When I was first began investigating which candidate I would support for President, I didn't have much criteria. Basically, the person just had to be a Democrat. As my friends began picking their choice, I settled on the one I felt could beat any republican heavyweight. With his previous experience as a presidential candidate then the VP nominee in 2004, I just got a feeling from John Edwards that he was the guy. Plus, the fact that he's really good looking helped a lot too. ;)
The more I read about him and study his position papers, the more I am genuinely inspired by him. He's a decent, hard-working guy which is hard to find in our government today. In a recent profile in the NY Times Sunday Magazine, we see a side of John Edwards that most did not see in 2004.
His number one issue during this race is eradicating poverty in America. He knows that it is a suicide issue but yet, everyday, he is doing something to highlight the gross inequity of the rich getting richer while the poor just get poorer.
The article highlights the fact that he was "over-consulted" in 2004 so this time, he's doing things a little different. Now, it's him and Elizabeth calling the shots. He said:
“I saw the difference in the way people responded to me when I was talking from here,” he told me that day, patting his heart, “and not from here.” He raised a finger to his head. “Just being myself and standing up for what I believe, and not being coached and not being consulted, is what it’s all about.” He derided all the “phoniness” in Washington and talked about the scores of poor neighborhoods he had been visiting on his own. “With just a few breaks the other way, I would be sitting where these people are right now,” he told me. “I know it sounds corny, but when I can’t sleep at night, I get these pictures in my head of all the people I’ve met. I wonder what more I should be doing.”Of course, since no one is perfect--not even a Presidential candidate--he has stumbled and the article touches on this as well asking, "Is Edwards for real? Is this all just a facade? Is he genuine?"
Whether or not you think he is, you have to admit his poverty platform is quite compelling and will definitely make an impact on the vanishing middle class if implemented. It may not be the winning issue for Edwards but it's making people think. The last time a valid Presidential candidate used poverty as the mainstay of their platform was Robert Kennedy. If you've seen the movie, "Bobby" the footage of Kennedy walking on a dirt road in a poverty-stricken town in rural America sticks with you. It was a problem now and is still one today--it's not going away.
The stakes here are exceptionally high. If Edwards isn’t successful, then Democrats will most likely conclude, once again, that poverty is a losing issue. It took 40 years after Robert Kennedy’s death for another establishment Democrat to summon the courage to build a campaign around economic injustice. If Edwards should win the nomination but lose the White House, it might well be another 40 years before anyone tries again.Is John Edwards the real deal? I know he is. He speaks with passion and caring. He and his wife are inspirational. We can expect great things from them as our next President and First Lady.
Edwards rejects the idea that government can get involved in the way people live their lives and raise their children. “The government has nothing to do with this,” he said. “And I’m not sure the government should have anything to do with this.” Instead, he told me, part of a president’s job is to encourage the community-based groups that deal with issues like teenage pregnancy and absentee fathers. I asked him how, exactly, he would do that. “By meeting with these people,” he said. “Lifting them up.”