive. Imagine if the price of gasoline and diesel was back to $1.50 or $1.00 tomorrow? Would that would mean to every man, woman, and child, in this country. In every thing that they buy. What if we had taken the $1 trillion that we have spent in Iraq and put that to ENERGY? Or HEALTH CARE? That amount in a trust fund-pool would have probably paid for every man, woman, and child making under $50,000 in this country with FULL-COVERAGE health insurance for life.

Instead of giving spenders $300 or $600 bucks, a one-time band-aid (as George W. Bush is doing now); what if we gave small companies a three month full depreciation pass on all new capital equipment? A full tax-free write-off if the buy in the second or third quarter of this year (2008). Sure, I'll like my little $300 bucks, but a better solution to help a recession, and help the U.S. economy long term, would be a capital expenditure tax break. A program like that, with a limited 3-month window to be used this year, would create jobs where some poor guy could get $300 a month, or a week, every month (or week). It would create jobs. $300 one time in the hands of consumers will just mean buying more goods made in China, and then it is gone.

I wish Hillary would just go away, and lets get to work on long term solutions. Otherwise, I think I would just like to move to another country.

*1-McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster, p.54-55. ISBN 0671869205

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