It’s twilight in the labyrinth of smoke and mirrors.
Tuesday America takes to the polls in a referendum of its
current president. In a contest that literally could not be any
closer, young voters are likely to turn out on Nov. 2 in numbers
not seen since the passage of Amendment 26 and the 1972
When combined with our impressionability, our mobile lifestyle
makes measurement of our political leanings difficult for
pollsters. In what has already become one of American history’s
greatest political battles, we have the honor of being the
Whereas it is a right and a duty, every American who is eligible
to vote should do so.
Along with exercising such a right, however, comes the
responsibility to make an informed decision. In order to do this,
one must come to terms with the fact that both candidates,
including the one you favor, will say, do and promise anything to
The very idea of an informed vote, when pursued through the fog
of a political campaign, is almost unimaginable. Making an informed
decision means not falling victim to political deception as well as
overcoming personal misconceptions about the president’s
The president of the United States oversees the application and
enforcement of U.S. government policy – foreign and domestic,
economic and social. Simply put, he is the executor of America’s
will, not the creator.
Both candidates act as though they can change the world
overnight. What neither candidate dare admit, however, is how much
control the president doesn’t have over many of the most heated
issues. Some issues, such as spending and reform of government
programs, are largely the responsibility of Congress. Others, such
as our predicament in Iraq, require a specific, methodical remedy
in order to produce peace.
The economy is the most influential part of any president’s
approval or damnation of which he has little real control. The
basic economic policy pursued by the U.S. government is, contrary
to what political parties would like voters to believe, perhaps the
most consistent bipartisan pursuit in American politics.
In down times, spending increases and taxes decrease to prop up
and stimulate the economy. In good times, the opposite takes place
in order to keep growth manageable. All of this is a task belonging
While the president’s administration does draft the preliminary
federal budget for each fiscal year, Congress dissects, revises and
then approves it. The president does not create laws, nor does he
make appointments or treaties without the approval of the
Listen to President Bush when he lists his administration’s
accomplishments over the past four years; he always begins with
“we,” as in “Congress and me.” Even if Sen. John Kerry wins the
election, he will still be tied to a Republican Congress.
If, therefore, Bush and Kerry have little power over most major
policy issues in which they disagree and would take the same basic
approach to the problems over which they have control, how should
This election will be a pivotal point in our history not because
of the economy, our foreign policy or the hype. It will be
enormously important because U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist
was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Over the next four
years, as many as three Supreme Court justices might retire.
Unlike the economy or the future course of Iraq, the president
has a great deal of control over appointments to the Supreme
Research each candidate’s position on the following five issues:
abortion, gay marriage, education reform, the Patriot Act and
mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent crimes.
After doing the research, decide for each individual issue who
you agree with most. Whom you sided with three or more times is
whom should you vote for Tuesday, no matter how you feel about
taxes or al-Qaida.
Make an informed decision based on your convictions, not your
wallet and definitely not your fears.