Tuesday, February 13th, 2007...12:57 am
2008 — The Year I Will Finally Vote….maybe
I’ve never voted. I’m not really proud of this but I’m not really bothered by it either. Chalk it up to apathy, thats the term people use to explain why more than half the country passes up on their right to vote. My parents and people of their generation seem to be appalled when I mention that I don’t vote. I didn’t see how uninspiring candidates could spur me on to make a symbolic move. I used to think it was a drama act in which adults pretend that each vote counts because it is the socially correct thing to do. But I’ve changed my tune recently and now I eagerly await the the opportunity to vote in the 2008 presidential election.
My interest in the next election stems from the current presidency. I’m not a George Bush hater. In fact, I think he has done his best to try and serve his country and that deep down he had pure intentions for America. I do realize that our nation and the world took a distinct path over the last six years specifically because Bush was in the White House. That makes me a bit uneasy. The President should not be allowed to create his own agenda. I would like to see a president who is a leader of the people and is able to do that in an honorable, prestigious and admirable fashion. I want my president to be a role model. I want to have my own FDR, Lincoln or JFK.
Despite what many pundits are predicting I think the 2008 race has some intriguing and charismatic candidates. The frontrunners Hillary Clinton and John McCain both carry a prestigious history and have been in the spotlight for years. Clinton has a chance to be the first female president and I think that can do more for gender equality than any other event in the past century. A little girl would be able to claim she wants to grow up and be President and nobody can tell her otherwise. McCain is a decorated war hero and a political maverick who speaks his mind in a distinctly bipartisan era of politics. It’s going to be interesting if he lives up to that persona or if he will compromise his beliefs to better his chance of a victory with support from the far right.
Another candidate that peaks my interest is Barrack Obama. He is young, charismatic and spews confidence and leadership. His main pitfall is that he is unexperienced. I believe that term is only used when no other negatives can be found. It seems like Obama has been preparing for this his whole life. A few years before he was President, George W. was enjoying Texas Ranger games and was the CEO of a Carlyle portfolio company. Obama is qualified in my eyes. Obama is of mixed race, but like Derek Jeter, has a special aura about him that allows him to bring people together and view him as a man instead of a color.
Other interesting candidates include Mitt Romney (a Republican Mormon from the east coast) and good old Rudy. Giuliani actually belongs to my father’s golf club in Sag Habor. It will interesting to see if he gets as many rounds in as a presidential candidate as he did last summer. Giuliani has his fair share of dirty laundry in the hamper and I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides not to run. I think he had his moment in the spotlight and don’t see him as a leader who can bring a nation back together.
I easily grow frustrated by politics because I believe the media distorts the story. I feel as though I am a sucker for heavily edited spin with little ability to make my own decisions in evaluating the candidates. The entire process leaves me disillusioned.
I’ve decided the best way to combat this information gap is to read the autobiography of each candidate. This will be my initial way of getting to know each one on a more intimate level. I am starting with Faith of My Fathers by John McCain. Next I will read the Obama book and will take it from there. I’m excited by this plan because I believe it will allow me to form my own opinions on candidates based on their own words. I’ll be able to better sort out what information I want to process and separate it from the layer of bull that clouds and dulls campaign messages.
I’m still worried that following the election process will leave me more disenchanted than ever. I’ve heard that this election might be all about which candidate raises the most money. Top candidates will collect over $500 million dollars each. This bothers me. The election shouldn’t be about who yells the loudest. If a candidate raises $500 million that means there are probably corporate interests associated with each candidate that expects at least that in return on their investment. Even the most righteous candidates might have to compromise their morality and beliefs when they are in that kind of hole. By the way, wasn’t McCain a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform? What happened?
Now I understand why somebody like Ross Perot was so well received back in 1992. He wasn’t playing anybody’s game but his own. Wouldn’t it be cool if Mayor Bloomberg ran on his own terms. If Hillary wins then two families will dominate for at least a 25 year period in the White House. Instead of electing the most qualified candidate it seems like America falls into the hands of the most connected?
If things go well I will find a candidate to support and won’t forfeit my right to vote for all the money in the world. If things turn ugly quickly I might try and sell my vote on eBay. I figure that a candidate needs around 50 million votes to win the nomination. If they raise half a billion dollars that breaks down to around $10 per vote. I bet I can charge a premium and get a pretty decent price for it. I know it’s a sick thought, but hey, I’m only playing the game.