Think, vote for yourself

Published 8:33 pm Monday, July 19, 2004

By Staff
Our View (Originally published in the Andalusia Star-News)
There was an interesting segment on one of the morning talk shows recently, about the polarization of American politics. It seems as if the American voters are being drawn further and further apart ideologically, the extreme right and the extreme left, and never the twain shall meet.
Hogwash. We all know the truth lies between the extremes, as do the voters. The segment went on to say just that – the pollsters and media love to provide graphics which paint us one color or another, one persuasion or another, while the majority of us are actually firmly entrenched in between. Those colorful election maps, lighting one state up blue for one party and another state red for another party, conveniently forget that many of those states were decided by very few votes. Just because a state sent its electoral college votes to one candidate does not mean there was zero support for the other.
Those pat classifications are tools by which the parties and their candidates attempt to manipulate the voter. With Kerry's announcement Tuesday, making John Edwards his running mate, the pollsters, the so-called social scientists and the media are already in a feeding frenzy, attempting to juggle everything from demographics and dynamics to sex appeal, trying to wedge Edwards and the new status quo into the hole they carve out for him.
The problem is, we have to allow this kind of manipulation, and far too often, we do just that. It is so much easier to have others think for us, for others to do the research, the background checks, the character evaluations. Predigested food is much easier to swallow, and so it goes with predigested politics.
Unfortunately, just as with predigested food, we are stuck with someone else's tastes – which may be harder to choke down than we thought.
Do your own research – Congressional voting records are on-line, access is free at the library. There are grassroots organizations out there dedicated to presenting facts, not interpretations. Form your own opinion, make your own choice, and don't let others do your thinking – or your voting – for you

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