McCain And Palin: What Happened To Truthfulness?

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[The View From Europe: Election 2008]

Although media and the average punter in continental Western Europe deem that the first debate of this year’s U.S. presidential balloting on September 26, in Oxford, Magnolia State, between Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, eventuated in a draw, many admit that the Republican presidential hopeful kept harping on his hackneyed line that he’s more experienced than the Democratic candidate whereas the latter showed his command of the issues of the day – the topics that exercise the minds of Americans.

In addition, people in Europe argue that Sen. Obama proved he’s very knowledgeable about defense and foreign affairs matters. His concept of “direct diplomacy” or “face-to-face diplomacy” is being espoused by diplomats world-wide and in the U.S. – including by conservatives.

Effective “direct diplomacy” can better pre-empt wars, which many a time hog and squander large portions of crucial resources that would have been plowed into to the economy, in order to create jobs, more business firms, more values; to bring about  more security and more health care; to tackle inequalities and to better fund the military.  

Prior to, or in the run-up to, the debate, folks here in Europe were dumbfounded by Sen. McCain’s strange procrastination withreference to the first presidential debate. They saw through, like former Republican candidate Mike Huckabee observed that Sen. McCain’s gambit and bid was to dodge that debate and stall for time.

Indeed, the former Arkansas governor observed on September 25 that the Republican candidate made a “huge mistake” by confabulating with Sen. Obama about canceling the debate. He added that a president must be poised to “deal with the unexpected”. Hear him: “You can’t just say, ‘World, stop for a moment. I’m going to cancel everything.’”

This exactly echoes the view Sen. Obama hat expressed when he declared that a president should be able to address many urgent issues and pressing problems simultaneously.

McCain’s egregious slip-up was worsened by Gov. Sarah Palin’s inaccurate contention -- according to CBS News Weekend Round-up commentator Charles Grodin -- that Gov. Palin falsely declared that her state, Alaska, contributes 20 percent to the U.S. energy supply. CBS News’ Grodin was up in arms about such a fib. Checks by CBS News revealed that Alaska contributes only around 3.5 percent to the energy supply utilized in the U.S.

No doubt, there’s a huge difference and margin between 20 percent and 3.5 percent. Many will surely cringe at the fact that Gov. Palin who claims to be a Christian resorted to such a fib. Has she publicly apologized for that? How come the Governor of Alaska is not even familiar with the correct percentage?  

She may not know that transparency is one of the core values of the global world of the 21st century, and that people, rulers, officials and leaders overseas who hear about such a doublethink and fib can regard the Republican slate as unreliable, untruthful and unpredictable. Truthfulness, reliability and predictability count in today’s diplomacy. Can the Iranians and other people the U.S. needs to deal with trust somebody who practices doublethink and at least fibs?

Unlike Sen. Obama and Sen. Biden, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin haven’t been seriously vetted yet -- by most media and Christian communities -- with regard to their biblical Christianity. The fact that the latter do not always abide by the rules of the game is alarming. The Bible says: “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” – 2 Timothy 2: 5. Let those who have ears hear.

Black Star News Columnist Mathias V. Ntep is a PhD candidate at the University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany.   

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