Apocalypse Now

John J. Hopkins Nov. 1, 2008, 9:00am


The 1979 Francis Ford Coppola directed classic is the best of the late '70s Vietnam films, surpassing in so many ways the Oscar winner of years previous, "The Deerhunter."

From the moment the story is joined and the lead character of Willard given his assignment of finding renegade Col. Kurtz and "terminating his command with extreme prejudice," we are taken on a journey through the unknown, down an unspecified river, to meet and confront a figure who shows only in shadows, growing larger as the movie wears on, assuming mythical dimensions.

Finally, after almost two hours of gut-wrenching tension, we arrive at the palace occupied by the anointed one. He appears, but we are disappointed, hopes dashed by the unrealistic expectations of the man-turned-god.

His fallible, all too realistic humanity is not what Willard wants, not what Kurtz was made out to be. He provides no solutions. He imparts no wisdom. He offers no truth. In the end, Kurtz is but a false prophet, one who when the true believers finally are no longer blinded by self-imposed delusions, ultimately destroys all around him.

The sad reality is that none could measure to the expectations, as the burden of being the salvation exacts a demanding and final toll. The reality of all too human limitations dash child like hopes, leaving nothing but the bitter taste of disappointment.

We have now been on this journey now for two years, traveling to a date in November when all who care to vote, ACORN assisted or not, can draw nigh and mark their ballot for the chosen champion. Like Kurtz, Obama has now assumed mythical status, propelled by innate charisma that masks a socialistic ambition, stroked by the hope of a "not in my lifetime" occurrence happening before the eyes of the skeptical Nation, fueled by elements of white guilt and relentlessly promoted by a media having abandoned all pretense of objectivity, he stands ready to claim his prize.

He sets records for campaign spending, approaching the $700 million mark, a shameless distinction permitted as a result of his broken promise to adhere to the federal limits, an act without precedent since Watergate. Yet despite its bold and potentially outcome- altering consequences, Obama has gotten a pass from all scrutiny on this move.

More attention has been paid to Sarah Palin's wardrobe than to the financial greed of candidate Obama, but that has been the case from the outset. If the same level of invasive scrutiny that was vested upon Palin and her family had been given to the Obama campaign, his hopes would have died long ago in the snows of New Hampshire. And so it goes.

It was easy to take the path chosen by Obama. It would have been an act of political courage to forego enormous amounts of undocumented donations. With that you can out spend your opponent, have unprecedented number of paid staffers, funnel money to radical groups bent on perpetuating the largest voter fraud in history, and in general, have the resources to buy the election.

But alas, the hard path is foreign to Obama. In the face of difficult decisions, his style is to delay, defer, and distract. The unfortunate reality is that there are times when the President must take a stand on principle, regardless of the consequences. He is not allowed to vote "present."

Which brings us to John McCain, who by his own admission, has been an imperfect servant of the country he loves so dearly. Mistakes have been made by McCain, in the campaign and in his career. While you can question his policies, you cannot challenge his honor, his integrity, his courage.

His life as a genuine hero is well if humbly documented. He is a patriot, a proven leader and one who in these most difficult times is the best choice to not only correct the economic woes, but to maintain the watch against the sworn enemies of the Republic, foreign and domestic. Excesses of Congress are certain. Obama cannot, he will not hold them in check. McCain can and will. The dynamic tensions of a divided government holding each other in balance will serve the citizenry best.

Of the virtues that a leader should possess - intelligence, vision and courage - by far the most vital is courage. Advisors abound with keen intellects and dream.

Those who make decisions need steel. One has it. One does not. The choice is clear. Do not be deterred by the prophets of doom. Have the courage to make the right choice, for now and for posterity. Be not afraid.

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