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September 26, 2008

Making A Wise Choice

Derek Shackelford

Okay, it has been weeks since the glitz and glamour, the pomp and circumstances, the cartwheels, boos over the “other” name and cheers for it as well just because someone delivered a good punch line.


What else would anyone expect from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions? These meetings were simply to rally the party base and attempt to convey that each party has been unified behind the party’s nominee.


Democrat Sen. Barack Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain have campaigned across this country vigorously stating their case for the presidency, each trying to convince the voters of America that they have the plan to be the leader of the free world. There is a saying: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” We will delve into this saying later to see how it pertains to the voter.


It is nearly six weeks until November 4 when this nation will cast its ballot for the next President of the United States. Every four years the mantle is brought out that this is the most important election in this nation’s history. Why?


To a large degree, we are living in real challenging times. No matter how we dissect our political landscape, the world has greatly changed over the last eight years. This year’s theme seems to focus around the word “change.” Washington needs to change. Washington needs to be reformed. We need a change of direction, and a change in leadership.


Change is coming to America. The question that remains is what kind of change? Change for the better, or change for the worse?


This is an important question because it could be said with almost certainty that things have changed for the worse under the Bush Administration. So, if change for the better is the theme by these two candidates, then please convince me.


It is important to note that it is not just two candidates who are vying for the office of president. There are just two who have garnered the national media spotlight. Since, the Democrat and Republican candidates have taken on the banner of change, let us really see how much change is – well – positive change.


When we dissect this election we find that no matter how much candidates talk about change, some things will stay the same.


Senator Obama took the traditional route in selecting a vice president in Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. Senator Biden has labored in the Senate for longer than Senator McCain. Senator Obama has surrounded himself during this financial bailout crisis with former President Clinton advisors.


It should be noted that there was no way Senator Obama could have selected Sen. Hillary Clinton. Although it would have appeared to be a wise move in capturing her supporters, the dynamics of them working together would have made it rather difficult. Senator Clinton had her hopes on the highest post in the land and to succumb to the No. 2 position would have been difficult for her to swallow.


Senator McCain selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, an obvious political move. In other words, it was to garner the women’s vote that Senator Obama did not sure up by not selecting Senator Clinton.


It is admirable that in 2008 women have taken national prominence on the political landscape. Governor Palin has been guarded in her appearances with the national media so far, raising the question of whether or not she is ready for the grand stage.


The experience factor has been discussed, comparing Senator Obama and Governor Palin. One of the differences is that Senator Obama has been scrutinized for 20 months while Governor Palin has been for less than a month.


The reality is this is a null and void subject because Senator Obama is not running against Governor Palin; so, the experience issue between the two is cancelled. Senator McCain is being called a maverick because of his split with Republican policies in some previous votes. Overall he has held true to the party line in his campaign. He had to in order to insure the nomination.


So, here we are, voters trying to determine who will lead us for the next four years. Both sides have given us ample ammunition on why we should not vote for the other. Unfortunately, neither has sold us on why we should vote for them.


Each election cycle appears to descend to selecting the lesser of two evils. I am hoping this time that voters will make the wise decision on the issues that face this nation. One change that is definitely needed is not so much from the presidency but from us – the voter.


In the words of the popular song by the Spinners, “Everybody plays a fool. Sometimes there is no exception to the rule.” Let us be vigilant this time around in not only voting but also involving ourselves so that we don’t fall for promises instead of results.


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