Monday, July 19, 2004

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Lack of a 'Vision Thing'

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Lack of a 'Vision Thing'

The above article (you can click that link to read it) scares me, because I know how true it is. The power of the evangelical right is underestimated by liberal voters. Their conviction goes beyond who will become president of this country - their votes somehow seem to count towards their list of "good deeds" and will gain them a better place in the castle in the sky. I remember as a kindergartener in a private Christian school, I learned the names of all the presidents. When we recited the names at awards night, which took place right before the elections, we tacked on an extra name - "Ford and Carter and Reagan...and Reagan!" I remember feeling very proud, I was doing my part as a good Christian to encourage the parents in the audience to vote for the "right" person.

Ahh, how things change. I grew up, realized I was not a republican, and spent a few years figuring out exactly what I do believe in. I have voted for an independent candidate (Jesse Ventura!), attended a republican caucus (John McCain!), and came very close to voting for a Green party candidate (Ralph Nader) in the 2000 election. I ended up voting for Al Gore out of fear that Bush might win...a lot of good that did. As a person of deep conviction when it comes to my political views, it's hard for me to understand why people don't vote. It's also hard for me to understand that small portion of "undecided" voters. I don't see how, if a voter has ANY opinions whatsoever, they can't decide who to vote for. All it takes is a few minutes to really think about what your beliefs really are. Don't think about what republicans or democrats or greens stand for, just think about what you stand for, and pick the party or candidate that matches that the best. It sounds simple, doesn't it?

People usually think about politics when they see political ads on tv, or when some controversial issue (gay marriage?, abortion?, wars?) comes to the forefront. This is a hard time to decide what you believe in, because the issues are constantly twisted through those ads or the media. The best time to think about it is when nothing controversial is going on. Go to each candidate's web page and see what they have to say on the issues. Go to all the candidates web pages - not just the two major ones - check out Ralph Nader's site. Even though I won't be voting for him this year, he's an ideal president in my opinion...I agree with him on almost every single issue.

What I hate about political ads is that they don't tell the whole story. For example, one recent ad talked about how John Kerry opposes the Lacy Peterson Act, which, in the words of the ad, protects pregnant women. What the ad doesn't say is that it also threatens the rights of women to choose whether or not to have an abortion. It's sneaky - maybe those undecided voters don't know the whole story, and it makes it easy for them to get the wrong impression about John Kerry. The same is true for the media. When we hear something from the mouth of Dan Rather or Peter Jennings, it's easy to believe. Why would THEY lie to us? And yet, the truth is, they are not telling the whole story. And when somebody like Michael Moore comes out and puts a different spin on the same story, why do all the conservatives get upset? Because they don't want to believe they've been lied to, that what they thought was true is actually not the whole story.

My dad says that no matter who we elect, republican or democrat, it's going to be the same story. He believes that Bush did exactly what Clinton would have done. He says that all politicians are crooked, so arguing that one candidate will be better than another is pointless. I guess I haven't given up on the idea of democracy and choosing someone who will have integrity and fulfill their promises. I understand that politics are dirty and that we are often told what we want to hear, but I also believe that we have a responsibility as citizens of this country to choose to the best of our ability the candidate that we think will represent us.

Let's encourage our nonchalant liberal friends and our undecided acquaintances to get the vision for the future. What happens in November will have long range consequences, no matter what my dad says. We need to become passionate, just like those evangelical conservatives, and envision the future of our country without a Bush in the white house! VOTE KERRY!!! Yeee Haaaaaa!!!

No comments: