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Turning positives into negatives

(Credit: Politirazzi)

By LaShawnda Jones

I’ve never aspired to mediocrity. I know people who don’t care to do much with their lives, but then again they don’t think they’re missing out on much. I know people who are doing the best they can, but maybe to you they wouldn’t look like much. People live their lives as they are, not as we would have them be.

Never in the history of the world has a population sought average leaders. When warlords were conquering empires, the strongest man led the strongest army. The industrial revolution was brought about by the most innovative and acute businessmen. The Civil Rights movement was brought to the national stage by someone who had a powerful command of language and a great desire to unite. Average does not win wars. Average does not bring about change. Average does not inspire.

The McCain and Friends campaign strategy of attacking Sen. Obama’s character is nothing more than a list of complaints about Obama’s impressive presence, his extraordinary ability to connect with people, and his amazing talent to inspire citizens to involve themselves in the selection process of our topmost representative. McCain and Friends mocked Obama’s eloquence. McCain derided the sheer size of the crowds coming out to see Obama domestically and abroad. Those against Obama sneer at his concern for the everyday American and his desire to provide livable benefits for citizens who may have stopped believing in the power of their voice. In high school, we said these mean girl tactics were powered by jealousy.When I was growing up, I heard about people making lemonade from the lemons they were thrown in life. I leaned about turning negatives into positives and was encouraged to focus on the positive over the negative. As a result, I’ve been repeatedly flabbergasted when Obama was derided, first by Sen. Hillary Clinton, then by Sen. John McCain, for his “eloquent speech” they claimed were just words with no substance.

How did “eloquence” become a dirty word for an elected official? How can a senior senator like McCain seriously run a campaign suggesting common jargon and expression is preferable to integrity, honor and self-respect (which make words sound eloquent)?

I guess it boils down to perspective. If you’ve belittled yourself so much during the course of a campaign that you find yourself looking up at Obama’s staggering ascension from the lowness of the dung heap you’re frolicking in, then any word leaving Obama’s mouth would appear to be lofty beyond your comprehension. There is no other way Obama’s positive traits and abilities would appear negative. After all, who would suggest we make lemons out of lemonade? It doesn’t work in the reverse.

Even as the McCain campaign attempted to minimize Obama’s freshness, they tried in vain to gloss over McCain and Palin’s sour over-ripeness.

McCain is campaigning to offload a mediocre leadership team on us. Judith Warner wrote an op-ed piece in which she paraphrased Bella Abzug:

“Women will truly have arrived when the most mediocre among us will be able to do just as well as the most mediocre of men.”

In this respect, Palin would be a female version of President Bush. But I would like to think I’ve arrived and I aspire to far better than the best of either sex.

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