Memorial Day in a Presidential election year is for stump speeches. Barack Obama spoke at both the Vietnam War Memorial and Arlington Cemetery, emphasizing the debt owed U.S. veterans, vowing to protect their families, their health care, their higher education.
At a Memorial Day event in San Diego, Mitt Romney had Sen. John McCain at his side. McCain declared that Romney, “is fully qualified to be commander in chief,” bringing to mind his political judgement in having selected Sarah Palin as a running mate. Romney vowed “to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.“ He made it clear that under him, the U.S. would be the world’s top cop.
But how much would a military stressed by two wars in the Middle East, have to grow to manage three, four, half a dozen wars? Does Romney imagine that war, constantly evolving—stone axe, bow and arrow, gunpowder, rifled cannon, machine gun, poison gas, biological and atomic weapons—will not evolve new ways to confront superior force? Populations enraged at imposed power can deploy legions of suicide bombers armed with poisons and biological weapons, plus increasingly destructive cyber attacks. What does Romney say to a future of unrelenting hostility, “Bring it on?”
The U.S. still had the military draft when he entered Brigham Young University, but he avoided service first with a student deferment, then as a Mormon missionary to France, and then another student deferment. At Harvard, he was married with two kids. Graduating with degrees in finance and law, he went into banking, having experienced nothing of life outside his elite bubble. His only expertise is using money to generate more money.
Barack Obama, whose life is the American Dream, went from Columbia University into the gritty, poorly paid unsung person-to-person world of community organizing, bringing together churches, block clubs, and parent groups seeking to better themselves and their neighbors. After Harvard, he went to Chicago where he worked on Project Vote, registering first time voters As President he sought and destroyed Osama bin Laden, and has since personally directed the destruction of twenty-one more high echelon sworn enemies of the U.S.
Who is better equipped to handle the subtle devious diplomacy demanded by today’s complex and dangerous world?