Archive for Thursday, October 28, 2004

Anatomy of a Vote

The second installment of choosing a Presiden

October 28, 2004

Campaign analysts will tell you perception is everything in an election. Apparently, that message hasn't been lost on either of the men running for president, as each has jockeyed for pop culture appearances that play into the image they want ingrained into voters' psyches.

The president has made public appearances at baseball games, NASCAR events and been photographed clearing brush from his Texas ranch while wearing a cowboy hat. His opponent, John Kerry, has driven his chopper onto the set of the Jay Leno Show and been seen snowboarding.

Election 2004: Marlboro Man v. Easy Rider.

Although campaigns seem to place as much attention on photo ops as on issues, not all voters are mesmerized by the political spin-doctors. Daniel Hermon, a 23-year-old second grade teacher at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, says he could care less about whether Bush wears a western belt buckle or Kerry a hip "LIVE STRONG" bracelet.

The election is about America's future, he said. His and yours.

In the second installment of a campaign diary Hermon has kept at the request of The Sentinel, he addresses his thoughts on the men vying to become commander in chief. In mid-October, Hermon, a registered Republican, but one who votes with "an open mind," said he was leaning toward the President on Nov. 2.

A week has passed since I first wrote down my thoughts about the upcoming election and, to tell you the truth, nothing has really changed. I am still watching the news about the upcoming election, the commercials on television and reading the bumper stickers as I drive down the road (some of which are very humorous no matter who you are voting for Nov. 2) and I am doing something I have never done before -- asking people for their opinions and discussing the presidential election.

When speaking with people about politics and who should be elected this year, I have found that you have to step lightly when it comes to certain issues. I have seen that how people vote or feel is based primarily on the issues that person is paying the most attention to. In every election year, there are hundreds of determining factors that cause a presidential nominee to be elected. Is the nominee presidential? Is he or she up to date on issues at hand? Does he or she have a past that people can rely on? What are his or her thoughts about the issues I feel strongly about and directly affect my life? And, of course, will this person have the votes to either remain in office or take over office?

Looking at these things does nothing but reiterate the past statements I have made. This country is what it is because we have choice and freedom of speech. The American people can make a difference in our great nation by voting for who we feel can best represent our country. Are people going to be upset about the outcome? Sure they are. Are there going to be jokes made about the man elected? You bet. Will I laugh at them? Every one of them.

What we all need to remember, however, is that an elected officials is nothing without the people they represent. This elected person will lead this country the way they feel best represents the views of the whole country, not just you or I.

After the Oct. 15 paper came out, I have to admit I was nervous about people's reactions to the comments I'd made. I was nervous because I know how opinions can affect people and how judgments can be passed. When first asked to write this editorial I had a difficult time deciding whether to do it. One part of me said "don't touch the subject." I'm a new teacher, trying to make the town of Basehor and the Glenwood Ridge school, a good home for my wife and I. I felt as though I didn't need people knowing how I felt, for fear that my views would differ from the way they felt, alienating myself in the process. However, there was also a part of me that said "speak out about how you feel," not only for personal reasons but because it is the American way.

Opinions are opinions no matter how you look at them. Will people accept mine? Maybe or maybe not, but that's what makes me love this country even more. Here, we can speak out and make our opinions known. The place to do that is the ballot box. We have a choice and we can prove that Nov. 2.

As the day grows closer, I grow more and more excited. I know it is going to be a tight race between two very strong candidates. Will the man I vote for win the election and be a great president for the next four years?

I'm not sure.

Will the man elected do everything he can to keep America safe and help the American people grow and prosper?

Definitely.

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