What I Hope to Learn from the Presidential Debates

With the presidential election looming, I freely confess I don’t really understand how anyone, including the chosen candidates for our two main political parties, can affect the major issues of our time. Part of the job of a leader is to teach; so I am hopeful that during the presidential debates the candidates will give us simple explanations about how the actions they plan to take will affect our nation (and me!). Which candidate can make our nation great again, make it good again, make me proud to be a U. S. citizen again, promise me that his decisions will always be based on moral principles?

When Harry Truman was president, there was a sign on his desk. “The buck stops here.” Truman made one of the toughest decisions any president has ever made–the decision to drop atom bombs inJapan. That action ended World War II.

After the war Truman led our nation to true greatness in the way we dealt with our fallen enemies in post-war Japan and Germany.

Truman was a no-nonsense former haberdasher who brought his middle class values to the White House. He wasn’t ashamed to defend his daughter when a columnist wrote disparagingly about her singing talent.  He stood up for those he loved and believed in—and he stood up for our country.

I like it that every four years we have another chance to choose a president who is passionate about right and wrong and willing to make the hard decisions that demonstrate the leadership and moral values of the United States to the rest of the world.

Each time I vote, I’m hoping to vote for someone with resolution and decency. I hope when all you other citizens go to the polls in November you will have the same principle in mind.

Betty Killebrew

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The Prince Harry Outrage

Today, August 22, 2012, Matt Lauer said on the NBC Today Show that NBC thought hard before deciding to air naked pictures of Prince Harry. All that hard thinking must have scrambled a few brains because they aired them anyway.

The pictures were appalling—two naked people in skin to skin contact. The black bands placed over the private princely parts could not override the obscenity of the photos. What was NBC thinking?

I don’t yet know if other networks followed their lead. After I saw the pictures on the screen—and if there was a warning, I missed it—I finished dressing and went to work; but if every network in the world airs the photos, NBC will be no less culpable and I will condemn each and every network that does so.

One would assume that a person could watch a morning news show without being exposed to lewd and indecent behavior.  Prince or trash man, such pictures are inappropriate. When I think of the millions of children who could have—and may have—seen this princely display of bad taste, I am incensed.  NBC—Shame on you. 

Betty Killebrew, Editor


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The Last Election Revisited

Trovemagazine.com was inspired by a small circulation print publication called Trove Mini-Magazine which was published quarterly for 12 years. It ceased publication because it was operating at an ever-increasing loss due to the high cost of production; but It was still in publication the last time we had a presidential election and I wrote the following Klattering Keys column for the Sept. 2008 issue. I reread it today and find it worthy of republishing here.

Lest you wonder, I now know that I absolutely should have voted against the 2008 winner and I know who I will vote for in the upcoming election.  Romney and Ryan are more that stuffed shirt candidates representing the right. They are men of action. They want this country to lower its debt. They want our citizens to have more jobs.  These are good things; and yes, as they make these things happen a few people may acquire a little wealth along the way. That’s the way the economy works.

Heres the reprinted article:

Presidential Candidates—Oh, my!

The election is coming and I am struggling with a lack of conviction for either candidate.

Many voters think Obama is exciting.  Thousands upon thousands of our European friends apparently think so too.  Should I be glad that an American presidential candidate is so well-received?  Probably I should.

The reality is that I am feeling a little doubt crowding the corners of my mind.  I find myself wondering if Obama is too good to be true.  Here are some very good things that are believed by many about this candidate—and let me hasten to assure you that I am one of those believers.

Obama is a decent man.  (He’s a husband and father and has not brought disgrace upon his family.  I think he qualifies as decent.)

He is charismatic.   (Did you see the crowd of 200,000 people that gathered in one spot in Europe to see him and hear him speak?)

He is eloquent.  (No doubt about this one–he can hold a crowd in the palm of his hand.  It does remain to be seen whether he can speak as eloquently when answering “off the cuff.”  Some say that’s a problem.)

He is a symbol of hope for our nation.  (Also true! He is young, good looking and relatively untried in politics. We can all have hope that not being well-acquainted with “business-as-usual” Washington, he won’t fall victim to those worn out, disapproved methods.)

He’s against the war in Iraq. (Sure is, wants to end it.)

So what’s wrong with the guy?  (Nobody’s perfect!)

Why, you ask, does a man with so many sterling qualities make me nervous?

He is a decent man.  (I.e. we trust him.)

He is charismatic. (If he gets elected, we’re all going to embrace and adore him.)

He is eloquent.  (Keeps the crowd mesmerized.)

He is a symbol of hope for our nation. 

He wants to end the war in Iraq.  (Terrific idea, but don’t we really want to accomplish our goals first?)

Yep—it’s all those wonderful things about Obama that worry me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing him of being a tyrant or of seeking to be an absolute dictator; but I have read a few history books and I’ve watched old newsreels.

I saw film of the people of Germany gazing raptly at Hitler and screaming until they were hoarse. ( As he did the same thing.)  There were undoubtedly high hopes in that nation that Hitler would turn things around and make a new beginning.  He in fact did so—he made a new beginning of war and tyranny that led to the devastation of Germany.

Was Hitler always evil?  I don’t know.  I certainly don’t think he was ever as squeaky clean and caring as Barack Obama, but I do believe in the beginning he hoped to do great things for his people.  He was so adored that he came to believe that only he could accomplish what he wanted done.  So he eloquently and with charisma solicited the enthusiasm of the people and became their absolute leader.

I’m not saying I think Obama has the makings of a Hitler.  What I’m saying is that it’s not healthy for him or for us to like him TOO MUCH! Perhaps we should ignore his good looks and his silver tongue and keep a close eye on what he actually does.

We’re tired of the way things are; but one man won’t make our country strong and invincible, prosperous and respected. We can only bring those things to pass by always participating in our civic duties of voting in elections and then keeping an eye on the officials we elect so they never abuse our trust.

Our country’s founders wisely built many safeguards into our constitution and the way it delineates the duties of the various branches of the government, so there will probably never be a Hitler in the United States. If you want to elect Obama, I won’t worry overly much about the power he may derive from your approval.  I promise I will entertain a healthy–yet suspicious–hope for our future.

Of course, there’s another candidate standing at his podium awaiting a change of residence to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I bet you’re all wondering what I think of him.

Here’s the list:

He’s a hero and a patriot. (Every election calls for fingers to point out those scoundrels who failed to fight in our nation’s just wars. Military records are always scrutinized. Well, when we look at McCain, we see the American soldier we have always longed to elect.)

John McCain is experienced–a tried and true politician and candidate.   (Hmmm, business as usual?)

He’s good looking.  (Well he’s not young and gorgeous, but he makes a fine presentation, showcasing his erect carriage and a well-preserved, well-exercised body He has a pleasant look on his face… I’ll say it all simply in one sentence.  He looks like, Mr. Nice Guy.)

He is decent.  (Believe you me; if a candidate has any dirty secrets, they are ferreted out by the ferocious element of the press known as reporters.)

He’s for continuing the war in Iraq.  Yes, he’s for continuing; he wants to win.  (Is he an imperialistic war-monger?)

He is smart and a pretty good speaker.  (I have seen John McCain make some really good points in debates.  He knows what he believes and he sticks to his plan.  All right…so his learned speeches bore me.  I’m used to a lot of excitement in my live.  Maybe the rest of you like him just the way he is.  If so, you will probably vote for him unless, on the way to the polls, you happen to hear an Obama speech and you become convinced that after all, it is Barack, who holds the hope of our nation in his slender expressive hands.

But you will vote one way or the other, and a president will be chosen.  As for me, I would never fail to appear at the polls—it’s my civic obligation.  However, when I look at my ballot, I may be completely undecided. As in the past, I may stare at the names and then say to myself.  “Those confident voters that know exactly why they want one candidate over another should really be allowed to choose.  If I just leave my ballot blank, I won’t cross-out the vote of some informed voter who knows who he or she really wants in office.”

And I will step out of the booth and deposit my blank ballot in the locked box and go back home and wait patiently to find out who I wish I had voted against.

Those of you who cast valid ballots will choose someone who will start out squeaky clean and possessed of perfect wisdom. (Either candidate will fit that bill for a while.) Whoever that may be, when the honeymoon is over, I’ll join the ones who didn’t vote in that direction and complain profusely.

Betty Killebrew

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