Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In case you haven't noticed, the 2008 presidential election is quickly approaching. In this corner (picture me pointing to my right with a silver microphone hanging from the ceiling) is John McCain, the "original maverick" (does anybody really even know what that means?) who just made the vice presidential choice of his life! He is a 72 year old, prisoner of war / cancer survivor. And in this corner (now of course I am pointing to my left, microphone still in hand) is Barack Obama, the first African American presidential candidate and according to his campaign speech, the only real hope for change. He's a frail man at best but eager to get himself on the same level as his supporters.

So what is a person to do? Well I'll tell you. Basically now all you have to do is watch as these two knuckleheads duke it out in verbally horrific television ads. Frankly I feel as though these elections have gotten quite out of hand. Is it really even about being a person elected by the people, for the people anymore? Or is it more about just winning? Looking at McCain it seems to be about winning. In one swift and completely unforeseen motion McCain gathered women of all ages and without warning got them to join his team without hesitation (I say team because really the way elections work is the person with the most voting team members wins). It was pure strategy and an amazing one at that.

But that appears to be what elections are these days; strategic movements to stun your opponent and to get people to join your team. Is that what they should be? I don't really think so. Shouldn't elections be the candidates voicing whom they are, what they plan to do and how they plan to do it? Of course we'd have to assume here that we live in a fact-and-truth-telling society. We know that isn't accurate because it takes Candidate #2 to point out Candidate #1's misleadings and vice versa.

Perhaps there in lies the problem (pun intended). We've become a society so consumed with winning, how we get to the end is unimportant anymore. We have TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother where the better lier you are, the more likely you are to win. We teach kids with movies like Election that it is better to destroy your opponent than to promote yourself.

So over time we have come to this; campaigns that are run strategically more like a game than like the election for our nation's leader. Even more so we end up with lives that revolve more around winning than actually living. Don't get me wrong, I like to win just as much as the next guy, but frankly I'd rather live honestly and in the moment. It's not about winning, but about making this life better for yourself and others.

So how will you vote come this November? Are you voting to be a winner or are you voting because you actually care to make a difference?

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