It's funny how the brain makes odd connections. I was searching the Internet for information about Audrey Hepburn when I stumbled across an article in Time that was written after her death. The last paragraph leaped out at me as other connections became clear.
In Paul Rudnick's wonderful new play "Regrets Only", the dress designer played by George Grizzard enunciates the difference between style and fashion. "Fashion is for followers," he says. "Style you create for yourself."
In the theatre of modern politics it makes a lot of sense. Sen. John F. Kerry tried to mold his life to outwardly resemble the life of John F. Kennedy. Naval service in small boats followed by a career in politics in the state of Massachusetts along with the same initials are the similarities between the two men. We just saw Sen. Barack Obama be anointed as the re-incarnation of John F. Kennedy in Denver. He was crowned by no less an august presence than Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jack Kennedy's last surviving brother, and Jack Kennedy's sole surviving child Caroline.
Now compare this to John McCain. Born into a naval family where excellence was expected, John S. McCain III had much to overcome. Graduating almost at the bottom of his class at Annapolis, he became a naval aviator and flew the A-4 Skyhawk off USS Forrestal when death almost claimed him. Narrowly surviving his Skyhawk being turned into an inferno on the deck, McCain was not out of the fight. As USS Forrestal sailed back to the US for repairs, McCain transferred to USS Oriskany and the Saints. It was with them his date with an SA-2 almost became fatal. Instead he spent 5 1/2 years in captivity. As Fred Thompson said at the convention, "life in a box," McCain emerged with a bounce and a smile even as his untreated injuries rendered him incapable of raising his right arm any higher than shoulder level. He weathered the destruction of his first marriage, a fact he still regrets, to finding happiness with Cindy. Becoming a representative of the people and going to Washington to fight even more battles for his country. McCain forged his own path not in anyone's shadow.
Sen. McCain has style and the courage to employ that style. Sen. Obama just follows the Democrat fashion of trying to be the next John F. Kennedy.