Monday, March 24, 2008

Decision 2008

The Electoral College Has To Go!
By Alexandra Kolbeck

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t support George W. Bush in his first run for President. He seemed like the lesser of two evils and I was not very educated at the time. I think after his first term in office, it was apparent that things were not going so well for America. However, that did not keep him from winning a second consecutive term.

Looking back, I see what an idiot I was.

The war on terrorism, tax breaks for the rich, a near economic recession, no health care for every American and a President who can barely spell his own name. These are just a few of the lovely products of America’s choice to re-elect George W. Bush. Obviously there is a disconnect between the candidates we see and the President we get. When I tried to nail down the reason for this, I came up with one simple conclusion.

The Electoral College has to go. Briefly, the Electoral College describes the 538 Presidential electors who meet every four years to cast the official votes for President and Vice President of the United States.

With the turnout of the last election, it’s no longer reputable to say that anyone chosen to lead this country is truly wanted or even qualified. This presidential race has lost much esteem due to one thing, a representative democracy. We live in a world where the technology exists to become the exact thing that this country prides itself upon being.

Now we have a chance to be a true democracy, but we’re still waiting in the polling place lines on our lunch breaks. All so that we that we can haul ourselves half way across town to the high school gymnasium or local Methodist church, where we wait in line to punch a ballot and get a sticker for voting for someone else to speak for us?

I’m pretty sure that isn’t what Abraham Lincoln meant when he described a government “Of the people, by the people, for the people.”

When speaking with my mother about her feelings on voting, she admitted that she couldn’t even explain how it worked. All she knows is that she votes for a delegate to speak for her. That in and of itself is enough to make her, and many Americans, feel that their vote does not count.

As important as the 2008 presidential election is, it is time for our country to listen to the people. Relying on a representative democracy has not proven to be effective in recent elections. What is it going to take for people to see that something needs to change? Do you need to be the one to get laid off because an immigrant is willing to do your job for a fraction of the pay? What about when you, the single parent who can’t afford health insurance for your children is suddenly stuck with a pile of medical bills you can’t afford? Will you see a need for change then?

If this country listened to the people when Bush ran the first time, there is a very good chance Al Gore would have taken the country in a different direction. The same goes for Bush’s second run for presidency. If everyone’s voice mattered, John Kerry might be leading this country right now. At any rate, there is no time to waste when our country is in the horrible shape it is.

No one knows for sure who will be successful in running this country. Whether change comes in the form of Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama, or any other candidate, it should be because the people have chosen them to lead us through that change. With the Electoral College still in force, there is no way for every American to have a voice. And, with every American without a voice, the foundation of this country is weakened that much more.

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