Seeing as how I've already done a certain amount of barking about the upcoming Presidential election, I thought I should take a moment to explain my stance on politics.
It's a pretty hot topic these days, and I read a pretty fair amount about it due mainly just to my extensive blog surfing. To boil it all down, it just seems like everyone hates everyone else. Liberals/Democrats hate Conservatives/Republicans, and vice versa, and each group thinks the other will be the downfall of civilization as we know it.
That level of extremism bothers me. Truth is, we need both sides. If either side gained enough power to make the other insignificant, that would be very bad. Our entire governmental system is based on checks and balances, and this is one area where that comes into effect. Either side would rage out of control if given an inordinate amount of power over the other. It just wouldn't work.
Personally, I don't care that much. Sure, I have a tendency to align more as a Liberal/Democrat, and I'm in fact registered as a Democrat, but I don't think of myself that way. I refuse to vote for someone just because of their party affiliation. I'll vote for whomever I think will do the best job in a given position. If it happens to be a Republican, so what? I would have voted for Bob Dole over Al Gore, had they been running against each other. I like Bob Dole; I just didn't think he would have been a better President than Bill Clinton. I voted for Gore over Bush not just because Gore was the Democratic candidate, but because I thought he would do a better job than Bush.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I don't invest anything in my votes. I don't take it personally. I think a lot of people do, and that's why there's so much vitriolic bickering between liberals and conservatives. I don't care. If a person gets voted into office and does a good job, I think that's great! It doesn't matter to me if it's the person I voted for or not. His/her ideas don't have to be the same as mine. If they work, and make things better, I'm all for it.
I don't know how common that sort of view is, though. I think too many people side with a candidate or party, and then stick with that view no matter what. If things go badly, they don't see it, or rationalize it to themselves and others. I'm sure I'm guilty of that from time to time as well, but I try to step back and look at things objectively. If someone is doing or will do a good job, I think they should get the job no matter what party they represent.
Of course, there will be plenty of varying opinions on exactly what constitutes a "good job," and that's a totally different discussion. That's the sort of thing that can make political debate interesting, though. I'm normally not into politics because it gets so personal, which drives me crazy, but if it could be more about philosophies and ideas, I would definitely be more interested.
This November, I'll be voting for John Kerry. I don't necessarily think that he'll be the greatest President who has ever lived, but I do think he's a better candidate than George W. Bush. I'm sure Mr. Bush means well, but it doesn't seem that his policies are helping the United States, either at home or abroad. It may be that Mr. Kerry would be no better, but at the very least I think we need a change of direction.