Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCain's Sincere Rhetoric

Fiuh, just done with eight youtube videos about Obama-McCain Faith Forum with Rick Warren. Had no intention to eat up the whole thing, but the pertaining questions about faith and value - not just the trivial I-know-it already questions - really hooked me up. And I decide to dedicate one entry for this forum just because it covers faith and sometimes, the response to such question reveals people's true nature.  

On the question about faith, both candidates answered it gracefully and tactfully; mentioning terms like 'died for my sins, saved by faith and forgiven' was a safe and sound answer which definitely brought them to the next round. It was on the couple of questions following that which made the distinctions and I want to bring the spotlight to McCain for a while. 

I personally think that he was much more comfortable with the questions, responding in a direct and straight answers. On the question about abortion and when a baby is entitled for human rights, he assertively said "at the moment of conception" while Obama made a lengthy yet well argued argument on his position as a pro-choice. On another critical issue about marriage, both agreed to the definition of "an union between men and women" but Obama refused to approve a constitutional bill defining the policy and McCain would let the states decide on that. On a question of whether evil exists and what we should do about it, McCain short answer was, to the audience's applause, "defeat it". (click here to see the event's highlight)

I am no expert in politics, but speaking as a teenager who was raised as a Christian and observing from the lens of an amateur, I feel that McCain knew what he was talking about. He knew and picked his stand, responding in a direct, one-sided, either-or answers. On the other hand, Obama was full of nuance. I got this impression that he was standing in the middle of this continuum and trying to appeal to both polars. 

So, who is more religious? I don't think it boils down into that question since most of the issues were not black and white. But, McCain's definitive answers, coupled with powerful stories, had successfully earned my favor. First, it showed who he is; he sticked to his belief and without even the slightest hesitation, shot his answers directly to the point. No compromising, no dilly-dallying and that was the 'Wow' feature over there.

Second, he presented himself on a personal level with the audience by sharing strong emotional stories to which the audience can relate. People always want to know your personal story and McCain had successfully embedded the 'pathos' flavor, built the common ground with the audience, and showed his long record of service and religious involvement. 

I also respect his humbleness in admitting his greatest moral mistake: his first marriage. You know, to run for a president and to admit such personal failure in a public requires some guts and some people might hiss at the idea. That's because we don't want others to see our weaknesses. In a world where strength is worshipped and every individual masters the art of disguise, a simple act of actually admitting your flaw deserves respect. 

To wrap up (finally), and this entry is getting much longer than I expected, I feel McCain had the upper hands on this forum. I don't necessarily have to agree with all his answers, so do Obama's, but leaving the quality of their answers behind and focusing on their style and rhetoric, I would say, this particular time, McCain's core values allow him to take off the political mask which too often veiled presidential candidate's true nature. His gestures and confidence prove my point, and it was crystal clear. (plus Obama might want to work on his fillers, he would have gotten 20 points taken off if this were BUSADM 499 class)


the soul singer said...

Hey... you really can write! Enjoy reading your writing, and your analysis has improved so much ... I guess the college education does equip you for this :)

Gerry C Joeng said...

tengkyu2. enjoy writing it too. it's still a shallow analysis, but, who cares? hehe..

Joe said...

cong! Bangga gue cong ama elu cong! Top abis!!! In general gue setuju sama elu, tapi harus dipertimbangkan pula bahwa tidak semua konfiksi pribadi bisa dijadikan basis untuk memimpin bangsa - dimana keadilan dan equality must be fought for everybody.

purwosari said...

wah cong, asik ada yang wrap up, hehehe.. gw amazed sama elu dalam mencari tahu hal2 yang terjadi di sekitar elu, sehingga elu bisa menjadi part of it and make impact. keep writing cong, biar gw ikut updated, hehehe..

Gerry C Joeng said...

wah tengkyu2 joe and ci helen u/ komen2nya. seneng rasanya klo bnyak yg baca blognya,hehe.