Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Spaniard's Case For McCain and Against Obama

November 4th is approaching and those who are undecided are beginning to make up their minds. I want to present my reasons for supporting John McCain for President and why an Obama Presidency brings to my mind deeply uncomfortable thoughts.

In full disclosure, I must say to all of you that I am not a US citizen yet. My immigration status is known technically as US Lawful Permanent Resident, commonly known as "green card holder". My status in the US is, for most practical purposes, similar to that of a US citizen except that I cannot vote in those elections which require US citizenship, ie the vast majority of elections held in the US. What that means is that in everything else I have most of the same rights and obligations of a US citizen, including my eligibility for the US Army draft. I also plan to apply for US citizenship next year, so my interest in who will be the next US President goes beyond a mere curiosity from a foreigner who lives in the US.

Simply put, I cannot be truthful to my reasons for willing to become a US citizen without passionately supporting John McCain in what has been called the most important election since 1980. This has nothing to do with calling Obama unpatriotic, although the latter's own statements on his reasons for not wearing a US flag pin would raise alarms on any reasonable person, but with the vision of America that captured my imagination as a child and teenager. Is that vision, that I received through American movies and TV, that triggered my desire to work hard so I could come to the US to seek the American Dream.

So what vision am I talking about? I fell in love with the America that gives every individual an opportunity to raise by himself regardless of his economic or family background. An America where individual freedom is the creed upon which its patriotism is based. An America where individual enterprise created the technology breakthroughs that have changed the world in which we live. An America that rewards individual merit while she is generous with the less fortunate of society. An America whose powerful Army has been used mostly as a force for good, unlike the different European armies that have been used mostly to subjugate neighbors and the rest of the world. In summary, an America that promises to those who give the best they have in themselves that success will follow their hard work and dedication. The last eight years haven't been perfect and frankly, George W Bush, mainly through an incompetent administration, has made a lot of damage to that vision of America. Whatever mistakes Bush made however, do not justify giving the highest office in the land to an individual, Barack Obama, whose vision for America is nothing like what grabbed my imagination as a kid but that sounds a lot like the European nightmare that I lived before coming to the US.

So, what nightmare I am talking about? Well, a society where the economic and social status where you are born pretty much determine your future. A society that provides universal state funded education and health care but with the catch that the government, not the individual, decides which school you attend and which doctor you go to. A society where asking a powerful politician a simple question can put you and your family in trouble (does the Joe the Plumber story sound familiar?). A society where mediocrity is rewarded and excellence punished (convince yourself by looking at the list of the best world universities and count the number of European universities there). A society where the "old money" still controls businesses, where chronic high unemployment exists because some people find it a better deal to receive government checks than to help themselves by having a job. A society where if you take a look at the largest companies, by almost any measure, 30 years ago you'll discover little change with respect to the largest companies today (in the US companies such as Google didn't exist 30 years ago; others like Microsoft or Apple were garage startups back then). A society where the last time the Europeans had armies comparable to the present US army in size and influence, they brought us World War II (ethnic nationalism is so ingrained in each European country that the only way the different European countries have found to be good neighbors is to have armies so weakened that they don't pose any serious threat to each other). Do I really need to continue?

When I hear the Obama/Biden ticket talking about "spreading the wealth around", "giving government checks to people who don't pay income taxes", "government mandated health care insurance", "negotiating without preconditions with the crappiest dictators of the world", rhetoric that puts the government playing an intrusive role in people's lives, education, free enterprise, science and technology, deciding when an individual is too rich for his own good... I get reminded of what I left behind in Spain. When in addition I see the press lynching a private citizen who dared ask a question to Obama or Biden avoiding the journalists who ask him hard questions, I am fearful that an Obama regime would make incidents such as Valerie Plame's the norm, not the exception.

For all these reasons, I cannot but wholeheartedly support John McCain for President.

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