Earlier this week, I came across a fascinating op-ed written by a talented young writer named Angelica Brown. Angelica is a recent graduate of Mumford High School in Detroit as well as a summer apprentice at the Detroit Free Press. She has a full scholarship to attend the University of Michigan – Dearborn this Fall where she will study film making.
I was so impressed by the courage and intellectual rigor of this precocious writer that I immediately wrote her the following e-mail:
Hello Angelica Brown,
I enjoyed your column today [July 7]. Keep up the good work. Below is a weekly column I write. Send me an e-mail if I can help your writing career in any way.
The headline for her op-ed was "Why my first vote will be for John McCain." There are several reasons why I thought this was a very intriguing article. First, I was curious how she came to pick McCain over Obama.
She magnificently set the background that led her to pick whom she thought would the best presidential candidate. Partly because her family, friends and associates seemed to robotically choose Obama based on skin color alone and partly because some of her fellow students thought of John McCain (and presumably most Republicans) as "the anti-Christ."
These half-baked, uninformed opinions prompted Angelica to do her own research. Wow! What a novel idea in this day and age where two-bit hucksters think they are the Alpha and Omega of all knowledge and look askance at anyone who can think for themselves using age-old methods of deductive reasoning (e.g., If A causes B then B is logically dependent on A). This was the basis of all classical knowledge out of the Western tradition for more than 2,500 years – from the ancient Greeks to early Romanticism.
Angelica detailed her intellectual apotheosis in this manner: "Ironically, I began to actually start watching more political shows, reading excerpts from candidates' books online and researching their backgrounds before deciding to be a McCain supporter."
She further distinguished candidates Obama and McCain on the issue of health care. Angelica believed Obama wants universal health care, "but Obama fails to realize that life is not a fairytale." She characterizes McCain's health care plan as more interested in "cost-containment" and, thus, a more realistic and viable public policy alternative.
Other reasons Angelica gives for her support of McCain cite experience. "Having Obama in office" Angelica said, "would only initiate a negative reaction from other countries because he is so inexperienced. He is still very young, and although the world believes they can handle a new American leader without white skin, I don't know if I believe it."
Continuity is also a very substantive reason for her support for McCain. Angelica writes, "Change comes over time; therefore, alternating between an extremely conservative president and a candidate who has traditional values but is open to new ideas is exactly what we need right now in America." I would only correct Angelica by saying President George W. Bush is no conservative by any stretch of the imagination.
Throughout her political article you can almost hear the deductive reasoning cogs grinding in this young writers' prescient brain – presenting a strong apologetic, anticipating arguments, crafting brilliant, succinct counter arguments that render her vanquished opponents powerless.
Angelica hits her stride when she writes the following passage comparing the oratorical attributes of Obama and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick with another great orator of the past:
Just because Obama can write up and deliver a speech better than others does not mean he is the best candidate. If I remember correctly, Adolf Hitler and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick convinced mass numbers of people that they were respectable through dialogue. In no way do I mean to compare Obama to the likes of such immoral men, but let's just be honest – you cannot judge someone based on what he says. There has to be more to that person.
Here, Angelica distinguishes herself as a valiant writer who isn't afraid to swim against the tide: a young philosopher who refuses to be shackled to the servile thinking by neither her forefathers of the past nor her peers of the present by taking on two cherished black icons of politics, Obama and Kilpatrick. Angelica, by using a well-placed simile without too much hyperbole, aptly disabuses the notion that a good orator equals a good leader. Her example of Hitler shows that it doesn't.
On a deeper level, Angelica seems to argue that to place symbolism over substance with any political candidate is a dangerous proposition that can lead to disastrous public policies and even tyranny over the people. It is amazing to me that Angelica, despite her youth, seems to understand this historical view that few seasoned politicians in modern times seems to comprehend.
In the end, I predict that young Angelica will have a brilliant future as a writer if she protects her youthful zeal, her yearning for knowledge and guards her heart from the buzzards of the progressive mainstream media who would love to have her become yet another worker on the liberal Democrat plantation.
To Angelica, take this advice: Always do your own research and check all your facts. Consider all rational opinions, and follow Socrates' wise admonition to let truth be your guide in all things. If you want some good reading for this summer, I advise that you read Justice Clarence Thomas' excellent memoir, "My Grandfather's Son," and my article narrating my own intellectual journey, "Why I became a conservative."
Why did I suggest these items to read? In the epic movie trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's, "Lord of the Rings" there was a transcendent scene when the Hobbit-hero (Frodo) was taking a respite from his arduous journey in the woods of the Elves. In the middle of the night, he was summoned in a dream by the Lady of the Wood (Galadriel) and given a gift for his journey, a crystal vial containing the precious light of Eärendil's star.
What was that light for? The Lady of the Wood told Frodo: "To shine for you in dark places when all other lights grow dim." Angelica, your courage to step out from among your peers and your intellect to publish such an article of high quality is that light (of Eärendil's star), which I predict will guide you to exceedingly wonderful places in the future.