Election season is upon us

Jan 242008
Authors: Joseph Haynie

Forget about the Super Bowl – warm weather and a week of results in a lopsided New England victory – and don’t bother with that Stanford cricket nonsense – not even all of the money in the world can make cricket exciting – because the 2008 Presidential Campaign is where the drama is.

If you don’t believe me, turn on the television or read a paper. With so many storylines and so much riding on America’s choice in November every eye should be glued to their respective media outlet.

Although the drama is there, America unfortunately suffers from a severe case of political apathy.

Many of us consider a daily dosage of SportsCenter to be keeping up with the news and current events. When it comes to a conversation about politics, it is usually met with a cavalier “I’ll wait until November” or “I don’t really care.”

No wonder voter-turnout is abysmal. Although turnout in the last presidential election was higher than it has been since 1968, having 65 percent of all registered voters show up to the polls is nothing to be proud of, especially since many other countries have significantly higher turnout.

In case you suffer from apathy, maybe you should examine what is at stake later on this year.

The next president will be able to impact the future of American laws and Constitutional interpretation as enough judges to sway the ideological majority one way or the other are expected to step down. If you really want to protect the sanctity of life or keep laws off of your body, you might want to be more vocal and pro-active for your candidate or your cause.

Years of out-of-control spending and a tax-less war — the Iraq war is the first war in American history waged without an increase in taxes — has left the American economy in a precarious situation.

Couple a massive deficit with crumbling and unstable stock and housing markets and you’ve got the makings of a recession.

Alas, what goes on in Washington unfortunately does not stay in Washington. Economic decisions on Capitol Hill and in the White House impact our pocketbooks in more ways than most of us feel comfortable. Maybe our voice in November can set things straight.

America’s hegemony is being challenged. China and Russia are trying to be more than just regional powers, tired of playing second fiddle to the United States.

The former, with the aid of oil, is attempting to regain its superpower status. The latter, with its ever expanding and sophisticated army, is reason for concern as it is trying to become more of a global actor than it already is.

Iran has been a constant headache for the past few years. From a “peaceful” nuclear program to confrontations on the open sea, the message and actions from Tehran have been, to say the least, suspicious, if not down right dirty. Oh, and let’s not forget the game of Russian roulette that is Iraq. Either way, America’s position and influence in the international community is waning.

With the right leader at the helm, maybe the land of the free can be put back in the right track.

As we get closer and closer to the election, things will begin to clarify. We will have a better idea of who will be the frontrunners and where they stand policy wise. We will have somewhat of an idea in which direction they will intend to take us.

Hopefully, by then, some of the aforementioned issues will have been able to be resolved. Either way, one can only hope that John Q. Citizen catches the political fever and actively takes part in the political arena.

Joseph Haynie is a senior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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