Slow to write...

I've been slow to write lately, partly because I've been preoccupied with, you know, um, stuff. What a crappy excuse. I actually really enjoy the writing process, and even more, the story telling process. This probably comes from a combination of my adopted grandmother's (and the Critter's namesake) librarian roots, and a little bit of my father, the Surgeon's old South roots, I suppose.

For a few years now, I've used this 'blog as my private little space to tell a story or two, and keep the writing urge going. Along with the annual book-writing fest, of course. So I'm feeling the lack of actually sitting down and doing a little writing.

But the other part of my slowness lately has been our national absorption in the upcoming election, and the daily rollercoaster of the financial soap opera that's currently playing out. I'm as glued to each of the latest developments as the next person, and I've both been a little reluctant to use this space for political stumping (because there's already enough of that out there on the web) and had a difficult time shaping my thoughts about what's going on into something that adds meaningful value to the dialogue. I want to write about it. I feel passionate about it. But after the clear failures of the current administration on a number of fronts, many of which run contrary to the clear, simple principles that the GOP is supposed to stand for (or so I thought), I have to pause and think on why I believe what I do, and challenge my long held assumptions and support to make sure I'm giving my vote to the right guy this time around.

But still, I am a Republican. This is hardly a surprise to most folks. A co-worker of mine was shocked to discover this recently. I pointed out that I'm a Georgia-born, banjo playing Army veteran who drives a 1967 Ford pickup truck with a rifle rack and an NRA sticker. How the hell do you think I vote?

But I'm a socially liberal conservative. I really don't care what you do in your bedroom or in your spare time, mostly, as long as you're not in some fashion increasing my tax burden through your actions. And I struggle as much as your average Obama Mama with the choke hold that the Religious Right has on my party. And even more with the abuses that the current administration has subjected our Constitution to, all in the name of security.

This election has been interesting, of course, for the number of historical firsts, and for the personalities that have emerged and taken shape on the national front. I finally have a better understanding of what so many Democrats must have felt like when Reagan ran for office. Damn , but Senator Obama can deliver a speech. I do still believe that fundamentally, the GOP can and would do a better job of addressing the same issues with less bureaucracy and waste... if we could just stick to the principles that made the party what it used to be. But we haven't produced a speaker that can make me pause like this guy can in quite some time. And when I compare that heart-stirring, hope-raising ability to Senator McCain's offer of grim determination... sigh... Yeah. I miss Reagan.

But finally today, I found a good summary that puts into better words than I had why I'm still hopeful for a McCain presidency in a NY Times editorial by David Brook.

Nonetheless, when people try to tell me that the McCain on the campaign trail is the real McCain and the one who came before was fake, I just say, baloney. I saw him. A half-century of evidence is there.

If McCain is elected, he will retain his instinct for the hard challenge. With that Greatest Generation style of his, he will run the least partisan administration in recent times. He is not a sophisticated conceptual thinker, but he is a good judge of character. He is not an organized administrator, but he has become a practiced legislative craftsman. He is, above all -- and this is completely impossible to convey in the midst of a campaign -- a serious man prone to serious things.

Amid the stupidity of this season, it seemed worth stepping back to recall the fundamentals

He may not be the stirring messiah that will right the wrongs of my party that I might like, but he's still got my vote.

At least so far.