The US presidential candidates exhort Americans to serve and sacrifice, but they clearly differ for whom or what. The following dialogue is fiction but based on facts:
American: Senators McCain and Obama, are you men of integrity?
Senator McCain: Yes, I sure am.
Senator Obama: Certainly; I am.
A: You both hold the conviction that the ideal of service and sacrifice is a cause greater than the individual.
SJM: On my honor, I do.
SBO: I solemnly do.
A: Senator Obama, since Senator McCain sacrificed in a war while you have not, would you now honor your ideal by halting your campaign, thereby sacrificing your wish to serve as President of the USA?
Senator McCain, since you have already sacrificed and served for many years, would you now honor your ideal by sacrificing your wish to serve as President of the USA, that Senator Obama may experience what you both hold dear?
SBO: But there is a cause greater than my wish to serve and sacrifice as president: this country and the world need me and my vision for change!
SJM: I have a duty greater than my wish to further serve and sacrifice, which is to restore traditional values!
A: A man of integrity acts in accordance with his values, and translates his convictions into practical reality. President George Washington, who thought it abhorrent to be king of the USA, set a precedent in the interest of Liberty by refusing to run for a third term.
SBO: I admire President George Washington, but my favorite is President John Kennedy who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
A: I ask not what the government can do, because the Declaration of Independence is clear: the only purpose of law and of government is the protection of each man’s Life, Liberty, and his pursuit of Happiness.
I ask not what I can do, because it has been immortalized by Presidents Lincoln and Jefferson: I can do as I please with myself and the product of my labor, within limits drawn around me by the equal rights of others.
I ask not what I can do for my fellowmen, because we are independent, sovereign entities endowed with equal rights.
I do assert every man’s inalienable rights! My government:
Ask not that I volunteer to be a slave; do solemnly swear to defend my freedom.
Ask not that I accept masochism and sadism as noble; do highly resolve to protect my right to pursue happiness.
Ask not that I condemn selfishness; do take increased devotion to honor and preserve its advocate: the Declaration of Independence.
Ask not how to limit the individual; ask how to get out of his way!