Sep 9, 2008

Your vote, your future

by Tim Mattingly

The 2008 presidential election will shape and define the next four years of this country. The judges appointed for this time have the potential to exert much more influence. With such a tight and dynamic race this year, nothing is certain and every vote counts.
In past voting years, many people from “decided” states, generally aligned with one party or the other, would not worry about casting their votes. One vote, dropped into a sea of opposing votes, would do little to sway the final verdict.

However, both of the presidential nominees, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, are unlike any other candidate this nation has seen before. They have unique attributes that could put any state within their reach.

Obama comes into the presidential race with a slight heads up on McCain for a number of reasons. First is the fact that he is peddling himself as an agent of change — a concept laced with just enough ambiguity to make many Americans believe he is talking about the change they envision. Such a candidate comes at a time when people vote based on their lightened-wallets, listening to Obama as he promises them solutions.

On the other hand, McCain has been hailed as a political “maverick” since he is not as conservative as some of his Republican predecessors. Such political flexibility makes some hard-core conservatives a little leery but gives him leverage with many undecided voters across the nation. In addition to this, he has recently fired up his campaign with a controversial, campaign-electrifying choice for his vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.

Both political camps have strong historic aspects to their campaigns, which makes for even less predictability. Obama polls well among African-American voters, while McCain’s female running mate has the power to draw in female voters. Certainly, certainty has been thrown out the window in this year’s election.

To increase the level of unease in the voting community is the power that will accompany the elected president to office. While a bad president may only last four years, judges appointed to the Supreme Court have long terms.

The only way for a Supreme Court judge to leave the Court is by retiring, resigning, impeachment or death. According to the Supreme Court of the United States Web site, the average judge serves 15 years.

This fact alone should scare many into the voting booths. Those fighting for a pro-life America could potentially face a brick wall of judges if a liberal president takes office. All aspects of society, from the environment to the right to bear arms, will be affected by a single choice. There is much more at stake here than four bad years, courtesy of the Oval Office elect.

Lastly, reluctant voters must remember Florida in the 2000 presidential election. According to CBS News, there were only 537 votes separating Al Gore and George W. Bush. Because the electoral count in 2000 was so close, Florida ended up deciding who would be the next president of the United States.

Each and every state has the potential to be a hard-fought battleground, where the slightest advantage will decide the victor. This year, voters can expect to see more states like Florida and less reasons to avoid the voting booths.

Even from a distance, individuals can lend their strength to the political party of their choosing. The first step, if you have not done it already, is to register to vote. The process is as simple as downloading a National Voters Registrations form and mailing it in. If you are not computer savvy, take a trip to your local Registry of Motor vehicles and sign up there.

For those who are registered to vote but are far from home, such as students and soldiers, there are absentee ballots. In order to do this, individuals can go to their local elections office, a circuit court clerk or download an application online. No matter how far you are from home, there is no excuse to keep silent.

It is more important than ever before to let your political voice be heard come Nov. 4. There are far too many factors in this election to just let history be written without your hands in its ink — vote.


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