Spinning out of control

Like a lot of Americans, Mint Hill Times columnist Leslie Southerland doesn’t know which way she is going to vote in the presidential election November 4.

I hope I can make a decision about who I think is truly the best candidate. And if not, I’ll just revert back to my thirteen-year-old rebellion and vote for the one nobody wants me to vote for. And maybe I’ll stick my tongue out while I press the button, just for effect.

I have had it with the presidential campaign. I was tired of hearing about Clinton and Obama, and now I’m tired of hearing about McCain and Obama. Usually a hardcore Republican, I am having a hard time making a decision on this one. And I’m starting not to care about it one way or the other.
I usually make political decisions based on some pretty simplistic ideas. I know that, in general, Democrats are in favor of more government “interventions.” That’s a nice, non-offensive way to put it, I think. And I know that, in general, Republicans support fewer government “interventions.”
Since I think some organizations, both on the local and national level, have gotten entirely too big to be productive (think CMS here), I usually fall on the Republican side of the spectrum. When I pointed my simple explanation of the differences between the two parties to a friend (who happens to be a Democrat) recently, he had an interesting slant: while he agreed with me, he pointed out that Republicans are definitely in favor of “interventions” when it comes to morality.
This is where it gets sticky for me. You see, I think a lot of the issues being debated today (issues that are often near and dear to the hearts of Republicans) are really issues that should be decided by a person’s religion. I think we have separation of church and state for a reason. I was under the impression that our country was founded for religious freedom in general, and not religious freedom for some.
I’m not saying that I agree with Democrats, either. Charter schools, for example, are not high on the list for Democrats, at least not here in North Carolina.
I think that, ironically, the factor that could get me off the fence in this election has nothing to do with issues. It’s the thirteen-year-old girl in me who wants to rebel against what I’m being told I need to do at every turn.
No, my parents aren’t influencing me here. But for every celebrity who has the arrogance to think that I’m going to vote for Barack Obama just because he says so, I become more of a Republican. I don’t care how much money Barbra Streisand raised for him. Since when did celebrities have any sense, anyway? These are the people who are mentally ill enough to want hoards of people following them around all the time, watching their every move.
For every interview that a “respected” member of the press conducts in which he or she attempts to skewer John McCain or Sarah Palin, I become more of a Republican. You see, I know that they are both human beings. I know they don’t always have the right answer. But I also know the same is true for Barack Obama. And no member of the “elite media” as Sarah Palin called them seems to be aware of this crucial fact.
I feel that my intelligence is being insulted every time I hear a news story about the presidential race. I would really like to hear facts and then make my own, informed, decision, but I’m not allowed to do that.
This morning, I watched an interview in which Meredith Viera (I usually like her) spoke to John McCain and tried to make him look as indecisive and as much like a “politician” as possible. Then the show cut to a live discussion with an Obama supporter. As far as I could tell, only one point of view was presented. That, of course, is the norm instead of the exception in our modern media.
My friend, the Democrat, said he was tired of Republicans putting a “spin” on everything. He said he felt it insulted his intelligence. I agree with him, although I think all politicians spin everything. They have to in this day and age. Lucky for the Democrats, though, they don’t have to spin everything as much as the Republicans do. The press will happily step in and spin it for them.
I have read both candidate’s Web sites and tried to compare issues. The economy, the war, healthcare, and education are big ones for me. I’m sure this is the case for a lot of people. I hope I can make a decision about who I think is truly the best candidate. And if not, I’ll just revert back to my thirteen-year-old rebellion and vote for the one nobody wants me to vote for. And maybe I’ll stick my tongue out while I press the button, just for effect.

Southerland is a long-time resident of Mint Hill, a teacher, and mother of two active little boys.

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