Surprisingly, I found myself watching pretty much the whole two hours of Rick Warren’s interviews with John McCain and Barack Obama on CNN over the weekend.
I’ll admit, I was reluctant. I figured it would be two hours of fire & brimstone Q&A. All religion and no secular questions. But I’ll give Warren credit — he came up with a thoughtful format and a lot of questions that no news anchor ever would have asked the candidates in a debate forum.
Sure, a lot of the answers were predictable, but I found it interesting that Obama actually tried to engage in a thoughtful conversation, while McCain just didn’t have that in him, following his scripted talking points or ignoring the questions all together.
It was an interesting way to take the measure of each man. And for me, the question about 148 million orphans worldwide did it.
I would have thought that should have been a slam dunk for McCain, being a father by adoption and all. But when Warren asked whether McCain would commit to resolve the epidemic of homeless children in the world, in the way that others have looked at HIV/AIDS as an epidemic that needs to be addressed and have acted, he dodged.
He laughed his uncomfortable laugh.
He told us again of the scenario under which he became a reluctant father to his last child, whom his wife brought home from Mother Theresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh.
But he made no commitment. He didn’t even utter anything that sounded like an acknowledgment that millions of children need families ASAP.
As a mother by adoption, I wonder — how does a person have their lives touched by adoption not have it in them to want to find homes for all the children languishing in orphanages around the world? As leader of the free world, you’d have a pretty powerful pulpit from which to advocate for those who can’t do it for themselves. And all I could come up with is, because he’s scared.
Because McCain knows that means possibly going down the road to giving his blessing to same-sex couples adopting children. He did mention the children in the U.S. foster care system who need families, but that’s only a drop in the bucket — about 130,000 children. McCain didn’t even want to touch the issue of the other 147+ million children in countries around the world.
There are untold numbers of children who live in Chinese ‘baby homes.’ There are plenty still waiting who, if they don’t find families, will live their childhoods in those orphanages and when they turn 18, be on their own with no friends, no jobs, no family. Nothing.
McCain is willing to spend billions on a war that should never even have been started, but not make a commitment to finding loving homes for children around the world who are languishing?
That pretty much sums it up for me. I don’t need to know anything else to take the measure of John McCain.