Four Years Ago

by Heidi on November 3, 2008

I was 21 years old and pouring my heart and soul into the GOTV movement on campus for John Kerry. I had been more heavily involved during the Primary’s but once the general rolled around and I was back to classes writing a thesis that enveloped my time, I scaled back and worked as the President of the College Democrats taking a more student leadership roll in telling students how important it was to get out the vote and what was at stake.

It worked. Myself and my peers got bus loads of students up to NH to vote, and we won NH. The students largely went out for John Kerry, and I couldn’t have been prouder of my efforts.

Four years later, my apathy scares me.

Apathy in the sense that I’m not moved by either of these candidates. They’re both capable. They both have their pros and cons to their candidacy, and both of them have ran…wretched campaigns in the sense that we hear more about the negativitiy within the campaigns than we do about the issues. I understand that that’s more media bias/media coverage of both campaigns but that doesn’t make it okay. I wrote my thesis four years ago on issue based coverage of presidential campaigns in the media and the results of my research? Astounding. Candidates since the 60′s have gone from a 1 minute soundbyte to a 8 second soundbyte. Local news is still largely covering how many murders happened up in Northeast here in DC than they are about the real differences between the two heath care proposals. I know the differences, they’re quite large, and they effect EVERYONE.

But regardless, the coverage, pissed me off. Largely to the extent that I stopped seeing what the big damn deal with Obama was. Sure he’s “inspiring,” sure he touts “hope” and “change” but his policies, to me, upon further investigation were more frightening and far too liberal for my liking.

I voted for the first time, as an Independent. I voted for John McCain.

Now before you go throwing tomatoes and unsubscribe from my blog, I voted in Vermont so it’s likely that Obama is going to win my state. It’ll likely be the first state announced – by 7:30pm on Tuesday. I’ll bet anyone money. But I couldn’t, in my heart, vote for someone who supports “spreading the wealth around.”

I’ll tell you why.

We are not a socialist nation. Spreading the wealth? Is largely a socialist principle. Now, the whole “do unto others” blah blah blah bullshit is probably going to be touted here – telling me “why don’t you want to help out the poor? Wahhh wahh wahh.” Crap.

I am all for supporting those who can not support themselves. But my urge to help out those who “need help” like the obese homeless lady sitting at the end of the Tenleytown Saturday morning who called me a bitch for not giving her my money makes me want to help less and less. I’m all for government programs to help out the disabled, and the elderly, they deserve the help. Government should help those who cannot help themselves. But when those who can’t help themselves are lumped in with those who are too fucking lazy thats when I become cold hearted.

I work hard for my money. We all do. Spreading the wealth to those who don’t pay anything isn’t a tax cut, it’s welfare and I believe we have a program for that. That coupled with workforce training have done fine things, but we’re in an economic slump. It doesn’t take an econ major or a Wharton grad to tell us that you probably shouldn’t be raising taxes during an economic downturn. I dropped my econ class freshman year of college and even I know that! (my professor bored me, thats why I dropped it).

I am pro-choice. I do support equal rights for homosexuals (though my view is more libertarian than anything) – I recently heard a sound byte where Barack Obama said he…does not support gay marriages. Now my Catholic faith tells me I shouldn’t either, however, the way I see it, is you can get married by the local JP, like my parents did, or you can be blessed in a sacramental marriage with God as your witness. No one HAS to get married in a Church. But the government who is ultimately the one who recognizes marriages legally, has no reason to deny the piece of paper that says “Hooray! You’re married!” to anyone – well to a certain extent, you can’t marry your brother or your cousin. But two people who love each other, regardless of their sexual orientation should not be denied marriage. That’s my view. I don’t think ANY state should come out and ban gay marriages in their constitution, because constitutions are lasting documents, discrimination should NOT be placed into them.

I don’t believe we should set a time table for withdraw in Iraq, I don’t think you can put victory on a calendar and say “we’ll win by this date.” And I think we need to “win” in Iraq. What winning is? I don’t know. I don’t think any of us do. But part of that problem is not because we don’t have a timetable with withdrawal, but the convoluted strategy in which we went in with. With a family that has a long military history dating back to my great grandfather, I’m value a leader with that kind of experience. That was a large part of why I so strongly believed in John Kerry in 2004. He had experience. He had a background in the military and at the time, I believed that that was what our nation needed. It probably was but 51% of our population didn’t think so, you win some, you lose some.

This time around, I looked at what I adored and so strongly valued with John Kerry and found it not in Barack Obama, but with John McCain. You’re probably thinking “but zomg he’s prolife! You’re not a feminist! You’re a heathen!”

I am Pro-Choice. I am not pro-abortion, in fact, over the past few years, since I’ve settled down, my stance on that teeters on the edge of being pro-choice or pro-life. Both sides are way too extremist for my liking and neither side puts an emphasis on LOWERING the number of abortions. It should not be easier to get an abortion at the age of sixteen than it is to get a freakin’ aspirin for a headache at school, which in many places is definitely the case. Do i see a need to ban it? No. Not at all. Do I see a need to regulate it? Yes. Probably some stronger restrictions, putting an emphasis on comprehensive sexual education but I really don’t think this is an issue I’m going to be basing my vote on much anymore, at least not as much as it was when I was 21. I’m getting married, if I got pregnant tomorrow, I know that I would keep the child and that fiancé and I would be good parents. I really don’t think that a McCain presidency would “ban” abortion, or limit it. For starters, a Democratic Congress – possibly a super majority – would never let that happen, so again, not an issue I saw as a problem. If i thought it was an issue? Sure. My vote might have been reversed.

OMG YOU LIKE SARAH PALIN?! Well, no. Not really. To be honest. But, she’s not the one I’m voting for. If my vote was based solely on the Vice Presidency, I would have EASILY voted for Obama, because I adore Joe Biden (though he’s been a little annoying on the campaign trail). But I don’t base my vote on the VP pick. McCain is not going to kick the bucket tomorrow, if he does, show up at my doorstep with pitchforks, I dare you. I’ll eat my words. Have you seen his feisty mother? She’s still kickin’ around at 96 and I don’t just mean living, she’s pretty bad ass. So I think John McCain has 4 years left in him. At least. All you negative Nancy’s who think he’s going to keel over and die in the next four years if he wins need to get a grip.

Another large basis of my vote was the democratic party as a whole. The democratic party today is not the democratic party i stood up and cheered for at the 2004 DNC in Boston. It is not based on the people, post college, i thought about my issues and realized, how the hell are they looking out for me? They look out for women, students, elderly, and minorities, but even as a women, the issues they cared about I felt were irrelevant and non-decisive during an election year. I largely felt disconnected and not at all on par with the radical crazy anti-war liberals who have infiltrated the base of the party.

I have a hard time supporting Congressional leadership that couldn’t even pass a single appropriations bill – do any of you realize how close they could have been to shutting down the government? A Continuing resolution was passed just days before the end of the fiscal year. I have a hard time supporting leadership who say they want a “new direction” (say it out loud. i dare you) yet are unwilling to even work with the executive branch to get things done. Government doesn’t work without compromise and the thought of having ONE party with super majorities/in the white house frightened me.

So I voted the way I did. Feeling, ambivalent still even after casting my ballot and sending it back on it’s way to my home state of Vermont. I’m proud of myself though, after weeks of wondering if I did the right thing, I realized in my heart, I believed I did. That’s what matters.

So to all you people who are gung-ho Obama, and to all the ones who think McCain is best? Vote with your heart, for who you honestly believe will do the better job. I respect both candidates, and I know both are extremely capable of running this great nation. I respect anyone who votes with their heart and makes an informed decision when doing so. I have confidence that all of you freaders, regardless of who you’re voting for, have made an informed decision and whole heartedly believe in the candidate you voted for. Voting is not a right we should take lightly, we’ve been listening for 20 months to the candidates, their issues but the question we’re missing? Is not why you’re better, or who has the better resume, but WHY do they want to be president. Neither candidate answered it during this election cycle I don’t feel (correct me if you think I’m wrong.) but ultimately that is the question we should be asking all elected officials – WHY do you want to do this. Public Service is an incredible opportunity, and those who are privileged enough to be elected by their peers should not take advantage of the power, but should serve their constituents well and rightly.

So happy election day. I’m turning off comments on this post – but if you want to email me any comments – find my email up in the Contact Me portion of this blog!

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