A lot of readers tell me they assume I'll be voting for either Hillary or Obama in the next election.
That's interesting because I have no idea who I'm voting for. The only thing I know for sure is this:
The damage our nation has suffered these past 6½ years is so great that I am neither Democrat nor Republican in the coming election. I am an American.
Both parties have been betrayed, and both should produce candidates willing to look at the vast wreckage President Bam Bam has wrought and say, "My job is to fix this mess."
I will vote for the candidate who says that. And I want my candidate to say these things, too:
"I will fight a real fight against the terrorists without creating a rallying point for extremists."
"I will forbid torture, and I will not secretly send prisoners to countries that allow it."
"I will honor the Constitution, not subvert it."
"I will not give a damn whether gay people get married, nor conjure up similarly dumb non-issues to distract Americans from the real problems we face."
"I will say things of substance and send the vapid slogans packing with this vapid president."
"I will not spy on Americans without taking the steps required by law - and then only when it is in the interest of national security."
"I will honor my own God and worship in my own way without dragging religion into the national conversation. America is not a theocracy."
"I will not let my vice president run the country nor give government contracts to his company."
"I will leave women the hell alone on matters that are personal and private."
"I will support stem cell research and put to rest the idiocy that such cells are babies."
"I will close Guantanamo and ensure that all prisoners held there are immediately released or else charged with a crime and provided a lawyer."
"I will have an energy policy. A real one, not one crafted by the oil industry."
"I will put an end to mining in our national parks and logging in our national forests."
"I understand the complexities of our health-care crisis and, unlike my predecessor, I will avoid making infinitely stupid comments such as, 'All Americans have access to health care because they can just go to the emergency room.'"
"I will never smirk when I talk about the poor and the uninsured."
"I will try to restore America's former stature, reputation and good will in the world."
"I will appoint competent, qualified people to the justice department, to head agencies such as FEMA, and to serve as my advisors, without regard to their political ideology."
"I will not require my high ranking appointees to say my name three times per page in every speech."
"I will acknowledge that there is such a thing as global warming and that it is the biggest threat we now face. I will work with other nations to control it."
"I will not use signing statements to ignore the law."
"I will allow the coffins of dead soldiers to be photographed, and I will make certain the wounded get the care they need and deserve."
"I will get us out of Iraq."
These requirements don't call for an extraordinary person of extreme intelligence, nor even a person of vision or exceptional charisma.
All I'm looking for is a grown-up. I want an adult in the White House, someone with common sense, know-how, and a solid set of ethics and priorities.
Surely, such a person exists and is willing to begin undoing the damage done by this ignorant, arrogant, imperial child-president.
If that person is willing to lead, I will follow.
There are 540 days of damage left 'til Jan. 20, 2009.
Beth's column appears on Monday. Talk to her at email@example.com.
© 2007 The Times Herald-Record