Vote early and vote often

Apr 302003
Authors: Becky Waddingham

Breaking news: Politics is all about power and money.

It’s no surprise, then, that there are reports of the New Hampshire Primary being held as early as the second week in January. Nothing like 11 straight months of name-calling, mudslinging and fundraising to get the American people excited about an election.

Having primaries so early does nothing to help the public learn more about candidates. It only serves to destroy political opponents – and potentially great candidates – so early on that the party’s nominee is assured long before the nominating convention. This gives the victor plenty of time to raise ridiculous amounts of money. Like President Bush did.

But I digress.

Since the campaign has already started, I thought it wise to give assistance to Democrats who might not know how to choose between the likes of Al Sharpton, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry and Howard Dean. Say what you will; it’s not an easy pick.

So here’s my final piece of left-wing, liberal political advice before I depart this dear university:

1. Vote early; vote often.

To steal a campaign slogan from probable Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, “vote, baby, vote!”

According to C-SPAN, a pretty good authority on the subject, only 51 percent of Americans voted in the 2000 presidential election. And look what happened, especially in Florida. Every vote counts!

2. Vote for Democrats.

Though they have their problems, especially with message management and public perception, Democrats are the party that should lead this country in the 21st Century. Democrats are compassionate and wise leaders who don’t ignore everyone else’s viewpoint. They understand the value of bodies like the United Nations and are not afraid to disagree with other Americans, or the French (most of them, anyway).

Democrats don’t see things in black and white, right and wrong, good vs. evil, Us vs. Them. They understand a broader spectrum of ideas and desires; they do this by virtue of their liberalism, which teaches inclusion and fair debate.

Furthermore, Democratic presidents have historically run our country better than anyone else. Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and yes, Bill Clinton, were better than any Republican President in history. So there.

3. Vote for John Kerry or Howard Dean in the presidential primaries, not John Edwards.

Kerry and Dean are experienced politicians who deeply understand the needs of Americans regarding social issues, something that has gone by the wayside in the Neo-McCarthyistic, post-9/11 world. Edwards, though bright, likeable and well-intentioned, is Bill Clinton with greater marital fidelity. He won’t win, so voting for him would be like voting for Ralph Nader: pointless, stupid and detrimental to Democrats.

I’ve already endorsed Kerry, a Vietnam hero who understands not only the struggles and challenges of America’s military, but also the value, importance and right of citizens to disagree with military action. Kerry returned from Vietnam in 1969 and became an outspoken opponent of the conflict that earned him Bronze and Silver Stars and a Purple Heart.

He has plenty of money to run for the highest office in the land, and the nomination may be his to lose.

But don’t ignore Howard Dean, the governor of Vermont, a well-educated and very liberal doctor. Like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Dean has a special perspective on things like stem cell research; health care; prescription drugs and Medicare; and the right of patients to sue health maintenance organizations for lack of coverage. While he may not be as well-known as Kerry, Dean is a force to be reckoned with.

4. Never be afraid to disagree with the mainstream.

A wise man recently reminded me that “the first casualty of war is the truth.” This has never been truer.

If CSU students take away one thing from their education at a liberal arts university, it should be that dissent is healthy, necessary and acceptable. Never shut up just because someone didn’t like what you said.

Becky would like to give a shout out to the Buffalo Bills, simply because she can. Go Bills.

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