Thursday, September 4, 2008

Election 2008

I've tried to avoid writing about politics in this blog, but I'm allowing myself one political post.... hopefully I can contain myself to just this one.

I wholeheartedly believe that it's every citizen's duty to vote. I know sometimes it seems that your vote is like a drop in the sea, but it's more than that. It is your opportunity to have a say as to what direction you want your country to go.

I cannot vote in this upcoming U.S. election, but I have been following it closely for the last year. I've got to admit, I'm hooked. I really do wish I could vote in this election... But even after a year of following all the gritty details, I'm still not 100% sure who I would vote for if given the chance. Oh, sure, I have leanings and opinions, but they don't lead me to any completely satisfying conclusion.

Maybe it's because I'm a foreigner, but I'm shocked by so many people who support candidates for reasons that, to me, seem.... flimsy. This is true of some folks on both sides of the aisle.

I see too many people ready to blindly vote Republican because some think "that's what Christians do". It's not because they necessarily want to vote for John McCain, it's because they think that electing a Republican will mean the government will be more likely to share their Christian values. Many are willing to overlook nearly every other issue.

I also see too many people ready to blindly vote for Obama because he is at the head of a sweeping movement at the moment. It's easy to get caught up in. He's a young, eloquent, exciting candidate that the liberal media adores. Many don't have a clue about his policies or plans for our country.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of folks out there who really do know their stuff, and there are educated voters on both sides of the debate. I applaud these people. I wish there were more of you out there.

To tell you the truth, I'm dissatisfied with both candidates... I wanted 2 GREAT tickets for the American people to choose between. That's what I wanted the people to have, but I don't think that's what they're getting.

Obama is a wonderful speaker, but something about the experience argument at least partially hits home with me. Plus, his policies are quite liberal. In truth, I really like Obama as a candidate. It's the first time that I feel like "our generation" has had a candidate. He embraces the internet and technology in a way that speaks to young people. It's his political leanings that make me nervous. Coming from a much more liberal country, I see many dangers if the U.S. goes in that direction. I'm not certain that more government, more taxation, and more welfare and social programs is the way to move forward.

On the other side, McCain is a 72 year old man who would be the oldest man ever elected, should he win. He believes we should continue to have an interventionist foreign policy... This is the foreign policy that led us to invade another sovereign country 5 years ago, and has since turned our military into a foreign police force. He is a candidate from another generation. Watching the Republican convention reminds me of peeking in on a rich old uncle's dinner party. The "Grand Old Party" really is an accurate name. They don't seem to have much to say about themselves... they just endlessly attack Obama. They accuse him of being all rhetoric and no substance... but they spend more time attacking his "rhetoric" than they do defining themselves. I'd like to know more about YOUR candidate.

I knew the vice presidential picks were going to have a big impact on my thought process... and they certainly did.

Obama picked a man who helps him in the "experience" area. Joe Biden was one of my favorite candidates during the primary, partially because he really seems to embody the "straight talk" label that McCain is always trying to place on himself. During one of the primary debates, candidates were squabbling about how quickly to withdraw troops from Iraq, and Biden cut everyone off and said the following, "Let’s get something straight. It’s time to start to tell the truth. The truth of the matter is: If we started today, it would take one year, one year to get 160,000 troops physically out of Iraq, logistically." Every other candidate was refusing to get specific about this issue, or simply saying "Get The Troops Out Now!"

In truth, I actually like Biden more than Obama, and while I understand why his own presidential bid failed, I am happy to see that he's on the ticket. He has tons of foreign policy experience, he is a fierce family man who has conquered personal tragedy, and he really does speak simply and to the point... sometime to a fault. He brings experience and transparency to the table. Obama chose him because he would make an excellent vice president, not just a running mate for the election.

On the other hand, McCain's VP pick wasn't about who would be best for the job of Vice President... it was about choosing a candidate that will get him elected. Are you really telling me that a 44 year old first term Governor from Alaska is the most qualified candidate out there? I was appalled at this decision. Is McCain trying to appease female voters by choosing a woman, and simultaneously trying to appease conservatives by choosing a staunch right-winger? To me, this choice is short-sighted. Instead of looking for a Vice President, he chose a running mate.

He also seriously compromised his best argument against Obama: experience. He chose a younger, more inexperienced person than Obama! Sure you can argue that her 2 years of executive experience is more than Obama has, but if you argue that, it must be pointed out that it's also more than McCain has himself! He may not have eliminated the "experience" argument, but he has made it far more complicated.

I could go on and on about this VP thing, but I'll have to digress. My point is that choosing a VP is the first major decision that these candidates had the chance to make, and to me, these choices say a lot about their decision making abilities.

I'm not here to convince you one way or another, or spark a flurry of argumentative comments. I just wanted to throw my perspective into the sea of perspectives out there... just like the vote. This is how I see things...

So on November 4th, if you are able to, go and put your vote on that ballot. When you do, don't vote for the wrong reasons, and don't vote blindly. Decide WHY you are voting for your candidate. If you're not happy with McCain or Obama, then research the write-in candidates. There are more choices than you think.

The 2 major candidates have VERY different ideas about what direction to take this country in, it is up to the people to decide which direction is the best one. Be a part of that choice.



christena said...

wow. that was a really long post. i'm so happy i can't vote yet. i would get all confused with all this political junk. it's like that's the only thing you hear about that's happening in this world, and i'm pretty sure that there's way more interesting stuff going on. i can't stand it! i think voting for student council reps is good enough for now lol. great job writing all these posts! i love them!

Ida said...

that was realllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly long.. but it was good.

Jae said...

Hey Jon,
I enjoyed reading your post.
I too have been following the election. Although I am not old enough to vote yet, I've been trying to educate myself in politics and form my own opinon on different issues. It's scarry to hear kids going around repeating their parents//teachers opinions like parrots. They hear something and take it as truth instead of researching the matter for themselves.

And I completely agree: One shouldn't vote toward the sucess of their political party, but rather the sucess and good of their country.

Anyway, good post Jon.
God bless America. :)

Anonymous said...

hey we actually discussed some of the things you mentioned in my mass media class.

one more year...then I can vote.
Election day is on my birthday this year :b

Kelly said...

i agreed with every single thing you said except for one thing:

you mentioned that you didnt think the U.S. should be getting more government, more taxes,ect. which you thought would happen under Obama's leadership. But he said in his acceptance speech that his plan was to cut taxes 95%.

just wanted to throw that out there, i loved everything else you said :)

jonathan said...


yes, you're absolutely right... he did say he would cut taxes to 95% of taxpayers.

taxes overall would go up however... because he has to pay for all these additional programs he's talking about. i'm not talking about my personal taxes, i mean the taxation of the american economy as a whole.

and i didn't say i'm fully against all these things... i said that i'm not certain they're the answer. i could be persuaded...

thanks for your comments... i appreciate the constructive thought!



Mollie said...

i completely agree with you there, about people just voting Republican because that's the "Christian" thing to do. i'm sure alot of people will disagree with that but that was definitely a good idea to throw out to get people thinking.

Anonymous said...

well... my family doesn't vote because they believe it's in god's hands and whatever happens has to happen but truth be told i really like the woman candadate because she has the stuff to get the job done no matter what it is!!! but yeah i do agree with most of what you said i think that most people are voting for obama because he is black but seriously his wife isn't even proud to call herself american!!! so idk it just seems as tho whatever we do we are in for disaster!!! (dun dun dun!!!!!!)

abbi said...

I completely second your comments on why McCain chose Palin - I've become even more shocked since the announcement, after reading more about her.

I'm also quite sick of those two constantly going at Obama about this and that, yet seemingly having nothing important of their own to say. Not only that, McCain's latest game at trying to steal Obama's "change" theme brings my opinion of him and his lack of originality down to a whole other level.

Also: The last thing we need is a president who doesn't know how many houses he owns, who jokes about being rich as earning over $5 million, and who is almost completely ignorant when it comes to internet and computers.

Not to say in any way that Obama is the perfect candidate, but I feel like he is better prepared for the job than McCain, despite his lack of experience in some areas.

Cecily said...

Great post Jon! You always make me think. Though i voted few times already this will be my first presidential election and I'm quite disappointed in the choices. I will be voting for McCain but i can't say I'm completely thrilled about it, but i feel i have no other choice since Obama is very pro abortion. I just can't vote for someone who thinks it's okay to kill babies...i mean what kind of character does that show? I love Palin but i have to agree that she wasn't the best choice. However it feels really great to have a strong pro life female political figure to get behind, i find i relate to her in many ways (not that it matters but she gives me hope that if i go into politics i don't have to wear pant suits lol that was always my fear) I wish i could get behind Obama, but unfortunately he goes against everything i know to be true. But i love politics so for me it will be exciting either way lol election season makes me all fluttery inside haha.

Anonymous said...

well... obama is a really bad person on the radio he said "lets clear the air right here i am a muslum" and the interviewer said "you mean christian" and he said "yeah sorry' and he believes that kids should start learning fromages 0 - 5 and there will be no home schooling and...he says if a baby survives an abortion it should not get medical attn it should be put to death!!! idk but i think he is crazy!!!

Kara-More said...

that was a great post.
I agree with every single thing
that you said.
It's sad how people just follow their parents decision on who is the better candidate, or they are voting for them for the wrong reasons. You are smart guy. Thank you for all these posts. :)
I love them all

Anonymous said...

ehem his anme is jon!!!!! :(

Morgan said...

I'm going to be completely honest with you I can't stand Obama!
For several reasons but my biggest is that he is for abortion! There is no reason to take a life! AT ALL!!!
I don't believe that McCain was the best choice I wouldn't have picked him but he was the next best thing!?
I really like Palin, But no she probably was not the best choice for a running mate!
This is my opinion you can think differently we do have freedom of speech( for know!)!

God Bless America!