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I find it curious that many in Indian country do not support one of their greatest allies and friend, Sen. John McCain, in the race for president of the United States. McCain, it can be said, is a true warrior, one who stands for all that Indian country should embrace. It seems almost a simple decision to select McCain as our choice for president, yet it is not.
Articles are afresh on how Indian country is lining up behind Sen. Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency. Obama is truly a worthy candidate who has inspired many, especially young people, in this country. We cannot help but feel the hope he instills in us with his flair and eloquence.
While it is true that most Indian people traditionally vote Democrat, questions remain given the fact that Indian people have been here, time and time again, only to find out that perhaps we are not so aligned with the democratic values politicians spout so smoothly during election time and that we have been caught up in their rhetoric.
Perhaps our loyalty falls only with those who traditionally have always voted Democrat or because we’ve been conditioned as staunch Democrats?
Political hype abounds, and too often we race to the podium of what we learn only later is more of the same – promises, promises, and promises – especially in the latest fray of political exuberance. I question our eagerness to follow the hype and promises.
Recall U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who after getting elected into the Senate as a Democrat, realized his values and those of his people fell more in line with his fellow conservatives, and so changed his affiliation and carried out his duties quite well.
Following the news and political campaigns, listening closely to analysts, commentators and pundits, we cannot help getting caught up in the excitement. It’s in our face 24/7.
These are tough times! Time for change! History is being made! When has it not been tough for Indian country?
The battle goes on. We meet with new politicians and educate them on simple terms like consultation, sovereignty, trust relationship, self-governance, economic development, treaties, education and health care. Once removed from office, we re-educate the next bastion of elected officials, Democrat or Republican.
With McCain, his 25 years of service to Indian country spells out a relationship of trust, friendship and support for continued hope in our tribal communities. [He is] a friend and champion for our cause who we don’t have to re-educate.
For those young people who are so inspired by Obama, we need not take that away; we need not diminish your newfound enthusiasm, nor do we need to cause you to question your decision. Perhaps it was best said by my granddaughter, to whom I so gladly cited my cause for John McCain. She simply replied, “I am voting for Obama because he has a cool name!”
If it were only that simple.
– Francis Devereaux