It’s easy to decide who to vote for on November 4, 2008.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has the better vision for America, and whose values are those that have served America best through the ages.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate with the better character — one who is honest, just, wise, courageous, …
It would be logical to vote for the candidate whose position on the issues is better for us, individually, and/or for America.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has experience in domestic and global affairs, who has measurable accomplishments in positions of leadership, …
Therein lies the problem.
Can we really know who has the better vision and values for America? Can we really know who has the better character? Can we know the candidates well enough to sort this out?
We can more easily decide whose position on the issues we like better, but can we count on it?
President Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative who did not believe in nation building. We know what happened to that promise.
And there are important issues that neither of the major candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have said little, if anything, about: such as the effect of an aging population and immigration on Social Security and Medicare, and defense spending (greater than the rest-of-the-world’s total spending) that leaves little for other things that American’s want and need.
Neither of the major candidates have been honest about the threats to the United States, and the reason for invading Afghanistan. To this day, Bin Laden is not wanted for 9/11 by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Iran has not attacked another country in the past 200 years. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran halted its research on nuclear weapons five years ago, and at least half a dozen countries, in the past four years, have said that they plan to enrich or reprocess nuclear fuel.
It is the U.S. that has made a mockery of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and it is Israel and the neocons who got us into Iraq, that are now pushing hard for a war with Iran.
We also know that candidates will say just about anything to get elected. And we can argue about who has the most relevant experience.
It would be logical to wade through this sort of thinking in trying to decide who to vote for in November.
For the 2008 election, however, it is of secondary importance — there are bigger issues at stake.
If you believe in the promise of America, and its vision enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, you must send a strong message to all candidates, now and in the future, that those who violate it — as the current administration has done — will pay a price.
If you believe in an America that works for all, then you must vote for the candidate whose nominees to the Supreme Court, over the next four to eight years, will work better for all Americans.
And, if you want to restore America’s image and build the international alliances needed to tackle issues such as climate change, energy, disease, hunger, poverty, then the world needs a strong signal that the America after January 20, 2009 will be a very different America from that of the past eight years.
The damage done to the U.S. by the Bush administration will take a generation to undo, and this election may be the last chance we have to begin to do so. Viewed in this light, for me it will be an easy choice on November 4, 2008: not the Republican nominee.