Flipping a double sided coin of failure
There is much more than a fine line between Democrats and Republicans these days. Sitting on opposite ends of the political spectrum, the two groups constantly butt heads on just about every issue at hand. As the November election draws closer each day, the powerful words of P. Diddy are beginning to echo in my head: “Vote or Die.”
It seems like it should be an easy decision to make. After all, there are only two choices: left or right.
That is exactly where my problem lies. There are only two choices, and neither suits my interests.
The media has been clogged with campaign advertisements for the last few months. First came the Republican primaries at the beginning of the year. It was a fierce battle between a handful of candidates, all claiming to stand for something different yet vying for the same ultimate prize.
When the primary began, there was Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr., Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Slowly it trickled down to a more concise group of contenders. Towards the end, it seemed like it was turning into a toss-up between Romney and Gingrich, with Santorum and Paul playing the role of ‘The Other Guys.’
Then came the endless stream of bickering between the Republicans that should have made any sane man cringe. I once thought politics were about proving you were the better candidate, but now I realize it is about proving why your opponent is worse.
During the final week before the Florida primary, a win that would propel the candidate into a comfort zone for the coming weeks, 92 percent of the advertisements aired on TV were negative ads attacking opponents. For the two big contenders, Romney and Gingrich, that translated into 0.1 percent and 9 percent positive advertisements, respectively.
Politics has never been a clean game; we have seen that throughout history. The only way it could escalate any further at this point is if Romney challenged Gingrich to an old-fashioned duel, Hamilton vs. Burr style. It might be the most effective way to pick a candidate at this point, since it is questionable what anybody even stands for at this point.
Maybe it is because I am finally old enough to become aware of it, but it seems like slander campaigns are becoming grossly invasive. It has simply become a matter of who can dig up more dirt on their opponent, and who has more money to clog the media with their hate.
It should be interesting to see what the following weeks bring us, being that President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Romney are almost neck-and-neck with the amount of funds they have raised for their campaigns.
Obama has the slight edge in fundraising at the moment with $587.7 million, compared to Romney’s $524.2 million. Obama, however, has outspent Romney thus far ($502.8 million to $395.1million) giving Romney the deeper pockets to dip into for future weeks.
This brings me back to my original point of struggling to find a political identity. The issues that keep emerging are seemingly irrelevant to me as a college student. Democrats have spent so much time hounding Romney to reveal his tax records recently that they have had no time to bring anything new to the table.
At the Democratic National Convention, Joe Biden cheered on the crowd saying, “I have a bumper sticker for you. It says, ‘Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!’
This may be true but the unemployment rate is still close to 10 percent (8.3 percent as of July), the national spending deficit is vaster than the Grand Canyon and college tuition is still at an all-time high with no signs of slowing. Bin Laden may be dead, but we still have troops occupying the Middle East, and our country’s dependence on foreign oil is almost as great as the national debt. We are aware of what the Obama administration has done already, but what is next?
It seems to me that there are very little grounds for a college student to relate to either of the presidential candidates on. On one hand, Obama has the right ideas socially, but no business experience. On the other hand, our economic future seems safer in the hands of Romney, but at what cost to social freedom? There is no common ground.
That is my main complaint. The bipartisan system leaves you with only two options to choose from. What happens when neither option appeals to you? I have heard a lot of speculation along the lines of ‘Well, I don’t necessarily agree with what Romney stands for, but I sure as hell won’t vote for Obama.’ It becomes voting against someone you hate rather than voting for someone you like.
There are still other options, but are they really even options? Can the independent or libertarian party be considered a viable option? The overwhelming consent is that voting for one of the lesser-publicized parties is a waste of a vote. Do not feel that way. A wasted vote would be voting for Romney because you simply hate Obama, or because that’s how your parents vote. Do research and find the candidate that best suits your beliefs.
If enough people decided that voting independent was right for them, we could very well have history in the making. It is a tough decision to make, but it should not be shrugged off.
As college students, we are the up-and-coming generation. In a decade or so, we will begin to hold office. The laws being passed and the people who are in power will soon have a greater effect on us than our parents. November 6 is in 60 days so plenty of time to formulate a decision. Just make sure it is informed and well thought out.
Josh Steinberg is a Collegian Columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org