Monday, October 20, 2008

Two Weeks and One Day

We will soon know who will be our new president. The man who will, in theory, be at the helm of the country for the next four years at least. Possibly the next eight.

This is an important decision to make. I'm not going to launch into a partisan rant here, because the two folks running neck and neck (along with their running mates) are doing a good enough job of partisan politics.

Right, so what we're going to talk about now is voting. I got into a large discussion a couple weeks ago. Like, right before class started on a Tuesday afternoon. It was rather a lopsided argument, though, because, let's be honest, Webster University's student body is made up largely of Democrats, especially the farther you get from the business school. And both geographically and ideologically, you can't get further from the business school at Sverdrup than the English school in Pearson House. And it was lopsided because one girl said she was voting for McCain.

She got, to put it mildly, attacked. People actually started shouting at her. Nobody would let her talk. The teacher walked in and listened for a moment, and then interjected.

This particular teacher has not been politically vocal in the past, but that's not to say that as a student who has had her as a teacher before, I didn't have an inkling as to her political leanings. One of her best friends on the staff was, until he died this past summer, Art Sandler, who was very vocal against the war in Iraq and certain policies of the current administration. I've picked up some hints on her political leanings. But she interjected on behalf of the student who was unable to speak her piece.

The teacher asked, "Do you feel like you shouldn't have brought this up now? Because the rest of the class seems to be giving quite a display of disrespect." That shut everybody up.

That's when I asked, just generally, without a note of incredulity or anger in my voice, "So, what are your reasons for voting for McCain?"

It was the teacher that thanked me first. Then the girl explained that she had reviewed their tax plans. And she came to the conclusion that Obama's tax plan falls short, while McCain's has merits. At least, in her opinion. She said that on other issues, she actually agreed more with Obama, such as education, abortion/gay marriage (those get lumped together now under the Conservative "family values" political football that has replaced the rather one-dimensional "Roe v. Wade" political football), and foreign policy. But, she argued, the economy is the most important issue in this election. She also said that she doesn't agree with the perception that Democrats are better for the economy than Republicans.

I have to say that I was ready to let the issue rest. Because, let's face it, this person researched the candidates' stances on the issues that were important to her, and she came to a conclusion that she felt comfortable with. Which is exactly how I came to my decision. Which is exactly how everybody should make their decision.

But, of course, most of the other people in the class were not ready to let this girl get away with disagreeing with them.

Look: I don't really care who you vote for. I kind of care how you vote; do your research. Don't go to the politician's websites...go to, or other reputable non-partisan sources to find out for yourself. And if you do not have time, because I know not everybody does have time (well, first off, stop reading my blog and check now, and come back to my blog after the election), then do your best with the information you have.

Back to the point; just...get out and vote. It's your right and privelege. I won't say duty, because, well...I think I'd rather somebody not vote if they're not educated on the issues. It's a right and a privelege. The end.

Fun facts of the day:

Obama is NOT a Muslim, or the Anti-Christ.

Neither is McCain.


Becca said...

Admittedly, I've been mired into some interesting political discussions with the fam this past week (I'm a vigilant Obama supporter - and well, they're Christian super-conservatives, so they support McPalin). Interesting point came up as my sister was grilling me on Obama's tax stances (capital gains and small business) via email. Which unfortunately I couldn't answer because I haven't really honestly researched these issues as I am more of a "values" voter. I vote for the candidate who I think best aligns with my values. Whereas I would consider my sister a "selfish" voter - ie. they ask the question how will this person's policies affect ME ME ME? I like to think I voted for the greater good (and all of my kiwi friends who can't vote and would all vote for Obama)... Anyways, that is just another perspective, and it sounds like your classmate did the ME vote... which I hate to stereotype as a republican trait but... It seems as though people who vote for their own best interest (lower taxes, tax rebate, etc) are possibly missing the big picture.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here - definitely it is more important that people make and informed vote. But it's interesting not only who votes for who, but WHY.

Elliot said...

I guess I should have made her motives more clear, but, then again, I disagree with her reasoning.

No, this girl was not being selfish. Sure, she was itching for the tax cut I'll bet, but she, being a poor college student herself, would actually probably get a much better tax break under Obama's plan. Her reasoning was that in a recession, such as we are in (when you ignore rising food/fuel costs, our economy has not grown in almost a year now), you want to cut taxes to give money to everybody. And under McCain's plan, everybody gets a tax cut; from the poorest of the poor (who earn enough to pay income taxes) to the biggest corporations. The idea is to put money in everybody's pockets, so everybody can spend more.

The flipside, though, is that to get out of recession, the only way that's worked is for the government to spend money (which seems counterintuitive, but look at The New Deal, the WPA, and all the other things FDR did to get us out of the depression). And McCain is calling for a spending freeze.

But, again, Obama will raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations; you know, the people who can afford it, while cutting taxes on those making less than $250k a year (which, at last count, was almost everybody I know). But because he will raise taxes on some people, this girl compared him to Hoover. Hoover, of course, tried to get out of the depression by raising taxes on everyone. Which only made things worse. FDR cut taxes on everyone, including the wealthy and corporations. But the Depression was a much deeper problem than we're at right now...we can head it off by acting now. McCain's tax cuts benefit everyone. Obama's benefit those who need the benefit. That's what we need now. If we are going to spend to get out of the recession, we need a source of income; cutting taxes on everybody does not leave a good revenue stream. Taxing the rich? Good idea. They've got more than enough money. I mean...if you can't live on a million a year, then you need to do some serious soul-searching and budget checking. I live just fine making a fraction, you know?

But anyway, this girl thought cutting taxes on everybody is a better idea than cutting taxes on most while raising taxes on a few wealthy. That was her position.

Abalama said...

sometimes I hate it when students are "encouraged" to talk in class because EVERYONE has to hear themselves talk and add their two cents. It is more un-american to not let someone have their own opinion. However, you can have an opinion and not voice it.

Ugh . . .

Annie said...

I think I was the most moderate person in Pearson when I was there and I'm pretty sure Abe Lincoln would have to be on the ticket for me to vote Republican in a couple of weeks. However, good for the professor for stepping in. By no means should anyone be screaming at someone for supporting a specific candidate. It's hard for me to not be slightly offended when I hear of people voting for McCain (when your boyfriend has a purple heart and McCain wants to continue the war in Iraq and has voted against raising veterans' benefits every chance he's gotten and you would, without your employer based healthcare, be paying +$300.00/month in medicine to stay alive, it's hard not to!), but at the same time I want to hear why because in my opinion, Obama/Biden is a better bet for the greater good.

Lisa said...

So difficult to tell who the lesser of the two evils is... I don't agree with most of the views of either politician, but I am leaning a bit more toward Obama, I think. I have researched some, and I will need to do more. Of course, I am 7 months short of voting-age, so this is just for posterity's sake. Yes, I was attacked at school when I said I was a little pro-Obama. Yes, I had a good laugh at their arguments (exactly the same as the first fun fact of the day, which made me laugh. :) ). I guess people will vote the way they want to, and I guess, really that's what it's all about. I just hope we get someone that won't screw things up more.