By next Tuesday it will all be over — all but the crying, that is. As the candidates for president of the U.S. clamor for voters’ favor in their frenzied dash for the finish line, many Americans seem blinded by the rhetoric.
When we dutifully go to the polls and exercise our right to vote, are we behaving more like sheep than citizens of a country where the Constitution grants us free speech?
Has the media blitz brainwashed Americans into thinking that we must choose between one of two people from two major parties as president? Are we missing the bigger picture? For some, our right to vote now trumps our freedom of speech.
When we assume that issues fall neatly into one side or the other, it limits our free public discourse. We may be unwittingly elevating the concept of voting over openly discussing issues and policy without regard to party lines, while our people pay the price. Perhaps some of what each major party offers, along with fresh concepts may be the best choice for our nation.
I wonder what would have happened in the first presidential debate if the candidates had thrown out their scripts and openly exchanged ideas on what was best for our country. When the focus is on winning elections and maintaining power, it diminishes the importance of issues that impact our nation and the world.
When we go to the polls, how many of us will be voting our conscience without reserve? Does the candidate we have selected fully represent our values, positions on key issues and provide a viable path forward for our nation? Or, will we be voting for the candidate whom we believe will do the least damage — the lesser of two evils?
There are still some Americans who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Neither of the parties adequately addresses both of these issues. What of the pro-life, social liberal? Must we buy all tenets of our party’s platform? Are we swallowing poison in the potion?
When we cast our votes with some reserve, we are in reality propping up the system that we believe to be broken. We agree that the way things are is not good, yet we continue along the same path.
Melanie J. Rice
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