Politics Schmolitics - 09.18.00

A long while back (I can't quite remember when), I told myself that I wasn't going to write about anything too personal in this section. Having not held up that promise, I know that I also at one point probably said that I wouldn't talk about politics as well. This year, however, because of the amount of time that I've actually put into research and reading, though, I just don't think that I can hold up that promise either. I know that I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't say at least something on the subject. I warn you now, there will be some definite opinions shown, but I'm not going to slam anyone. I just want to keep things positive...

In order to give you more of a full background on myself, I think that I need to go back in time a bit to the year of 1992. At this time, I was just starting my senior year in high-school and because of my birthday, would miss getting to vote by about 2 weeks time. Because I was still living at home, I watched television occassionally and in school our teachers did their best to at least try to keep us informed on some of the key platforms. I found myself slightly interested in the process itself, yet was kind of just apathetic to the whole thing since I wouldn't get to vote anyway.

In 1996, however, I was just starting my senior year of college. Again, some of my professors made their points about how important it was to vote, but I just didn't find myself caring at all. I read information on both of the two major candidates (as well as a couple of the minor ones like Steve Forbes and even Ross Perot--again) and although I really should have, I didn't even take that short amount of time out of my day to vote. I didn't register or anything and my first chance at voting was shrugged off because of a mutual share of apathy and the fact that neither of the candidates really made me feel a damn thing. I'd been paying attention to elections since kindergarten (I thought that Jimmy Carter was excellent) in varying degrees, yet I felt like neither of the two candidates were saying anything that struck a chord within me enough to spend the measily amount of time needed to cast a vote for them.

About 9 months ago, though, that all changed. Again, political analysts were already starting to talk about who the Republicans would nominate for their party (John McCain and George W. were still duking it out at this point) and whether Gore had enough charisma to leave behind associations with Clinton and become his own person. I found all that talk interesting, and even some of the things that McCain was saying refreshing, but that pang of 4 years ago was still echoing within me and I was wondering whether over the course of the next 9 months anyone would stand out enough that I would actually feel compelled enough to register and vote for them.

Then, one day while reading an article somewhere or the other, I read a name that I'd heard before but simply hadn't given much thought to; Ralph Nader. Like most people, I knew a little bit about his campaigns against large corporations and after reading about him more even remembered seeing a little bit about him back in 1996, but here he was again. As I started reading about his ideas, I was completely intrigued. Here was a private citizen who had been the spearhead behind some very major movements. He was someone who'd not only talked about changing things, but he'd done them.

Over the course of the next couple months, I started diving in and reading more and more about Ralph Nader. Fortunately, his name started popping up even more and more within circles reporting on those running for president and I constantly found myself siding with his stances on the different campaign issues. Not only that, but after 8 years of nearly complete apathy in terms of American politics, here was someone that was invigorating me. True, I was agreeing with his ideas almost all of the time, but reading his thoughts in turn caused me to read even more about this issues at large and I found myself wanting to absorb the opinions of everyone involved.

Having been influenced so greatly by one person and their ideas, I went ahead and registered to vote. Not only did it not take very much time, but I even did it online. And for once since I've been able to, I actually feel like I'm part of the process (no matter how flawed it is). For once, I'll actually find myself interested in watching the debates (even more if Nader is included (and Buchanan as well, what the hell)) and I know that when election day arrives, it will be one time when I have my television on, watching the results and hoping that Nader gets 5% of the vote, as I think it will be an absolute benefit to the United States when there is actually a true third party to be given the choice of (as the lines between Democrat and Republican have been blurred like never before).

Finally, I want to end this thing by providing some links for more reading on the subject. If you haven't registered yet, check out this link and find out how easy it is to register (even though they've closed their online submission, they still have great info). If you're interested in reading more about Ralph Nader (and why his views have invigorated even a politically apathetic person like me) check here. Finally, if you want to read a couple interesting pieces of writings on the whole thing that aren't stuffy in any way (and ones I agree with spot-on), check here or here. Thanks.