Voting with mangled logic: how not to

How disgraceful it is, this notion that premeditated negative assaults and individual personality traits have become the focal means for amassing support and achieving electoral victory in 2008.In our constant yearning to return to the perceived golden age of politics, that of Kennedy, and Truman, and atthis point, even Clinton the first, it should be quite evident that honor has been undoubtedly compromised in these high-profile contests.What was once a vote of idealism and cultural objectivity has become a hostile and all too personal survival of the fittest battle, in which personal values supersede political ideologies.I recently asked an Obama supporter why she favored her candidate. “He’s a good speaker” she said. “I like his passion.” A good speaker? So was Kenneth Lay, former convicted CEO of Enron.This sort of social justification for votes does not solely apply to the campaign of Barak Obama, who also happens to be one of the first black presidential frontrunners.The same can be said for the McCain campaign drawing support in the form of sympathy for his hard fought veteran years, for Huckabee’s appeal amongst Christian voters (last week he spoke at a mega-church in South Carolina in front of 2,500 people), for John Edwards showing clips of his father, a retired textile mill worker, while vowing to work for the middle class of America.And of course this can be applied to Hillary Clinton with her husband always standing an arm’s length away during high profile rallies, not to mention her bid to become first woman president in the history of our country.These individual characteristics of candidates should not factor whatsoever into their political regard, electability, or success.In essence, it can work both ways; these personal attributes can either be intentionally exploited by these campaigns, or they can be used against them as persuasive factors that influence the opinions of voters.It’s frustrating when half of a presidential debate is taken up discussing offensive remarks these candidates have made to one another, when the time could be better spent addressing the issues at stake. The post debate coverageon the local networks talks about how Mitt Romney looked tired during the debate.”Perhaps he is giving up the fight in South Carolina,” one Fox News reporter suggests, or, perhaps he is just weary from months of traveling around the country in a bus always having to monitor every word that he says for fear that his colleagues will discredit his candidacy for having said it.As a moderate liberal, I am troubled by the clear effect which stems from the compromising of our political solidarity on both ends of the political spectrum, resulting from discrepancies and perceived hostility amongst candidates.It is easy to see how quickly support can dwindle within a party if trouble is perceived by the general populous among its party members.Just look what happened to the Republicans just two years ago. The party was shrouded in scandal and the war was seeing more casualties than ever, to the point where many Republican legislators were no longer remaining silent about President Bush’s controversial actions.The following Mid-Term elections spoke volumes about how voters on the fringes of party lines react to Republican discord as the Republicans lost the majority in both the Senate and House.This emphasizes how important it is that candidates disagree on the issues but not discredit the character of their colleagues or, more broadly speaking, of their party.So please, vote with me. Vote against me. Write in Bernie Sanders if you want, but do so for the right reason. Take the time to look at the issues, decide what’s most important to you, and put aside all this socially driven, or otherwise charismatic influenced clout. Your vote can go a long way to bringing about the changes that you feel America needs to undertake.Sincerely,Jeff RoblinClass of 2008