On the John
Originally published in the Indiana Daily Student on April 29, 2004
Lately, I’ve been bombarded with commercial after commercial concerning the extraordinary pros and cons of both major presidential candidates.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t involve myself in these bi-partisan slappy fights, but to be honest I really, really don’t like Bush, and as good as Ralph Nader is, I don’t see him getting elected. Will John Kerry be the greatest president we’ve ever had? Probably not. But all surprises aside, I’m sure he will be a way-better president than Bush.
Now before all you Young Republicans get all gung-ho and e-mail me about how Kerry has done such-and-such and plans to spend blah blah on whatever, let me tell you I don’t much buy into statistics about candidates that come from people towing the party line. When it comes to political issues, I find many members of both sides somehow manage to find statistics to factually back up their yelling.
For most Americans, Bush’s legacy will ultimately lie in his war, and it is that action which, for me, reflects his worst trait: lack of trustworthiness.
Would Al Gore have gone to war? I don’t know, though he probably would have taken some kind of military action. But the way Bush and Co. carried everything out — misleading Congress and the public about Iraq, Saddam and Weapons of Mass Destruction — was just shady. We’re only two and a half years removed from Sept. 11, and it’s already public opinion that Bush’s initial reaction to go after Saddam Hussein was wrong.
As for the pro-Kerry side, I like most of his policies and ideas a lot more than Bush’s, but mostly I like his legitimate shot at getting elected. I probably dig more of Ralph Nader’s ideas, but Nader’s nerve to run again bothers me. Yes, democracy would be better with three legit candidates instead of two, but our current system doesn’t give much hope to that, and with the election less than seven months away, we have to work within that system.
If Nader really wants to give people a choice, he could spend his time working to develop a new election process. I am all for fighting for something you believe in, even if it has little chance of success, but this is not the year to “make a statement.” Not for a candidate and not for voters. If you want to vote for Nader, I respect that, but I want Bush out of office as soon as possible, and I’d imagine you agree. After all, as a Nader supporter, you probably dislike him even more than I do.
Nader is going to make his own decision about whether or not he wants to run, and if you want Bush out of office then you will have to make your own decision about whether or not the social good of voting for Nader is worth it. I don’t think it is, and with this in mind I will vote for Kerry because definitely getting a better president than Bush is more important to me than wasting my vote on Ralph Nader.
Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps Bush has been a terrific president. After all, he still has many supporters. But I don’t see it. I see his opposition to gay marriage, his unwillingness to fully fund his own education program, his unwillingness to punish corporate criminals and his decision to quickly and thoughtlessly take us into a war.
Bush has had his chance to lead this country, and many people are unhappy with where he’s taken us. It’s time to give somebody else a chance.
ADVICE FROM THE JOHN: You can take all the back roads and alleys and side streets you want, but sometimes there’s just no getting around traffic.
Copyright 2004, jm silverstein