As the leaves fall and the political temperature rises, I’d like to talk politics for a minute. (Cue the soaring eagle graphic.)

In last week’s debate, Barack Obama and John McCain both whiffed in their respective responses to the question of what sacrifices they would ask Americans to make.photo by steve (via Creative Commons)

In short, neither would impose on Americans to make meaningful sacrifices. It was a lost opportunity to signal a call to action. A lost opportunity to lead.

In my humble opinion, leadership requires telling the truth, even when it isn’t pleasant. In an editorial that should make Granite Staters proud, the Concord Monitor suggested an alternate answer:

They could have responded with the old Yankee injunction to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” They could have called upon the public to emulate their parents and grandparents and eliminate every area of waste they find – wasted heat, wasted gasoline, wasted food and yes, wasted time that could be used to help someone in need.

Times are hard and getting harder. Plenty of people were in need of help before the economic downturn. Now many more need help. Answer a call from charitable organizations and volunteer.

I’m not sure what more has to occur before we decide to change our ways on a fundamental level. I’m guessing it’ll take some real leadership, more than we’ve seen to this point.

Hopefully, once the all-positive, all-promises requirement of campaigning ends and a victor is declared, our next President will call on Americans to make real changes, including trimming our food waste. I believe we’re waiting for that call.

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On a related note: Don’t miss PBS’ The Choice 2008 tonight. The quadrennial special is a real highlight of all Presidential elections.

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