Politics of Hate: America Sets Gears for Election 2004

As Election Day looms on the horizon, we students of higher learning have a moral obligation to familiarize ourselves with the voting process and the candidates. We need to be able to reach our own conclusions by November and cast a ballot however we see fit. I for one am vehemently repulsed by hearing the tedious mantra that President Bush “stole the election” in 2000.

Perhaps almost four years ago this statement had some grounds for being said, but here we are in 2004, and no matter what your opinion of the President is, he is the President, and he was elected through the system that our country has used since it was founded. This election boils down to those who vote: if more people had voted in 2000, than maybe the result would have been different. Unfortunately our system is designed in such a way that the Presidency can only be won by one of two people, although theoretically, anyone born in the United States above the age of thirty five is an eligible contender. The Republicans nominate their marionette and so do the Democrats. Of course you’ve got Ralph Nader, but everyone knows he’s got no shot at winning because comes down to money and which candidate has the most. Money should not matter, but in the real world, it’s the vice that keeps everyone ticking. The media asserts that the Bush/Cheney campaign is composed of elitist money hungry savages, while the Kerry/Edwards ticket is depicted as the candidates for the common man.

The fact that the latter duo possess millions of dollars themselves goes unreported, when in fact, according to Dan Ackman of Forbes.com, if John Kerry became President, he would be the third wealthiest in Commander in Chief in American history. Only George Washington and John F. Kennedy were richer. Kerry’s family’s fortune is estimated at $525 million. Say what you’d like, but there is no way a candidate lacking money has any shot at the Presidency. Politics are murky and grimy and gross and dirty and twisted and evil …and so on and so forth. Despite what outspoken liberals and conservative critics might have you think, the decision between Kerry and Bush is not black and white. The voter then is forced to scrutinize through the almost impenetrable fog that surrounds both candidates and notch his or her preferred choice on the ballot, assuming they are competent enough to understand it (sorry Florida). And these days “the foam keeps getting thicker, and it just keeps getting harder” (Pharewell) to see politics at face value and see what these candidates really stand for, as they have been reduced to puppets at the hands of the special interest groups and millionaires who fund their campaigns. I mean, no disrespect intended, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California; need I say more? A few weeks ago I was down in Danville, Virginia – there’s definitely a serene aspect somewhere in that southern air – and I partook in an engaging conversation with a family man, a father of two daughters who owns his own surveying business and enjoys hunting – you know, a good ole boy – and we were up until five in the morning drinking and when that happens the conversation goes every which way and naturally it flawlessly segued into politics and he gave me his insight, clich?©d but so true in this 21st century: he told me it boils down to who is the lesser of two evils, a phrase I’ve heard infinite times before but never really fully digested it or applied it to something so obvious as this election.

Power has been and will always be corrupting. Every politician has been and will always be scandalous. And I think what’s so wrong with where America is going politically is the fact that I’ve heard so many people saying I’m going to vote against Bush; to you I say vote for something. Voting against something is not the precursor to progress. And progress is always desired, or at least should be. I don’t think the Founding Fathers envisioned political elections to be havens for deceit, slander, out of control antics: politics of hate. Members from both parties get so passionate about winning and obtaining power and control when they should be getting invigorated about serving their country, the purpose which seems to get lost amongst the fervor surrounding what has now become a no holds barred battle for the White House.

This is what elections have become, and the only way to change politicians is for Americans to exercise the right which is denied to countless people worldwide: VOTE.