Indecision '08, Part Two

For those who didn’t read my submission in the previous issue (and shame on you for that), I’m having more than a little trouble figuring out who I’ll be voting for in the fall. Thankfully, declaring my status as an “Independent” meant that I only had one circle to fill in on Super Tuesday II, and it did not have a person’s name attached to it.


My problem is this: let’s just say that between the major candidates that remain, I’m not filled with a whole lot of confidence that they’ll even stick to their campaign promises, let alone affect positive change when they do. Therefore, I’m taking this time to think out loud on a few of the issues that bother me.


One of those issues isn’t even an issue at all; it’s the very nature of how little actual discussion is going on regarding the issues. Try to talk with most anybody about the problems facing this nation and it’s as if you were suggesting that the earth is flat, the sky is purple, or that Ginger was prettier than Mary Anne. Instead of an active dialogue, you’re most likely to get an answer akin to, “You’re an idiot.”


If you dare question the theory (and yes, it is still just a theory) of global warming, you’re told that you’re a corporate stooge. If you support the war in Iraq, then it’s assumed that you can’t think for yourself and you believe everything you’re told by the government. Suggest securing the border and you’re an isolationist. Recommend cutting federal spending and you’re against the lower and middle class. And, it goes on and on. These defenses do nothing to forward the discussion; they usually just end it completely.


If we’re going to get anywhere, and do anything, then the first step is that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is going to have to take a step back and throw out all of these oversimplifications and generalizations.


If we’re going to turn this region around, then we need leaders who understand that Ohio’s economic future does not lie in the hands of the steel industry and cannot be pulled from the ashes by manufacturing jobs alone. This isn’t an attack on unions or blue collar workers, it’s a realization that needs are changing and that people who want to work are going to have to change as well. As technology evolves, we constantly demand more features, faster functions, and cheaper prices from the commodities we purchase. Well, industry purchases labor to create those products; do you really think that their expectations are any different?


And speaking of expectations, here’s an inconvenient truth for you. If you want to limit emissions, convert our crops from food to fuel, and try to kick the addiction to foreign oil, go right ahead, but don’t for a second think that it will have much of any effect at all on the planet. Unless you’re able to get the rest of the world on board, then all you’ve effectively done is turn one small portion of this global restaurant into a “non-smoking” section. And if you think the world hates us now for pushing the idea of democracy, just wait until you start trying to sell Third World countries on the concept of conservation.


And while we’re talking about bringing the rest of the world on board, let’s talk about immigration. Let’s be honest, amnesty is just as bad as isolationism. Right now the inroads to this country are filled with potholes and clogged with traffic jams. But the solution is neither to drive over the grass nor close the road altogether. How do you vote to increase the minimum wage, and then turn a blind eye to those circumventing the very system trying to enforce it? Likewise, when people are already prepared to risk their lives trying to get here, how do you think that having bigger walls is going to stop them?


We’ve gotten to the point where people are very infrequently able to compromise. Many people can no longer see the middle ground and have subsequently stopped looking. But seldom is the solution to any problem on one end of the spectrum or the other. Like sailing into the wind, sometimes the only way to advance is to tack from one side to the other. However that means working harder, sacrificing more, and placing focus on the destination.


Thanks for letting me get all of this off of my chest. I guess what it really boils down to is that when it comes time for the election, I’m not so much worried about who captains this ship; it’s whether or not everyone will keep rowing if they continue to see only out of one side of the boat.

Read More on Perspective
Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 7:59 AM, 03.08.2008