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Above His Pay Grade? Editorial September 2008

Rich Bott

Friends this is Rich Bott with an editorial comment.

I grew up in Missouri. I went to high school in Independence, the hometown of Harry Truman. I still remember the high school field trip when we visited the Truman library. In it, they had a replica of the Oval Office during the Truman Administration. That’s when I saw it, right there on his desk, a sign that boldly stated, “The Buck Stops Here.” Harry Truman wasn’t flashy. Harry Truman was a leader. He knew how to accept responsibility and make tough decisions to win World War II, secure the peace and bring our troops home in victory and honor.

As a young kid in High School, that sign on Harry Truman’s desk made an impression on me. That’s why I was shocked with Senator Barrack Obama’s answer at the Saddleback forum. Pastor Rick Warren asked him, “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?” Senator Barack Obama said “Answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” I thought, “Above his Pay Grade?…He wants to be President of the United States of America… How can he try to ‘pass the buck’ on the most important moral question of our day?” He went on to state that he was “Pro-choice” on abortion. You know, even the phrase “Pro-Choice” is a disingenuous euphemism. I’m so glad President Abraham Lincoln was not “Pro-Choice” on slavery, and that he signed the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in America. He could have said, like Obama, that the question of slavery was above his “pay grade.” Great presidents don’t say things like that. They know the buck stops on their desk, and they do what’s right.

Senator John McCain didn’t have to think about it. His answer to the same question was striking by its contrast. Without hesitation he emphatically stated, “At the moment of conception. I have a 25 year pro-life record in the Congress, in the Senate, and as President of the United States I will be a pro-life President and this Presidency will have pro-life policies. That’s my commitment to you.” Wow! That’s a leader. That’s a President.

You know Missouri is the “Show Me” state. Don’t just tell me, Show Me…then I’ll know you mean it. Well, Senator John McCain showed me he really meant what he said at Saddleback when he selected Governor Sarah Palin to be his Vice Presidential running mate.

For me when you consider the most important issues of our day: Sanctity of Life, Sanctity of Marriage, Constitutionalist Judges, Parental Choice in Education, Strong National Defense and Energy Independence, with character and leadership that’s been tested by fire, the choice is clear.

It’s only a few weeks until the election in November. Don’t sit this one out. By all means register to vote, and vote, but do more than that. Get involved. Volunteer, sponsor a voter registration drive in your church or civic group. Spread the word and tell everyone you know. It’s that important. It could be the most important election in my lifetime, perhaps yours too. As a citizen this buck stops on your desk too. Don’t pass the buck. Get involved. Make a difference.

Thank you and God bless you!


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