TRAVIS WALTERS News Editor
In US History courses across the United States students are taught about the men and women who forged our nation from the rugged unbeaten terrain before them, and the threat of political and religious oppression behind them. The history classes we took were the same. The countless stories of suffering and great cost in lives and personal fortune of the founders are told each day in classrooms, just as were told in the past. We grow up with a deep respect and reverence for the institutions that make up our government, the persons that hold these offices, and for the offices themselves.
Or at least we did. We live with these principles each day. And each day they slowly unwind until as last we arrive at the election occurring this year. An election where we are told with all frankness that a governor has foreign policy experience by simple fact that her state is next to another country. What sort of nation would we have now if Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Washington and all the members of the Continental Congress made decisions based on their approximate location or experience? What would our Declaration of Independence have looked like to King George if instead of getting a great writer such as Jefferson; we instead sent whatever the equivalent of a writer at People would be?
I wondered what the founders would say. Adams would most assuredly laugh. Worse yet, what if Aaron Burr heard that? There would be fist-a-cuffs and gun play. How should I as a citizen react when told that the future Vice President is qualified because they live near something? I reacted with confusion and thought, “Well they have to say something. She is vehemently unqualified.” Or, how am I supposed to react when I hear she, a journalism major, can’t name any newspapers she reads?
I couldn’t believe they used proximity as experience. It was therefore more surprising when on Oct. 3 Richard Fontaine, senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, said, “In fact, I saw, I guess it was last week, that his old girlfriend in Brazil has been found from his early days when he was in the Navy and was interviewed. She’s a somewhat older woman now than she was then, but it sorta speaks to the long experience he has had in the region — in the most positive terms.” I tried with all the fiber in my being to stretch the considerable limits of logic and reason to accept the Russia being close to Alaska farce. I simply cannot, and will not, accept that sleeping with someone 50 years ago makes a person an expert on the region. You’d at least have to meet up every five years for some sort of re-qualification process, and I can’t see that going over very well either.
These offices inspire a nation to do great things. The founders created a system of checks and balances to force people together; that no one group was above the rest. What would we be saying to future generations of Americans, and to the world community at large, if we sent to office a person with experience through proximity? That you needn’t learn or develop your own identity as a person? You need only be near someone who will succeed?