Sunday, October 5, 2008

30 Days and Counting Down

The Presidential election is in 30 days, and I don't know who I will vote for on November 4. As I put it to one friend last week, "I've upgraded from a tent to a cabin with running water in the camp of the undecided voter." At some points in time I've been nearly sure of where to place my vote, only to return to undecided upon further consideration.

The issues at stake this year, and every election year really, are mind-boggling. There is little, if any unbiased press coverage, and I frequently find myself yelling at the TV news. Don't even get me started on the inflammatory e-mails that have arrived in my inbox lately. The more I think I know enough about the issues to make an intelligent choice, the more I realize that I know very little.

Economics? I don't think those two Econ classes I took 12 years ago are going to cut it. Foreign Policy? Well, I do own a passport and proudly claim a few stamps in it, but I know very little about the countries in the headlines these days. Social policy, Wall Street bailouts, tax cuts, tax increases, party politics, health care, education.... the list goes on.

One of my strongest convictions is that citizens of a democratic government should participate by casting their vote. But I admit that there have been times this year that I've been tempted not to vote this year, because it's just too hard to wade through the issues to discover which candidates values and policies most closely match my own priorities. But I take the responsibility to vote seriously, so I will figure it out and I will cast a vote on November 4.

I remember casting my first presidential "vote" in 1984. The students of my elementary school voted, like the nation, to re-elect Reagan. That year was also the first time I watched election returns on the news, the map of the states lighting up in a patchwork of red and blue. My teacher had sent us home with a blank U.S. map and instructions to copy the TV map with red and blue crayons. After I vote this year, I will do the same thing minus the crayons: watch the news until I fall asleep, waiting to see whether more states turn red or blue, indicating who will be the next President.

It was predicted to be an interesting election year, and I have not been disappointed.


(and it's wordy, sorry)

After finishing this post, I read an article in
Reader's Digest (October 2008) called "The Super Voters," which profiles a number of swing voters, and notes that it is the undecided voters in swing states who will have the most significant impact on this year's election. For one thing, although I've been thinking that it is WAY past time to make a decision about my vote already, I learned that there are probably a lot more undecided voters out there than I thought. Apparently I just know very few of them personally.

Second, the article profiled a Christian swing voter who, like myself, believes that it no longer makes sense to vote on a single issue, specifically, a candidate's stand on abortion. While my views on this subject have not changed, and I remain personally opposed to abortion, I feel that because our president deals with so many complex issues in many areas, this issue cannot be the only issue I consider.

Lastly, the profiles in the article highlight which states will be the ones to watch as the returns come in on November 4. Any of the states mentioned (among others not profiled, perhaps) could be the state that selects our next president. Wondering which ones? Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Missouri, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. (Michigan was also profiled, but this was published before McCain gave up on the Great Lakes State last week.)


  1. Julia thinks you should vote for obama because she doesn't want to have to pay for some stupid middle-eastern war when she's 50.

    Also, it's true that your vote barely matters. California is gonna go in the obama column. The swing states will decided the election, but don't be jealous - they're being inundated with nasty political ads.

    Finally, here's a link to obama's speech in GR. I was impressed with the way he tied many issues together as a way to advocate for his candidacy.

  2. I am an undecided voter too (along with my hubs), so there you go...2 more people you personally know that are in the same boat. I have actually thought that I might even vote for a third party simply because I'm not sure I like either candidate. I hear you though on the going in and out of the undecided part. Every time I think one of them has my vote, the other says something that makes better sense. I guess in the end no matter what candidate wins, we will have to put it in God's hands anyway (actually we have to do that now).

  3. I'll admit to being slightly shocked at this post (and even more shocked by the comments in response!) When I look at the issues, the leadership abilities, and character of those running, it seems very clear cut to me. Sure, one of the candidates is a great orator, has a lot of charm, and a boat load of proposals for "change," but as one in his constituency during his political rise, I have yet to see the substance that backs his rhetoric. I agree that I don't want to pay for some "stupid middle-eastern war" when I'm 50, but I think a lot more damage comes from ending the conflict prematurely rather than finishing the job successfully. And bringing troops home does NOT mean an end to wasteful spending... who is going to pay for all of those "changes" in health care, education, and tax reform? Dems consistently tax and spend, and their current candidate will, unfortunately, be no break from the pattern. I wish I were more eloquent on why the Illinois Senator is woefully unfit to hold the office of the Presidency, but lucky for me, my friend Julie is! Check out her blog on why we should live in a No Obama Nation:

    I totally agree with you that it's a non-negotiable to exercise our right to vote. As educated and intelligent women, I'd urge us to look past the packaging and find the substance of each ticket. Our media is doing a stellar job of presenting a biased view of this election cycle, so your vote should be a well-researched one. Joe Biden is right about one thing: this is the most important election in our lifetime!

  4. Only 30 days!!! I just got my absentee ballot in the mail this afternoon. Guess I better make a decision quick! Actually, I know who I'm voting for. Good luck to you on making your decision! Undecided voters can be the best because they tend to make a more educated decision than just going with party lines.

  5. In this election, there's one candidate who has clearly stated his plans for the future, and that candidate is Barack Obama. McCain talks about reform, but what's he gonna reform? His own party is in the White House!

    Also, under Clinton the government actually balanced the budget and ran a surplus. Under Bush we nearly doubled the size of the deficit.

    We need reform in Health Care so that Businesses can be more competitive in the global economy. We need clean energy so that we don't send $ to countries.
    We cannot afford to spend 10 Billion a month to Iraq.

    Finally, the next Congress is going to be Democratic in both houses. This means McCain would get almost nothing he is promising done. Obama will get a lot done.