In Support Of My Candidate, My Friend, John Reid Edwards
by Todd Bennett, Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 01:35:25 AM EDT
It has been a while since I have posted a diary on mydd. I could tell you that I have been busy. I could tell you that I have been out of town on business. I could tell you a lot of things, but the truth is the main reason I have not posted here is because I did not feel that my anger has sufficiently lowered to the point where I can engage in respectable political discourse. Though I am still angry, I am going to attempt to engage because my candidate deserves no less of an effort on my part.
As for the level of discourse on this blog, it has degenerated to the point where I am beginning to wonder if it has been taken over by a cadre of high school students. I myself am not without blame for this, however, I understand that dignity and grace are key components of a champion and if someone truly hopes for their candidate to be victorious, dignity and grace are pre-requisites.
It was cold and blustery in Manchester, New Hampshire, in early January 2004, not the kind of cold where you need a jacket. No, this was the kind of mind-bending, breath-reducing cold that one would only endure if you truly believed in the candidate. For me, at that time, my candidate was General Clark. No one else could get me to New Hampshire, not in January. While in the course of canvassing, we happened to run across supporters of the other candidates. I myself happened along a young senator from North Carolina by the name of John Edwards. We struck up a conversation, discussed the importance of the election, he agreed with my opinion of General Clark and then said something to me that made him unforgettable. He said that if General Clark happened to withdraw, he would be honored and humbled to have someone who was willing to come up to New Hampshire from Missouri and endure this kind of cold join his team. He also said let the good folks of Missouri know he cares about them. Now he didn't say that like a senator, you see, there was no distance. He said it like my brother. Though I didn't know it then, I was very soon to join his team.
Fast forward to spring 2005, and a Missouri state senate candidate, Rick Johnson was in deep trouble in his race. Faced with an unscrupulous Republican challenger and the Democrat turned Independent, the local Democratic Party desperately needed some energy. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Arnold, Missouri, John Edwards came to help a friend. Those aren't my words, those were his. Rick, sadly did not win that race, sometimes champions don't hold the trophy. But on that day, after his speech, John came up to me and said, much to my surprise, "good to see you again, Todd". I told him it is not many people who get to shake a future presidents hand, not once, but twice and would you believe what that son of a mill worker said, he said, and I can't forget what he said "that that meant so much to him but that he wanted me to know that it was an honor for him to shake mine". Where no cameras were, where no microphones could hear, a classy gentleman showed me friendship. I don't know how he remembered my name, though I know some of our staff ran across after our meeting in New Hampshire and we all kind of melded after the convention, but I can tell you that the respect he showed me was not fake. Much to my shame, I've bought into notions that looking back on it now sickened me. After making my apologies, I have come to my senses and have jumped to his defense.
I will not use this post to try to sway votes. I will not use this post to disparage my fellow bloggers. I only ask that you show a man who cares about you more than you will ever know the respect and decency that you would show to a friend. Because whether you know it or not, you do indeed have a friend in John Edwards. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I am certain he is going to win. I am not his supporter because I think he will win. I am his supporter because I think he is right. Every bit of DNA the Democratic Party has in its' blood courses through the veins of John Edwards. Everything we were raised to believe in or have grown to believe in is embodied by John Edwards. With that in mind, I want all of us the next time we see a homeless person to think of that scrappy son of a mill worker. You should realize that he has spent a good portion of his life, not just his political career, but his life trying to do something about this tragedy. The next time you see New Orleans, I want you to think of the people John Edwards hugged, who he consoled. The next time you hear about the California wildfires, I want you to think about the fact that he was the first one to speak out and pressure this administration for assistance. And the next time you see a flag draped coffin, pray to god that it isn't one of your family in that box, be thankful if it isn't, and pray for whoever is in that box and their family and realize one thing: that on the floor of the Senate people-including candidates for this nomination, had an opportunity to display in action that they had truly learned a lesson and would not again doom this nation to the consequences of the deeds of the blind and ignorant and failed to do so. One man has stood up consistently in this campaign. One man has criss-crossed this nation trying to rectify his mistake and one man traverses this nation unabashedly and without equivocation trying to stop another war, proving that he has learned his lesson and that he is worthy of our vote.
My friend and yours, John Edwards, has in the course of his lifetime buried a son and may yet have to bury his wife. For those who would question his strength and his integrity, I have but one response to you: it takes a very strong and dignified man to bury his son and face the very real possibility of burying his wife yet still have the character to do everything he can to keep his nation from being buried too. What pray tell, have YOU, Edwards detractors, been contributing to the cause of saving our country?
cross-posted at http://waveofblue.blogspot.com/