We Indians are quite used to the rethoric and venom in an election campaign, and quite honestly it shouldn't come across as a surprise that our politicians can be utterly ridiculous to totally no-holds-barred. In a land where quotes such as "Merchants of Death" are a common place, the current vitrol in the US Presidential Campaign might not quite be as high voltage din as our own politicians can create.
John McCain's running mate recently accused Obama of "palling up with terrorists" ... now as much as I know, the BJP has for the four and half years accused our UPA government of the same - "being soft on terror" is their catch phrase.
However, what politicians call one another nasty things isn't my concern... after all, cynically speak you don't expect them to sign peans of one another... for the otherwise meaningless theatre of politics but then be bereft of its color and fun. What concerns me is how politicians can be blatantly shameless at acknowledging the good aspects of their opponents in the heat of the election battle.
When John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee was faced with a similar choice at a campaign rally at Minnesota. A lady said to McCain "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab." Now McCain, could have been a regular politician and gone hammer and tongs, giving more reasons to the lady why indeed she should not trust him, and I guess the Arab factor needn't have figured much. He could have repeated how "naive and dangerous" Obama could be... how Obama "doesn't understand", how Obama is a "liberal" and all those things about Obama & Ayers which Palin has already been shouting her head off with!
But surprisingly, to me and certainly to a lot of those in that crowd, McCain trugged off saying -
"No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man...[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is all about."Ah... I had to double check that twice before I could acctually believed what I read. I crossed with the same news on a few other websites to ensure I got those lines right. Indeed, McCain has those very words. Words which well and truly make him a Statesman in my book... How often have we seen such a stance in our times?? How often, do we hear a politician call his opponent "a decent family man". McCain made his point in those four words... not having to eulogising about in a manner which makes its obvious that he hardly means any of it, McCain addressed it in the most simple, personal and effective manner.
Goes on to show, that the Oldest Democracy in the world has indeed learnt a few good lessons in these two centuries of its existence. True political tolerance is indeed in being able to stand the guy whom you call an opponent, stand the fact that he is just as good.
Sure, this doesn't stop the campaign, the disagreements, the barrage of ads, nothing... but what it does is that it makes you stop and think. Cos its not often as you would hear an opponent say the following about a guy without whom he is bitterly fighting for the most powerful office in the world (though the credit crisis might have shaved billions of dollars worth power off it already)
"But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States."Though, the crowd at Minnesota booed McCain, I cannot help but Salute this great American War Hero!!