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the 2008 election

In the 2008 election, voters will have to figure out how to prioritize their values. For many Americans, this has been a year of financial and moral turmoil. For some, the most important issues of this election will be fiscal. Those facing the prospect of foreclosure may vote for the candidate they feel can save them. Others facing high health insurance costs might choose the candidate they feel will offer the best plan to reduce those costs. Meanwhile, gay marriage has become the biggest issue for others.

Although both the Republican and the Democratic candidates have come out against allowing gay marriage, same-sex couples and individuals who support traditional family values will pick the candidate who best represents them. Abortion will also be an issue in this election. Another issue that may determine how citizens will vote during the 2008 election is the war in Iraq. Those who are morally opposed to violence, or who deem the war an unjustified show of force, will be more likely to vote for Barak Obama than those who view supporting the war as their patriotic duty, or those who believe that the Iraq people deserve a chance at Democracy.

Those who have seen young men die in the war, may oppose it on personal grounds, while others who have lost loved ones may support the war, to honor their fallen friends. The choice may be difficult for those who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Libertarians, for instance, might agree with Obama that the abortion question is not his to decide, but they would oppose his plans for government expansion. This type of voter might look to a third-party candidate.

Yet, it will also be difficult for those who believe that a third-party candidate might represent them better than a mainstream candidate, as the likelihood of a third-party candidate winning the election is minimal. Voters may therefore feel that voting for the “best” candidate is a waste of their votes. Many, will therefore vote, not based only on principle but on predictability. Most voters seem to lean toward candidates who they can personally relate to. Lynn Farris, for instance, is a married mother of two. She is voting for John McCain, because he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“I never thought I’d support a female politician,” she says. “Most of them just try to be men, and if I’m going to vote for a man, I’ll pick a real one. ” Palin, she says, is a real woman. Lynn has been unhappy with feminists since she could vote. “They pay lip service to women’s rights,” she says, “but the only rights women have in their book are to hurt men and kill their unborn babies. ” They do not, she says, think women should strive to become president. “Unless,” she says, “they act like men. ” (Farris) Feminists are not the only group that Lynn is disgusted with.

“Liberals on the whole can be pretty nasty,” she says, “they espouse things like equality, love and tolerance, but in reality, they just don’t believe any of that. ” She points to a recent Hollywood incident as evidence of this nastiness. “They hung an effigy of Sarah Palin from a noose. Above her they had a figure that was supposed to be John McCain burning to death. ” But that demonstration came from a fringe group, not the candidates themselves. “True,” says Lynn, “but the candidates are more dangerous, because they pass harmful legislation, while smiling charismatically.

” She points to Obama’s statement that answering the abortion question was above his pay-grade. “He turned it into a joke,” she says, “and smiled past it, but in reality, he doesn’t think it’s above his pay grade. He blocked legislation that would have prevented doctors from killing already born babies who survived abortions. ” (Farris) Why is the abortion issue such a big deal for Lynn? “While I was earning my degree in Political Science,” she says, “I studied the American founding in great detail. ” One of the most important documents of the founding, she says, was the Bill of Rights.

“The first right that the founders said was inalienable, was the right to life. ” There is a reason for that, says Lynn. “Without the right to life, you really can’t have any other rights,” says Lynn. “And when candidates fail to recognize that first, most basic right, you know that they are a threat to every right of every one. ” (Farris) Yet, while Lynn is sold on the Republican ticket, other conservatives are not. Jason, a first-year college student who feels disenfranchised by the Republican Party, is voting for Libertarian Bob Barr. “My biggest problem is that the Republicans and Democrats have become almost the same party,” says Jason.

Indeed, he says the following: Some argue that if Obama is elected, we will become socialists, I would argue that we will either way, because they both vote in favor of socialist legislation, like the recent, unforgivable bail-out. In fact had McCain voted against that bill I would possibly have voted for him. (Howard) At first glance, Jason appears to be concerned mainly with economic, rather than social issues. However, like Lynn, he looks at the Bill of Rights. “Some look at it and say that, without life, other rights are meaningless,” says Jason.

“But death doesn’t bother me as much, because I know where I am going when I die, and it would be better to die than to live life as a slave, never tasting freedom. ” Jason will exercise his freedom when he votes. “Some people say you have to vote for the Republican, or the Democrat will win,” he says, “But they are both liberal and I refuse to be forced to vote for a liberal. ” (Howard) Is there any way Jason would vote for a Republican? He answers that question with the following: I think the Republican Party is a lost cause for conservatives, unless somebody builds a robot Reagan and gives him unlimited terms.

Bush has disappointed me over and over. I don’t even want to really talk about him. I had such high hopes for his presidency but I am just sad about it. I’m not even mad, just sad. He did a few good things but nothing that the next president, whether McCain or Obama, won’t just undo in his first term. (Howard) While those who vote for Republicans generally see a Democratic win as the biggest danger to not voting, Jason thinks complacency is worse. He thinks that Americans have become so self-centered that they are complacent. “It’s the old Roman Bread and Circus argument,” he says.

“The Republicans and Democrats know that as long as they keep the majority of the masses fed and entertained they can do whatever they want with no consequences. ” Jason also relates to Barr on a personal level as well. Barr, feeling frustrated with the Republican Party, changed to a Libertarian during the 2004 election. Jason is similarly frustrated. Indeed, he says, “I find this election to be the most frustrating election I can remember. ” (Howard) Clearly, conservatives like Jason are pessimistic about the future of America. Are Democrats any more hopeful? Mexican-American political worker Elisha is.

“As a Christian, I do find the fact that Obama is pro-abortion disturbing,” says Elisha, “if he really is. ” But, says Elisha, “I really believe that Obama knows where the common man is coming from. ” McCain, he says, has always had it good, while Obama has worked his way to the top. “I’ve had to work like that, and he knows where I’m coming from,” says Elisha. But what will Obama do to change America? “Well, one of the problems that you can see in the economy is entitlements. ” (Ramirez) What does Elisha mean by entitlements? “A lot of people are getting benefits, and they’re not working for them.

That’s a problem. Obama is going to solve that problem. ” What is Obama’s plan to solve the problem of entitlements? “Well,” says Elisha. “He’s going to make a lot of new programs. ” Will they be programs that will require people to work for benefits? Elisha isn’t quite sure. “Just, a lot of new programs,” he says. “Obama is going to change the direction of America. ” (Ramirez) While Elisha doesn’t claim to know all the details of Obama’s plans, he is clearly optimistic. “I’ve had to deal with a foreclosure recently,” Elisha says. “And I’ve also been dealing with a divorce.

Time has been really tough and it just seems like a lot has fallen apart during these last eight years. ” It is nice, he says, to hear a message of change. “Sometimes,” he says, “I don’t really care what changes; I just really need things to be different right now. ” (Ramirez) And while Jason believes that the country will be the same whether or a Democrat or Republican is elected, Elisha believes that Obama will change the world.

Works Cited

Farris, Lynn. Personal Interview. 29 October 2008. Howard, Jason. Personal Interview. 30 October 2008. Ramirez, Elisha. Personal Interview. 29 October 2008.

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