Dear Mr. McCain, What Happened to the Integrity You Used to Have?

Dear Mr. McCain,

I write to you today as one of those moderate woman voters whose vote you have been courting lately. I also write to you as a die-hard Democratic voter - but one who has said for the last 8 years that "If John McCain were ever to run for president, I might just have to vote Republican".

Why would someone like me want to vote for someone like you? You have always defied and rejected the very things I have always found so unappealing about the Republican party by ensuring that your communications with the public weren't saturated with misleading 'spin'. You reached across party lines and worked with 'us' when almost nobody else in your party would. And sometimes you refused to buy into the BS that George Bush fed us and you took a huge risk with your party (and your career) to stand for what you believed in. Because of this, I have always admired you. And John McCain has always stood for integrity in my mind.

But this week, I've seen your campaign spread lies about Barack Obama. I realize that no campaign is above stretching the truth... but outright lies? And what troubles me even more is that you seem to be standing your ground as you have continued to knowingly perpetuate these lies just because you think that it is working to get the votes you need to win.

I find this heartbreaking, Mr. McCain. This tells me that I have been wrong about you. After your campaign was ended by the spread of unethical lies in 2000, I can't believe you would turn around and do the same thing to someone else. But you know what else this tells me about you? By lowering your integrity and standards just to win the White House, I am gravely concerned about how else you might lower your integrity if you were to become our president. George Bush threw away his integrity when he led our nation into a war based on lies and false premises. I thought you were above this - but evidently you are not.

Ultimately, I am just one woman and one vote from a state that you won't bother campaigning in because we have already been labeled 'blue'. So why should you listen to me?

Because I wanted to remind you of who you are and what you have always stood for - integrity. By throwing your integrity away in this campaign, you have thrown away any reason why I could ever support your bid for the white house. You may be winning the current battle right now, and I can understand why that might be an enticing option for you. But you have already lost the war - the war every politician fights when he or she faces the choice between what's right and what it takes to be 'popular'.

We don't need a president that will do 'whatever it takes to win'. We need a president that will lead our country down the right path, even when it isn't easy, and especially when he has to choose integrity over dishonesty.

I will not be voting for you, John McCain. And I'm kind of sad about that. I was looking forward to the day that we could get beyond our damaging partisan rifts. That day has not come yet.

With respect,

Wendy Piersall