There was one point in American history when the presidential elections consisted of classy individuals, maturity, and a true vision regarding our nation’s future. It was a gentlemen’s game that involved top hats, walking canes, and a tumbler half full of whiskey. Although candidates were decided in smoke-filled back rooms at party headquarters, the nation would decide which candidate would move into the Oval Office for the next presidential term.
Fast forward to 2008. On the left we have Ms. Cat Scratch Clinton herself, clawing out the eyes of her opponent Obama, while offending most black voters and many Americans by disrespecting the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
On the right we have Mormon jabs and jokes, and illegal, fake campaign-mailers pretending to be from the LDS church, while Huckabee insults many religiously faithful Latter-day Saints in professing himself the soon to be "Pastor-in-Chief." I would say that Huckabee is nothing more than a wrench in the gears and a tasteless distraction that has gotten old really fast.
Last Tuesday, the drama-fest and mud slinging reached a new low with an attack on McCain’s military record. It cleed him a traitor who sold out fellow Americans to the North Vietnamese while being held as a prisoner of war, according to an Associated Press report.
Is it possible to have a presidential campaign without attacking someone’s military service? In 2004 we had the Swift boat issue, and then Bush’s Guard attendance points brought into question. I am appalled that people would sink to such lows as to call an American hero a traitor. You can disagree with a candidate’s politics and policies, but to accuse them of conspiring with the enemy goes too far. And why now? This happened almost 40 years ago.
There is so much name calling and under-the-table shin kicking going on, it’s enough to make your head spin. Who is attacking whom? It’s like a massive game of dodge ball in which you don’t know if you should duck, run, or strike.
If you can see past the candidates’ own bickering, you then have celebrities, reporters, subject-matter-experts, and blog nerds all trying to speculate about polls and influence the outcome with selective reporting about the campaign. Thank goodness the people’s vote in New Hampshire made a bold statement, telling these talking heads to go blow their smoke elsewhere. I really don’t care to hear what some jobless actor or actress might say. If they want to do something important with their lives, I suggest they try talking their writer friends into going back to work so I can watch my 24. One last thing: Oprah… what was that all about?
What is really driving this madness? I will admit it is almost like a traffic accident: You just can’t keep from looking. I even find myself flipping back and forth from American Idol to CNN. I don’t know which is funnier, watching Hillary fake-cry on national TV or an idol-hopeful moaning a rendition of "Let My People Go." Why can’t we vote for our next president American Idol style? I would trust that Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul would mediate a better debate than any Fox News anchor, and I would love every second of Simon as he put these presidential wannabes in their place.
It’s sad, yet funny, that American Idol got more votes than the last general election, and that Fox got more viewers for their season 7 premier than all the election coverage combined.
When all is said and done, these elections will have been the most heated and dramatic campaigns I can remember. I fear that when November rolls around, I will be voting for the lesser of the evils when it comes to the President. I know there are issues that concern me: As a military service member, I am always concerned about the security of our nation. As a single, struggling student, taxes and the lack of financial aid available for students also concern me.
America is a great nation, one that I have chosen to sacrifice for. I have put my life on the line to defend what this great country stands for. It is a nation built upon values, freedom, and the maxim that the people are guaranteed a voice. I just hope that enough people will actually look at whom they are voting for, and not just which party they are members of. If there is one thing I have learned about politics, there are plenty of wolves disguised in donkey’s and elephant’s clothing.