The unfolding 2008 presidential campaigns have brought some unusual names to the forefront of American politicking. Among them, Oprah Winfrey, that citadel of expertise on domestic and foreign affairs, gives her flamboyant support to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., while the intellectually vacant social activist vote of Barbra Streisand goes to Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
In contrast, consider the preference expressed by retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager. A true American superhero of unrivaled pedigree, Yeager was the first human being ever to fly “faster than a speeding bullet,” as he successfully broke the sound barrier six decades ago in the Bell X-1. He went on to reach numerous other aviation milestones as a test pilot, eventually achieving the rank of brigadier general in the United States Air Force.
In a letter that has been recently distributed to Republican voters in early deciding states, Yeager enthusiastically offers his support for the presidential candidacy of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. His reasons for doing so are extremely telling.
As a test pilot, fighter pilot and general officer, Yeager gained a keen awareness of the dangers facing America’s combat forces and the bigger picture of how those dangers threatened the nation as a whole.
Along with his indomitable skill and courage as a test pilot, Yeager also attained a thorough understanding of the realities of his equipment and surroundings, and any limitations on them that could not be exceeded. Before he climbed into a machine that would hurl him to the stratosphere and back, it was essential that he have absolute confidence in the integrity of the people who designed it, those who built it, as well as those who serviced it for flight.
A successful test pilot can have little patience for the hindsight, second-guessing and “Monday morning quarterbacking” that typifies so much of the political field these days. It does little good for a pilot who attempts a downwind takeoff or neglects a proper preflight of his vehicle to be ready with a long list of excuses attempting to explain the disaster that ensued. In some situations, there is simply no substitute for being right the first time around.
Nor would a man like Chuck Yeager, whose very survival depended on his ability to meet any difficult occasion whether on the ground or in the air, be overly inspired by politicians that sidestep thorny political controversies. Clearly, he has not been impressed by the many attempts among the so-called “top tier” candidates to “thread the needle” between doing the right thing, which might generate a firestorm of criticism from the opposition, and doing the politically “safe” thing, even though it doesn’t truly address the problem.
As a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and 75th Army Rangers in Vietnam, Duncan Hunter’s job was not to try to skirt the difficult situations, but to confront them with confidence and conviction – and with a determination to prevail. And that quality has been a hallmark of his public life ever since.
Such attributes are critical to our nation, which faces threats to its future, both at home and from across the ocean, unlike any experienced by previous generations. This is simply not the time for pleasant-sounding but meaningless speeches. Rather, it is the time for an honest appraisal of the nature of the problems facing us and the best course to correct them.
Take, for example, the issue of illegal immigration. Yeager’s endorsement starkly contrasts the platitudes and posturing of the other candidates against Hunter’s no-nonsense approach to the illegal immigration issue.
Even though he’s fully aware that it would make him a lightning rod to his critics, Hunter has never attempted to sugarcoat or play down the gravity of the situation or the severity of the measures necessary to effectively tackle it. Instead, he just got busy and built the fence that now protects San Diego from an unchecked influx of illegals. As a result, crime in San Diego has plummeted. Well thought actions work where empty words fail. And Duncan Hunter is a man of action to match his words.
Yeager goes on to point out that Hunter is no less direct in his assessment of the emerging threats posed by the Chinese. And, standing virtually alone, he is resolved and forthright in his intentions to confront the situation.
Throughout his 26 years in Congress, Duncan Hunter has taken on such enormous tasks as a unwavering conservative. Unlike so many current political figures, he has no need to offer any excuses or apologies for past lapses in judgment. And he has prevailed.
To those who say his chances of success are too much of a long shot since his campaign is not backed by the powerful interests, Yeager counters that Duncan Hunter is perhaps the only candidate who does not believe he can buy his way into the White House. Rather, he relies on the strength of his conservative principles.
This is the single most defining difference between Duncan Hunter and the so-called “top tier” candidates. Duncan Hunter stands alone in his ability to endure close scrutiny of his past record. In complete contrast to the “top tier,” America can be sure that the more it learns about Duncan Hunter, the more it will revere and respect him. As a leading force who has been devoted to the good of the nation throughout his public life, he needs and deserves the country’s enthusiastic support.
Moreover, in Chuck Yeager’s America, difficulty is never a reason to refuse a challenge. Whenever the people of the heartland put their minds to something simply because it is the right thing to do, no matter how daunting a task it may be, they can succeed. And Yeager’s own life and accomplishments certainly stand as proof.
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Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming. He has been active in local and state politics for many years. His contact information and archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com.