Friday, October 24, 2008


I was out of the USA for eleven months, and I returned last July. I kept telling myself that I SHOULD inform myself and know more about the presidential candidates, who's backing them, what they really stand for. I never really did.

The media tells us what to think, and we buy it like we buy every other amazing marketing scheme that has been dropped on our heads in the recent past. Obama is not just a presidential candidate, he is a brand name. Like a cereal, an exercise machine, or an mp3 player. The analogy I came up with with a friend was the iPod. Ipods are pretty cool mp3 players. They have a sleek design, and are marketed well and everyone wants one. People forget there are other brands, they get so caught up in wanting what everyone else wants. What happened to thinking for ourselves? What happened to researching the candidates? I feel like the majoirty of people I know THINK that they are informed voters, but in fact they have been informed by the media. They have been told what they want to hear. They have seen campaign ads that don't even address the issues at hand, but that evoke an emotion or a feeling within.

I talked to my parents...who are McCain supporters in this election...just as they were Bush supporters before. (Don't crucify me for that, it's THEIR choice, not mine) I told them how jaded I was with the system, and how I felt that no matter who won the election, many things are going to be screwed over. New problems will arise...I found an article about Chomsky's stance on the election...he apparently feels the same as I do.

During my discussion with my parents, my dad jokingly mentioned a quiz he had taken online to see which candidate his views on the issues matched with best. McCain, go figure. I decided to find a few of these sites and play around with these quizzes. The results? Bob Barr. Every single time. Bob Barr is apparently my best match in what I want as far as the issues go.
I got onto his campaign webpage. I started reading the stances on issues. for gunlaws and gay marriage? Cutting back on welfare programs and letting charitieshelp people...since they tend to do it more effectively anyway? America shouldn't be the world's policeman? More help for veterans? Less government regulation of education (Wouldn't it be AMAZING to get rid of No Child Left Behind??? Ask teachers, it doens't work)? The more I read the issues the more I realize why I feel so out of place in our political system these days.
We have forgotten that there are other parties. The media polarizes everything into Red and Blue, and we are fed the false choice between Republican or Democrat, Red or Blue, Conservative and Liberal. There are other choices.

In high school civics a few years ago, I remember vaguely talking about other parties. By the time we are seniors in high school, we have been so shaped and formed by the media we don't even consider the other parties. We don't look at their merits. They can't advertize to us, we don't care. They don't have the money to show us what we want. But they might have it.
According to a Gallup poll from a few years ago, there is a huge number of Americans that vote for one of the two poles, when in reality they don't agree with every issue. They make comprimises. And we have to do this.

But realize: the media likes the poles, the Red and the Blue, because it makes money...and the poles spend money. They are marketers selling a brand.
There are other options. And if enough of those voters that make important compromises that they don't have to make, and vote for a third party, they could potentially bring about REAL CHANGE in our government.

Who am I voting for in my first presidential election that I am of voting age? I have always thought it important to vote...but as an informed voter. I still don't understand this enough to make an informed decision. I think though, that if I do vote, it's not going to be a name brand. It'll be for a candidate that matches my beliefs and my views on the issues...on every count. Why vote for a candidate because everyone else will be? I've never been that much of a follower.

Funny thing. Didn't George Washington, upon leaving his office as President of the United States of America, tell us to avoid political parties? That they would be the downfall to such a great country as ours?

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