US Elections: God Help Us!
(EDITORS NOTE: A second US based columnist has joined the Scoop US Elections commentary crew. Scoop is delighted to welcome Todd Simpson, an American, to the Scoop Loop. Simpson will be filing his impressions at the end of each week through to polling date on November 7th, expatriate Wellingtonian Rosalea Barker will continue to file on Mondays.)
By Todd Simpson
The Gore Bush race is in a dead heat. It has been for more than a week. What does this say about the voting populace? Are we as Americans in fact split right down the middle? Are there just as many poor voters as rich? Just as many democrats as republicans? Of course not.
The middle classes and below form the bulk of the voters here in the U.S. Many people who do not technically meet the income requirement to be considered middle class, still claim to be part of that group. We as Americans have a tradition of thinking that we are doing better than we actually are. We also have the tradition of underestimating the impact of our decisions and of our ever-expanding popular culture. We are in essence a bull in a china shop.
So what does a two thousand pound bull with an attitude problem and no natural predators want from an election? The answer is simple, more of the same. We want to keep thinking we are doing better for our planet and ourselves. Even if we are not. We need to keep on thinking that our political party of choice has our best interests at heart. Even if they do not. And we want to know that we are choosing the right leader. Even if we are dead wrong.
So how are these two candidates so close in the polls? Simple, the rich (that is, the Republicans) vote at an astounding rate. On the other hand, the rest of America (anyone middle class and below) vote at astonishingly low rate. There is a sense of disenfranchisement among the working class. There is a feeling that nothing they do will have an impact so they do not vote at all.
Where does this leave the United States? Will we let those with the most money determine who will be the next President of the United States? Or will the middle class and the rest of us actually raise up long enough to vote. This remains to be seen.
What about the debate? What was won? What was lost? How much of it was just more of the same old rhetoric? In short, most of it. On Gore's end we get "I've got big plans!" and then on Bush's end we get "I've got leadership ability!" Neither candidate would really answer the tough questions such as how much and how soon for Bush's tax cut, or how big and how slow for instituting Gore's new programs.
The debates did show us one of the key differences in the approaches of both of our worthy candidates. The main difference between the two is that Bush doesn't have the first clue as to the numbers involved in his own proposal. Instead, he makes judicious use of his Ronald Reagan impression urging the American people to "trust in his leadership". As I tried to watch the debate with an open mind, I could not help but be horrified by the thought of Governor Bush running the United States using a plan that he himself does not seem to understand and relying mostly on political charisma.
God help us!
NOTE: Todd Simpson can be contacted at… firstname.lastname@example.org