Looking forward to the election

Elise T. Chisolm

October 13, 1992|By Elise T. Chisolm

Mother always told me, "don't look back, look forward . . . go forward."

I've used that advice to deal with past mistakes, wrong decisions and shortcomings in general. And I'm thinking now how much my mother would have hated this backward-looking presidential campaign.

What bothers me most is the last-minute mud-slinging. President Bush and the Republicans have been throwing charges against Bill Clinton, and Clinton and the Democrats have been playing hardball as well.

The New York Times told us recently that Clinton acknowledges he might have received special treatment in 1969 from the federal and local officials in his ultimately successful effort to avoid the Vietnam draft. And in the same day's paper, there was a lengthy re-examination of Dan Quayle's enlistment in the Indiana National Guard which shows a striking pattern of favoritism that saved him from the draft.

Then we have to put up with the old question about Bush's past -- "maybe he knew and maybe he didn't" -- concerning the Iran-contra scandal.

And, of course, there's the latest Bush allegation -- questioning Clinton's patriotism because of his 1969 Vietnam War protest and his trip to Moscow. Bush mentioned it twice during Sunday's debate.

Why such rehashing when all we really want to know is what the future holds?

My children didn't want to go to Vietnam. My children experimented with marijuana, and they did inhale. I knew many young people who didn't want to go to Vietnam, and I knew many who protested the war and smoked dope, too. That is all in the past.

But this pre-election circus keeps focusing on the past. Bush's World War II record was exemplary, yes, but to compare that time and that war with Vietnam is stupid. The day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, every man I knew signed up for the war. There is no comparing that with the divisiveness of the Vietnam era.

Will we ever get a president who hasn't lied or compromised? Probably not.

Will we get a president with the usual foibles of a human being? Certainly.

Mother was right, then. We need to stop looking back and start moving forward. Let's elect the man with the best chance to get this country going again.

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