Voters to make history

Contributing writer

The Presidential campaign gets livelier and livelier. With only three viable candidates still in the running, it seems certain that this year's election will be a major historical event. We will elect the oldest President ever inaugurated, the first woman President, or the first African-American President. All three seem to be intelligent people who (if I may speak frankly) would be a vast improvement over George W. Bush.

Since I am a woman and a senior citizen who has as much respect for the black race as for the white, you would not think I would harbor any prejudice against any of those categories. However, I do have some qualms about the stamina of a President who is older than I am. Frankly, I do not have any confidence that I will be up to much four years from now, let alone eight.

Historically the election of men in that age bracket has not been very successful. William Henry Harrison caught pneumonia at his inauguration and died a month later. In hindsight I think Ronald was suffering the early symptoms of Alzheimer's before his second term was over.

It also bothers me that McCain seems to have no plans for pulling out of Iraq in the foreseeable future.

I know some people will think my reservations about McCain are really only because he is a Republican, and I suppose that does enter into the equation. Believe it or not, I did vote for a Republican for President once.

Since I did not attend the Democratic caucuses, I have little right to express an opinion about our candidates. I did have a good excuse for my absence; I was in the hospital at the time. I admit I am not completely sure who I would have chosen if I could have participated.

My main reservation about Obama and Clinton is that I wish they would not spend so much time attacking each other. I realize the loser will get behind the party's choice when that time comes, but some voters already may have turned away from both. One of the Udalls (I'm not sure whether Morris or Stuart) once said that when Democrats get up a firing squad they stand in a circle. That is a habit I wish we could break.

Whatever doubts you may have about the qualifications of the Democratic candidates, I hope they are not based on race or gender. I see no reason why a woman or an African-American cannot be as well-qualified as a white male. In fact, a woman, especially a mother, might be less eager to send our young people into battle on the other side of the world. Since many young blacks enlist in the military to better their circumstances, that might be true of an African-American as well.

Remarks made by Obama's pastor recently seem to have opened him to attack from critics. I feel Obama handled the situation appropriately when he said he did not condone the pastor's remarks, but he would not disown him just because they did not agree.

The Reverend Curtis Wiens will tell you that I do not agree with my pastor on a lot of things. Freedom of conscience gives all of us the right to disagree with anyone, regardless of their position.

Hillary Clinton is an intelligent woman with a deep concern for our country, especially for the citizens at the bottom of our nation's totem pole. I like that, whether I agree with all of her ideas or not. Some have criticized for not discarding her husband for unfaithfulness. Since when has forgiveness been a sin instead of a virtue?

In my opinion, Bill Clinton did a good job as President; the sins for which he was castigated were private ones. His wife might or might not have the same policies he had. We are entitled to disagree with a spouse as well as a pastor.

Regardless of the election's outcome, it promises to be an interesting summer and fall.