As we stagger toward the final day of the quadrennial slugfest for the White House, we continue to see talking heads regaling us with stories of undecided voters.
How anyone who has a pulse and is not in a coma could have gotten to this Halloween day without knowing which of the two candidates has the best chance of delivering the leadership most likely to take the country where he or she thinks it should go is far beyond my ability to understand. For better or worse, most of the people we encounter on these pages have had their minds made up for what seems like decades. And therein lies the quagmire.
This election cycle is no place for one-trick ponies. Recently on Open Salon there have been a barrage of political posts. Many, if not most, are supportive, in varying degrees, of the re-election of President Barack Obama. But there are also those that are passionately against the President. Some don’t like either candidate and call for votes for third parties. Others seem to support voting for Mitt Romney, but that support seems a bit tepid and comes across as more of a “not-Obama” stance.
It’s the economy, stupid!
This is the resurrected motto of those people who care primarily about the state of the union’s economy. The President had four years to make it better. He hasn’t (or so they insist.) He has to go. Next!
He’s a war criminal, dammit!
This is the verbal bomb launched by those who cannot forgive the President for deciding not to prosecute Bush administration officials believed to have violated the boundaries in the treatment of foreign prisoners of war, as well as the use of drones in current engagements in the Middle East.
He’s weak in foreign policy!
This is usually when the hackneyed expression “Apology Tour” comes up. The recent handling or mishandling of the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, is usually thrown in to the mix for this argument.
He’s a socialist. He’s a Wall Street puppet. He is a Muslim. He is cold. He is a big spender. He is a liar. He is leading a government takeover of healthcare.
I am not here to defend or refute any of these familiar arguments. They are either valid or invalid, depending on your point of view.
My point here is that there are a hell of a lot more things for American voters to be equally concerned about when choosing the man who will lead for the next four years.
I sense in America a strong tendency to let one or two special interest issues sway their votes. There doesn’t appear to be enough thinking about the totality of issues that are affected by the election of a President.
My friend Amy Abbott recently posted an excellent explanation of how important the single issue of abortion is in her native state of Indiana. Sure, many of the people of Indiana who are pro-life depend upon Medicare and Social Security. Clearly there are many poor Hoosiers who at one time or another have benefited from food stamps and other forms of aid from the government. But, without giving much consideration to the futures of those programs, Amy says, those pro-lifers in Indiana will vote for Mitt Romney.
For the far left voters who have written off President Obama as a George W. Bush clone and are supporting Dr. Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, little has been said by them of the likely outcome of expending their votes in those directions. Although none of those voters who support third-party candidates would be content with Mitt Romney in the White House, they have chosen to make a statement with their votes, and by doing so, will likely strengthen Romney’s chances to win. What of the long-term effects of such a statement of principle? What about the two Supreme Court Justices Mr. Romney will likely appoint? They are seated for life, no matter who wins the White House in future elections.
Possibly more than ever before, a vote in this election needs to be well-thought out. The bigger picture needs to come into focus for each of us. What are ALL the ramifications of your vote? How sure can you be of the performance of the challenger once in office? If Barack Obama is a mini-Bush, what do you think a Romney Presidency will look like? Is your political statement against the two-party system and its efficacy going to send the country in the direction you seek, or will it drive it in the opposite direction?
If you are reading this and you haven’t yet voted; if you still have not decided which candidate will get your vote; and if you really care about all the people in the country and not just a privileged few, please THINK before you cast your vote.