This is it, the point of no return. Tepid responses about “the lesser of two evils” or overwrought partisanship have become irrelevant. The political theater at large has been reduced to nothing more than a sideshow. Indeed, politics has taken a backseat. Now is the time for educated choice, not partisan allegiance. Four more years or a new direction – what’s it going to be?
This election has been billed the most important in a generation, a dramatic statement for which much spin must be taken into account. Yet, it is hard to overstate the importance and significance that this election does indeed hold. Nov. 2 marks a critical juncture in our development as a people – as Americans.
Our forefathers have stared down similar crossroads before in the face of such threats as tyrannical rule, national secession and nuclear proliferation. Ultimately, they have always shown the wisdom, foresight and strength necessary to prevail. And now we must assume that same responsibility in this new era so unexpectedly ushered in at 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.
So under this era’s harsh glare, how will we define ourselves, or more specifically whom will we allow to write that definition? It’s a question wrought with complexities that boils down to this: We can stay the course with George W. Bush, allowing the sharp downward spiral of the past four years to continue, or we could at the very least make an attempt to alter that trend with John Kerry. That may seem too black and white, but all I ask of you is to take it into consideration.
Consider that five million Americans have become uninsured with an additional three million falling below the poverty line in three straight years of rising uninsured and poverty rates. In addition, no American president since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression presided over a net loss in jobs over the expanse of his tenure.
Consider that in less than two years we saw the unprecedented worldwide sympathy for the United States in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, transition into the most extensive and vociferous international protests ever seen in reaction to another nation’s war stance. Now in Iraq, more than 1,100 of America’s finest have died not for freedom but for the sake of a political agenda repeatedly proven to have been lied about time and again.
Consider Bush’s historic fiscal irresponsibility in squandering the nation’s largest surplus ever, having been left over by the Clinton administration, and turning it into a record deficit through a disastrous formula of lowered taxes and increased spending. He under-funds his own education and AIDS programs while increasing spending on the development of new “nooculur” weapons, effectively turning his back on educating America so as to kill people more effectively.
Consider the hate legislation Bush has proposed as an amendment in the Constitution, denying homosexual couples the basic rights granted to even the most unsacred of heterosexual marriages such as inheritance, hospital visits and tax relief. This is incorporated into his social agenda of decreeing abortion and stem cell research to be immoral, while overseeing more than 10,000 Iraqi and Afghani civilian casualties on top of being a strong proponent of capital punishment. This is his idea of a “culture of life”.
But most importantly, consider whether our nation is better off now in any viable aspect than it was four years ago.
This isn’t to suggest that John Kerry will right all the wrongs and do everything right. Kerry does, however, offer viable alternatives to our current state of affairs. He wants to raise taxes for the wealthy while maintaining tax breaks for the middle class as a means of insuring half of the 45 million currently without health care. He has ideas on how to fix the quagmire of the Iraqi conflict that do not involve gun-slinging politics, such as training sufficient numbers of Iraqi security forces and maintaining adequate troop levels. Kerry has also promised to resist the outsourcing of jobs, to fight for gay rights and to foster the reproductive rights of women.
The choice is yours but, in the end, I don’t see how there is much of one to make.
Noah Potvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.