Editor’s Note: this article was originally published in the December 2008 issue of LIA Magazine
A Message from Melaleuca CEO, Frank VanderSloot:
Barack Obama was not my first choice as president. He was not my second choice either. Anyone who is close to me knows that my first choice for president was Mitt Romney. In fact I was a National Co-Chairman and Idaho’s Chairman for Romney for President. My staff and I worked very hard to elect Mitt Romney and for a while we thought he was going to be the Republican candidate for president. It was close, but he didn’t make it. A side benefit was that, over the span of several months, Belinda and I became close friends with Mitt and Ann Romney. We have had the pleasure of visiting each other’s home during and since the election, and they are very good people.
Looking back, I can’t help but think how things would be different today if the economy had become the focal point during the primary elections. Given his strong business background I believe Mitt Romney would have been extremely qualified to handle the economy, which is currently in such shambles. I mention this not to lament Mitt Romney’s coming in second in the Republican primaries but to point out my original enthusiasm for a candidate other than Barack Obama.
After Mitt Romney conceded to John McCain, my family and I did our best to support the John McCain candidacy. I was especially concerned about Barack Obama’s lack of experience and his alleged political and personal ties to radical liberals. Again, I make this point only to explain where I was coming from during the election. It became clear long before election day that Barack Obama was going to become president of the United States. Even though we knew who was going to win long before the election, I spent the day after the election in deep mourning, primarily out of respect for what remained of the Republican Party.
Two days after the election I sat down and had a talk with myself. It was a long talk! I have always been blessed with the ability to look on the bright side of things. I called upon that ability at that time. The more I thought about things the more excited I got. I started out recalling what had happened during the George W. Bush presidency. I had watched closely at how the leaders of the Democratic Party had dealt with the war in Iraq. It became quite apparent early on that at least some of them actually wanted America to fail in Iraq. And clearly, some of the liberal press also wanted America to fail miserably in the Iraqi war. They had taken a stand against the war in the beginning and now in their quest to be “right” it was to their best personal interest for the war to fail. They put the most negative spin possible on the War and refused to mention any of the success and progress that has been made. Clearly, to oppose the war is their absolute right, but to hope America would fail or to facilitate that failure, was in my opinion, absolutely un-American!
Now, I am an American. Therefore, even though I fought for his opponent during the election, now that Barack Obama is going to be president I want him to succeed! As an American, I now enthusiastically support Barack Obama. As I turned my attitude around, I began to think of all the positive aspects of a Barack Obama presidency. The more I thought about it the more excited I became!
The next day I met with Belinda and the rest of our family. I asked them to join me in my enthusiastic support of our new president. I told them of my thoughts and why I thought Barack Obama had the potential to become great president. I called their attention to what happened during the Bush administration. President Bush had many liabilities—one of which was that he absolutely could not speak on camera. In my few encounters with him in person, I learned he could be very engaging and quite articulate. But on camera he froze up and came across as less than intelligent. Not really what you really want to have in your president! Presidents who could not speak well have never been very popular, and therefore unable to accomplish much for their country i.e. Jimmy Carter, both Bushes, Gerald Ford, etc. Compare their popularity and accomplishments with great speakers like Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
I believe that having a bright president that can speak well could be a very positive thing for all of us—especially if he has good intentions! And, since he’s really bright, it’s quite likely that if he surrounds himself with the right people, he will make the right decisions! Even though he has a very liberal voting record, he is brilliant enough to know that he will need to govern from the middle. Brightness is always extremely beneficial especially when a person has good intentions. Clearly, Barack Obama has good intentions. His brightness will be a huge advantage for all of us!
Besides being very excited about his keen intellect, I’m very excited about Barack Obama’s ability to lead! His ability to get the masses excited about the USA and about moving forward can have a huge impact on our country! We need to have our country united and proud of who we are and what our great country stands for! Barack Obama can make that happen!
Barack Obama has good moral values! I believe Barack Obama will leave the interns alone! And I’m not saying this tongue-in-cheek! I think good morals are a tremendous plus in a president!
Another very important and positive note is that the press is excited about Barack Obama! If you have never traveled to a foreign country and watched CNN’s coverage of America from overseas, you may not understand how much damage CNN and the rest of the liberal press has done to our country from overseas. For the past several years, according to the CNN overseas version, everything that America stands for is evil and wrong! That will now cease! Our own press will no longer be attacking our country. That will have a huge positive impact on our image around the world!
The issue of race cannot and should not be overlooked! The fact that a white majority elected an African- American president should send a clear and indisputable message to all races, all people, and to all nations that the issue of race in the United States, for the vast majority of Americans, has become an absolutely dead issue! What an absolutely profoundly positive statement! It’s far too late in coming, but clearly, that moment has arrived! It’s about time! Given the shameful history of our country regarding the issue of race, this is an exciting time for all of America and a very positive statement about our great nation!
I suspect and hope that over time many more positive attributes will become known about our president named Barack Obama. Even though I supported a different candidate and am an avid supporter of family values, and conservative government, I am genuinely excited to have Barack Obama as my president! I am an American! Barack Obama has the potential to lead us into a new era of prosperity and reestablish America as a beacon of democracy to the world. He has the capacity to lead! The press is behind him! Other nations (our allies) are behind him! Much of America is behind him! He needs the rest of us! We need him to succeed! He needs and deserves our prayers and enthusiastic support. He definitely has mine!