Clergy Corner: How do the candidates stack up? - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Clergy Corner: How do the candidates stack up?

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Posted: Friday, September 19, 2008 3:36 pm | Updated: 11:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Is it possible to write an article selecting a candidate in the present presidential elections without being partisan? I'm going to try.

I'm registered independent.

I'm a member of the Baha'i faith, which requires that I not participate in partisan politics. The divisiveness exacerbated by partisan political campaigns is destructive of the unity of purpose necessary to accomplish the noble aspirations set forth in our founding documents. President George Washington warned us, "Beware of partisan politics" when he left office

I'm both liberal and conservative. I'm liberal on social issues such as Social Security, unemployment compensation, the vote for women, American Indians, African Americans and nonproperty owners. I'm conservative on moral values like honesty and truthfulness in our discourse and applying the Golden Rule in our interactions with others.

Both candidates for president of the U.S. are honorable men and are able public servants. Their running mates are also honorable and very capable people. The country could be well served by either of them. However, we can cast our vote for only one team, so what might be the deciding factors?

Let's examine five variables to see how the candidates stack up:

Education: Number one at Harvard Law School and professor of constitutional law for 10 years at the University of Chicago, compared to the other who was near the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md. Large advantage to Obama.

Experience: Five years prisoner of war and 26 years in the U.S. Senate, compared to three years as social services community organizer, eight years in the Illinois State Legislature and two years in the U.S. Senate. Advantage McCain.

Symbol: The visible spokesperson for the nation. That was President Kennedy's greatest asset. No contest. Obama is best qualified to recapture lost prestige among other nations.

Moral behavior: Up by his bootstraps, no womanizing, strong family values, appeals to all races, classes, religions and nations compared to another senior, white, Protestant, establishment person closely allied to the regime that just gave the U.S. an unnecessary war, trillions of dollars of debt, a staggering economy and where 90 percent of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to peace. Not to mention questionable personal moral behavior with his first wife and selection of his second wife. Obama overwhelming advantage.

Policy: One refocuses on the needs of the middle class, diplomacy first, and military action as a last resort and ending the war in Iraq and pursuing terrorists as worldwide cooperative police action. That compared to the tax break for the wealthy, continuation of pre-emptive attacks to perceived threats and continuing present ineffective policies toward terrorists. McCain appeals to the rich, Obama to the middle class and poor.

You make the choice.

I am part of five million Baha'is worldwide who hold local, national and global elections without any nominating, campaigning, speech making, running for office or spending money to get elected.

Kenneth R. Jeffers of Eloy is former administrator of the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Ill., and a board member of Arizona Interfaith Movement. (kennethrjeffers@gmail.com)

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