All you need to know to vote for President: Every US voter — Republican, Democrat, and independent — can now make an informed decision by listening, with open minds, to only two speeches and really caring about the results of the election. Because now it really comes down to a contest between the two major candidates, each with some good points, and each with some flaws. The system doesn’t have a viable 3rd candidate. This is what we have — a system of compromises and choices.
You can stop reading this if you fall into one of several (hopefully, small) groups:
- If you’re dead-set on voting based on one or two single issues, then you don’t have an open mind, and this won’t make a difference — you might as well stop now and move to a country where that single issue is supported (or not, as your biases dictate). So, if everything you decide is based on whether the government can tell women what to do with their bodies or you hate homosexuals, you could (for instance) move to Iran where they also ban women’s choices and execute gay people, and voila! Against government funded health care? Move to Somalia where even private healthcare is hard to find. Want strict border control? Move to North Korea, where approaching the border from either side is a nearly certain death. Problems solved and you have a home for your one-issue biases!
- If you always vote for the same political party no matter how incoherent or venal the candidates (e.g., you think Herman Cain or Anthony Weiner are appropriate leadership material) then you really don’t care what happens to the country, so don’t bother reading further. Maybe move to China or Cuba, where there is only one party and everyone votes for it. You’d be happier not being faced with a decision you don’t choose to consider.
- If you’ve already decided you’re going to “Vote against the Mormon” or “Vote against the black Muslim,” then you’re an uninformed bigot. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re open minded or fair, you’re quite simply a bigot. Do the country a favor and get therapy; especially don’t pass it along to any children you might have.
- If you are pathetically uninformed — you think New Mexico is not in the US, you ask questions like this in public, you believe that there is something called “legitimate rape,” you think evolution is false and shouldn’t be taught in schools, you think you can see Russia from your front porch, or anything else pathetically ignorant, then you are a danger to yourself and others. You probably gave up reading this far, but please take advantage of any remedial education opportunities available to you. And don’t vote — you are likely to hurt others, if not yourself.
- If you are convinced it doesn’t matter because the world is secretly run by the Illuminati or extraterrestrials, or that a UN one-world government will soon send in the black helicopters to put us in FEMA-run death camps, then you might want to talk to a health professional about your convictions. There are medications that will help you feel less isolated and threatened, and can actually make those nasty threats go away. And please, please, we beg you, stop voting for Michele Bachmann!
But if you read this far (especially if you understood words like “pathetically” and “venal”), and you really care about the future of the USA, then this may help. (If you don’t like either candidate for various reasons, you are not alone. We don’t have a “none of the above” in our elections. But don’t stay away from voting because of this: not voting is the same as giving a partial endorsement to the eventual winner…who you may think is more odious than the other candidate.)
First of all, be sure you are registered to vote on November 6. Call or visit your elections board — especially if you are a member of a minority group or a naturalized citizen (in some states, there has been a concerted effort to disenfranchise your vote in the guise of preventing “election fraud”). If you have any concerns or questions at all, contact the non-partisan League of Women’s Voters. DO IT TODAY! Some states have deadlines to register or protest not being on the voter rolls — don’t be left out! Find out what ID (if any) your state requires to vote, and get it. Again, call the League for assistance and details. Get your friends and family to do the same.
Now to the part about helping you decide.
Think for a moment — who can provide deep insight about the office of President? Who can talk to the challenges, the stresses, the tradeoffs, the incredible demands made in that office? Who can provide the perspective of handling domestic and foreign pressures? Well, if you want to know what it is like to be a pilot, you ask a pilot. If you want to know what is involved in fixing a car, you ask someone who is (or was) a mechanic. If you want to understand organic chemistry, you ask a chemist.
And if you want to know the minutiae about what it takes to be President, ask a former President.
Luckily, we have two former 2-term Presidents on hand. Each served 8 years in office, with great approval and support of their respective political parties. Each gained a lot of insight about what is needed to be an effective President.
So, listen, with an open mind, to Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC last night (9/5), about President Obama. The press described it in quite positive terms (e.g., the NY Times article). What I’ve seen so far from Politifact and other fact-checking sites give Bill Clinton’s statements a mostly thumbs-up (unlike the large number of less-than-candid statements in Paul Ryan’s RNC speech, for instance, which even Fox News labeled as deceiving). If you don’t want to listen to the speech (which is really quite good) then at least read the transcript. It’s full of good information and facts — definitely food for thought.
For comparison, we should contrast President Clinton’s remarks against those of his successor, President George W. Bush.
Unfortunately, I was occupied last week and didn’t get to watch the Republican National Convention. However, Im sure that with George W. Bush a two-term former President (same as Clinton), who the GOP enthusiastically supported, he must have had a prominent place front-and-center at the Convention. I expect he must have given a spirited defense of the Romney platform — which would reinstate his own administration’s polices on taxes, regulation, trickle down economics, cutting support for public programs, and overseas military intervention. With those policies, President Bush helped turn a budget surplus into a $1 trillion deficit, got us into two wars with hundreds of thousands of casualties, and presided over a major economic downturn that led to millions losing their jobs. I’m sure he has compelling insights to share in support of why the country should bring those policies back, and he shared those with the rest of the GOP and nation. And of course the proud GOP leadership would want to remind the world about the accomplishments of their party’s last President. Right?
However, I didn’t watch all of the televised RNC, and I can’t seem to find anything archived of when President Bush spoke there to defend his policies and show his enthusiasm for Mr Romney. I’m sure it’s an oversight — the GOP couldn’t possibly be ashamed of their record and hiding one of their stars. Maybe they had a rousing endorsement speech by Dick Cheney at the convention, too? If so, I can’t seem to find that, either.
Hmm, maybe you’re better than I am at this Internet thing. So, once you find President Bush’s speech about Romney at the convention — about how bringing back his policies will help the nation — please send us the URL. I’m sure when we compare the two speeches, the conclusion about how to vote will be crystal clear.
(PS. It’s worth noting that the majority of Congressional candidates fall into line, generally, behind one candidate or the other, so this comparison can also help inform your decisions on them, but you should get more info about your specific candidates rather than vote a party line. But be informed — for instance, about the Senate Republicans’ principal goal so important to them in helping the nation during times of trouble should build strong opinions.)