Tag Archives: voting

All Is [Not] Lost

17 Oct

John McCain has lost this election.  Despite the fact that no one has actually gone to the polls (with the exception of early and absentee voters), it seems that Barack Obama is the President-elect.  Now that’s democracy in action, isn’t it?  Pundits and media folks are telling US what WE think, and apparently, they think we’re pretty stupid.

The evidence, which mainly consists of calling weary voters to ask who has their vote, has Barack Obama ahead in every major news poll.  However, what does the “man on the street” actually think?  Here in the great state of Pennsylvania, it seems that there are a lot of McCain/Palin signs in people’s yards (as well as a great deal of Obama/Biden signs).  We may be sick of hearing about it, but the election is far from decided.

Obviously, I support the McCain/Palin ticket and find these reports disheartening.  I’m about to peel my “McCain” bumper sticker off the back of my car and admit defeat.  I mean, who wants to promote the loser anymore than necessary?  And yet, Election Day is still days away.

How is it, then, that this is (representative) democracy in action?  Surely, both McCain and Obama want the outcome of the election decided by the people, not the pundits, anchors, columnists, and snarky new producers all over the nation.  The court of public opinion may be very different than what happens when each voters is alone in his or her respective voting booth.

Cheer up, McCain/Palin supporters, all is not lost.  The people have not yet had their say.

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Stuffing McCain Across the Great Political Divide

8 Sep
My bumper stickers, including one for McCain

My bumper stickers, including one for "McCain"

Now that I’ve decided to support the McCain/Palin ticket, I’ve decided to make it official by slapping a “McCain 08” bumper sticker on my vehicle.  Plus, I spent two hours volunteering at my local McCain HQ.  I stuffed plastic bags with literature that will be distributed by a team going door-to-door.  My task felt a bit pointless.  I know where most of those brochures are gonna end up; I just hope they choose the recycling bin over the trash can.

One of the other main jobs at the center is to “telemarket” for McCain.  I’m dead serious!  I can call people up, ask them who they’re voting for, and then feed them a line.  No wonder McCain is lagging behind in Pennsylvania with this “strategy.”  But it’s people wiser than me who call the shots, so I’ll just do what I can to “get out the vote.”  I think the guy who runs the center almost swallowed his tongue when I told him that I didn’t care who people voted for as long as they vote intelligently, even if that means voting for Obama.  I want to see democracy in action, and yes, I think McCain is the best leader for our country.  However, if the population of this great nation would rather see Obama as President, then the republic has spoken.

After leaving the Republican Party in April and deciding to become an Independent (“I Went Indie“), I have felt the freedom in this election to ignore party lines and look at the candidates with fresh eyes.  I believe in this blog you have been able to see that process from when I was unsure who I liked (“Super Tuesday: All the Hype Money Can Buy,” “The ‘Christian’ Way to Vote“, “Faith Beyond Politics“), to when I decided that I didn’t like Obama (“Obama Drama Makes Me Go Bye Bye“), and until recently when I embraced McCain as my candidate.  I appreciate all of you taking the time to consider these matters for yourselves and thank you for continuing to follow my journey through the wild world of politics (and life).

Heres a shot of the local McCain HQ

Here's a shot of the local McCain HQ

This afternoon I decided to show my support for McCain/Palin on Facebook by officially becoming a supporter of the campaign.  This evening I received this message on my “friend wall” from a guy I knew in high school:

“im sure you have a very good personal reason for supporting mccain/palin, but i can no longer be friends with you.  Im sorry but mccain is a dishonorable man who will only further the failed policies of the bush administration and sarah palin is a fraud, supporting the bridge to nowhere before being against it, requesting 27million in earmarks for a town of 9,000 that she was mayor of and now claiming to be against earmarks, alaska also was the state with the most requested earmarks per capita of any state, she fired a state trooper for breaking up with her sister, claims the war in iraq is a ‘mission from god’, cut funding for special needs education and opposes abortion even in cases of rape.  Best of luck in the future.”

Besides the italics, the message is exactly as it was left on my public Facebook wall; therefore, I figure it’s fair game for my blog, right?  Since this guy “defriended” me, I couldn’t write on his wall, so I wrote on my wall.  This is what I said:

“So instead of finding out my “good personal reason” you’re not going be my friend? Don’t you think it would better for Obama if you intelligently explained your point of view instead of leaving a final post and taking off? It’s garbage like this that shows why Democrats and Republicans can’t play nicely.  Of course, I’m an Independent.”

The stuff we stuffed!

The stuff we stuffed!

I could just say this guy is a jerk and leave it there.  Unfortunately, there are jerks working on McCain’s side, too.  What makes me sad about the whole thing isn’t that our superficial Facebook friendship has come to an end (I haven’t even seen the kid since graduation), but that it shows the ignorance and arrogance of “our little parties.”  We get so into “our group” and “our candidate” and “our this” and “our that,” we can’t tolerate those who think differently or even pause to ask the questions, “Why?  Why do you support McCain anyway?  What is it about Sarah Palin that you like?”  Don’t assume you know the answer!

In the next few weeks, I’ll tell you exactly why I chose McCain and why I like Palin.  I’ll even tell you where I don’t agree with them.  I’m not a machine who votes the party line, then again, neither are McCain and Palin.  Perhaps that’s what really likes me–I find the idea of a Maverick and a Barracuda taking over Washington a true idea of change.

Open Letter to John McCain’s Campaign

27 Jul
All I want is this pin and its $5...for a pin to promote someone. The one I originally wanted was $7.

All I want is this pin and it's $5...for a pin to promote someone. The one I originally wanted was $7.

To John McCain’s Campaign HQ:

I’m an Independent Voter, who supports John McCain. I’ve already contacted McCain’s local campaign office to see about helping with the campaign. No response yet (and I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have worked in public relations. Believe me, I would be a valuable asset to the team).

Then I decided to check out the merchandise section of the McCain Website to see about getting a bumper sticker or two or maybe a few pins–$7 for one pin! You have got to be kidding me! You can get Hannah Montana pins cheaper at the Disney Store, which has super-inflated prices. Plus, she’s just a fictional TV rock star, not a presidential candidate.

I’m all about slapping a McCain bumper sticker on the back of my vehicle or donning my purse, jacket, and other attire with a pin, but not at these prices. I can get a vintage “I Like Ike” pin for a better price. I understand that purchasing these items is also like making a donation to the McCain campaign. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of extra finances to do that, so I merely what to offer what I do have–time, talent, the back of my vehicle, and space on my personal belongings to promote John McCain.

Unfortunately, if you do not return my calls or e-mails or lower the prices of your promotions items (or give me a few for free like other campaigns have done in the past), I can’t help promote your candidate.

Sincerely,
Amy, Independent Thinker for McCain (for now)

Yes, I did actually send this letter to McCain’s Campaign. If they fail to receive it but read this post, they can feel free to e-mail me. Oh, and if you support Obama, good for you, but I really don’t want to hear about how I’m an idiot because I like McCain or any of that. It’s unnecessary and makes me like Obama even less because he had such mean supporters.

Voting:: American Idol vs. American President

4 Jun

By Andrew J. Wilhelm Congratulations to the latest “American Idol” David Cook, who received the majority of the 99.7 million votes cast. While the inconvenience of college cut into my T.V. viewing, , I am a big fan of the show. The overall premise of the show, to give an amateur singer the chance of a lifetime, is a good one. It is also one that the American public can buy into–who doesn’t want dreams to come true? Still, 99.7 million is a daunting number! Since fans of the show can vote mutliple times, it doesn’t accurately reflect the actual number of viewers. Yet “American Idol” finales typically garner around 30 million viewers. Having 10% percent of the country captivated by a single television show is pretty impressive. Props to Simon, Paula, and Randy!

Although the 2004 presidential election garnered 40% of eligible voter turnout, “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell almost always gets more Americans to vote than political candidates. Primaries, even in this extra-thrilling campaign season, often struggle to reach double digits. Most people just don’t care enough to drive to the polling station and hit a button. Why are people more willing to vote for the nation’s next rock star, but seem lackadaisical about picking the next leader of the country? While his good looks and throaty vocals may make David Cook the next big thing; he’s not attempting to rule the free world (by political force anyway). Why do American citizens have more interest in pop stars than presidents?

I decided to ask a few of my friends, mostly college students like myself, about this issue and have elicited several interesting answers to my inquiry.

The most popular answer was that politics is “boring.” A vague expression, but one I’ll try to uncover more fully. Most people fall into three categories of “political boredom”: they believe their single vote couldn’t possibly make a difference; they simply don’t understand government workings and don’t care to learn; or they have been disenchanted because of corruption, scandals, etc. In fact, among those who choose not to vote, I would conjecture that all three possibilities would apply.

I have heard an enormous amount of people say that they are unhappy with our current options–John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, who’s hanging on by the skin of her teeth. Their remedy to such disdain is to simply not vote. I’d urge everyone to at least limit the damage by voting for whoever they deem the lesser of the two (or three) “evils”.

The weather also has a lot to do with whether or not people show up to the polls. A sunny, pleasant day can yield up to twice the voters as a cold, rainy day. Lame? I sure think so. Unfortunately, Americans have become uncontrollably lazy. They are used to being able to do everything from the comfort of their own La-Z-Boy. What if voting could be done via the Internet or even text messiaging, as in “American Idol”? These are possibilities that would dramatically change the voting landscape, but must be explored to keep up with this generation’s demands. Can you imagine Hillary standing on stage urging viewers to vote for her by calling 1-888-PREZ-001?

The level of disengagement from politics is being felt as severely as ever. Some everyday Americans–the ones who who go to work, pick up the kids from school, go to bed, only to repeat the process don’t have a clue what’s happening in Washington. But the politicians don’t seem to know what’s going on in middle America either. Like the a monarchy, the wealthiest tend to rule (and make the rules for) big-time politics It seems our government will be ruled by older, wealthy, white men in the foreseeable future, which doesn’t bode well for the “American Idol” voting crowd. In fact, many might want to replace the President, Congress, and Supreme Court with the checks-and-balances of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, with AI host Ryan Seacrest as press secretary naturally.

In fact, the start-up of “American Idol” is arguably the best part of the show, and a lot more exciting than the primaries. The show’s preliminary auditions present viewers with freaks and tone deaf contestants that give us all a chuckle. After that, a few contestants who can actually sing make it through to the voting stages. Each contestants has his or her unique personality, hair style, vocal range, personal story, and connection with viewers. Not so in politics. While there has been some diversity in this year’s presidential election, politics is sill mostly wealthy white men who enjoy listening and arguing with other wealthy white men. Those who push the envelope threaten this hierarchy of power and can rarely penetrate the deep layers of aged power in Washington.

When it comes down to “American Idol” versus the American President, it seems we choose entertainment over politics, unless of course there’s a political scandal brewing. Nothing shoots up ratings like an old-fashioned affair or deep-seeded corruption. I enjoy “American Idol” as much as anyone else. In fact, I’ve for more AI contestants than politicians. In all fairness, I’m 19 and have only been eligible to vote a couple of times. I have voted every time since registering to vote and was proud to do so.

Though it’s a little more time-consuming to research and uncover the candidates’ positions, policies, and experiences, it is of the utmost importance. “American Idol” simply feeds its audience with stories, songs, flashing lights, and snarky judges; your vote only makes a super star. Despite dissatisfaction with politics and awe at “American Idol”, it is essential for Americans to get off their couches, put down their remotes, and head to the polls. As the United States continues to be the dominant force in the world; your vote will not only impact you, but millions around the globe. If you have the power to turn an obscure rocker into an “American Idol”, you have the chance to turn a candidate of your voice into the next American President.

Andrew Wilhelm is a sophomore at Wheaton College majoring in political science with a minor in economics. His two main passions are playing piano and golf. He also enjoys learning about and analyzing trends in culture, economics, and politics. For some strange reason, he consistently refuses to send his Nintendo Wii to Amy.

Print copy of Scribble.

Andrew Wilhelm a sophomore at Wheaton College majoring in political science with a minor in economics. His two main passions are playing piano and golf. He also enjoys learning about and analyzing trends in culture, economics, and politics.

The “Christian” Way to Vote

29 Jan

According to Florida pastor Brian Longworth (who I had never heard of until I read this article), if Christians show up to the polls and “vote their values” Mike Huckabee can win the Republican Party’s nomination. Here’s a direct quote from the piece, “Christians make up the largest voting block in America, and when they show up and vote their values, conservatives win. Longworth says that Mike Huckabee is the only conservative among the frontrunners. If Christians support Huckabee, Huckabee can carry Florida and win the Republican nomination.”

Besides the glaring assumptions that Longworth is making, let’s tackle the small ones first.

1. People who identify themselves as Christians do make up the largest voting block in American (about 70%), but not all people who identity themselves as Christians share the same values.

2. Since they may not all share the same values, they may not all be conservative, and therefore would not vote for a Republican candidate. Heck, they may not even be registered Republicans.

3. Even if registered as a Republican, they may share their values with another candidate like McCain, Romney, or Guiliani. Voting for values does not necessarily mean voting for Huckabee.

4. Florida can carry a Huckabee nomination. What are the rest of the states? Chopped liver? Our votes don’t matter?

Now let’s tackle the glaring statements, shall we?

False Assumption #1: If you’re a Christian, then you should have good conservative values, which automatically means a vote for Huckabee.

I am a Christ-follower. I like that terminology because so many people use the word “Christian” to mean all kinds of things. “Christ-follower” invites discussion about what I believe, and doesn’t necessarily merit assumptions. However, even as a Christ-follower, it is assumed that I am a middle-class white Republican conservative. I am not.

I am white.

I am middle-class (barely).

I am registered Republican (although I tried to change my vote to “Independent” but it was crazy paperwork).

I am not conservative; I’m a moderate.

And even though I am classified as all these things doesn’t mean I vote like a robot. I look at the issues, at the candidates, at what they say, how they act, and what they have done in the past. Regardless of gender, religion, race, class (even though they’re all rich), and beliefs, I look at the issues.

No one in any party fits each and every qualification in my choice for President. But to say that I should vote for Mike Huckabee because it’s the Christian thing to do? Whatever.

False Assumption #2: The only issue is that of abortion and overturning Roe V. Wade.

I am whole-heartedly pro-life and against abortion. However, I don’t think people who are pro-choice run around saying, “Hey, let’s kill unborn babies just to kill babies!” No one wants abortion, yet it is a sad choice that women can choose to make.

This is going to shock a lot of you, but at this point, I don’t think that Roe V. Wade should be over-turned. This is why–as long as we can still talk about abortion in the open, we can still offer women alternatives to abortion such as adoption, services for mothers, and post-abortion counseling and care. If abortion becomes illegal, the methods which are dangerous and harmful to women will become even more harmful because they would not be regulated by the government. A woman who had an illegal abortion will not receive treatment for her ailments, and in turn, woman and child will both die. For now, I believe that Roe V. Wade is decided law.

Yes, we need to continue to educate people about the dangers of abortion, but we also need to offer pregnant teens and women options about what to do with their baby once they are with child. Instead of spending money on protests, let’s donate to pregnancy centers that can help these women get prenatal care, parenting classes, and skills to find jobs. That is money much better spent. (FYI: I spent several years as a volunteer for an out shoot ministry of the American Life League. Some of these opinions have come as a result of shoving pro-life literature down people’s throats. If you want me to blog about that, let me know and I would be happy to share that story with you.)

Besides abortion, there are other important issues to consider such as health care, the war in Iraq (One Less Bomb, baby!), social security, education, the economy, and perhaps one of the biggest issues for me–more money for social services! When I vote my values, those are all things I consider.

As a registered Republican, here’s where I stand on my current choices:

Guiliani–no way. I just don’t like him.

Romney–undecided. He seems OK, but I’m just not sure.

Huckabee–leaning to dislike. Something about him rubs me the wrong way. I also don’t like people telling me to vote for him because he’s a Christian.

McCain–I’ve always liked the guy. He’s too gung-hu for the war, but I like his ability to work outside his party to get stuff done. I’m most favorable towards McCain at the moment.

As for the Democrats, I’m really digging on Barack Obama. If he becomes the Democrat nominee, I will definitely take a closer look at Obama and his politics. He had a good chance of winning my vote.

My response: I am a Christ-follower, and I will vote my values, which include more money for education, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, offering housing and care to pregnant women, money for social services to get people things they need, affordable health care for everyone, and a plan to get out of Iraq. It seems to me that Jesus instructed us to care for the poor, to fight for justice to those who have none, and to bind up the broken. These are my values, and I shall vote by them, for I feel they are from God.

Plus, if anyone adopts “One Less Bomb” as a platform, I’m totally into that.

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