Americans everywhere are getting ready to vote in what may well be one of the most important elections since 1932, when FDR was elected to his first term. Because this election will mean so much for the future of our republic, we must have at our disposal the facts and figures needed to cast votes intelligently, most especially because the two major political parties have such wildly different views of the way forward for the nation.
Things weren't this way in the past; back then, it was often hard to tell the difference between the Republican and Democratic positions on the issues. Between 1960 and 1966, it was hard to find any politician who was against the war in Viet Nam; only with the rise of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy in 1968 was there any meaningful dissent to the "official government position" on the war. And whom did we elect in 1968? Why, Nixon, of course, a career politician if ever there was one!
This time around, no one source of information has a monopoly on the facts and figures we will need on Election Day. "Uncle" Walter Cronkite, the man most of us trusted to tell us the news without spinning it, died a long, long time ago. Now we're left with commentators, not news people, and it is increasingly difficult to tell fact from fertilizer.
Might I suggest that one deliberately watch news shows one does not normally watch and think long and hard about the issues before going to the polls?
Do we really want to turn Medicare into a voucher program? Should Medical Assistance and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families be transferred to the states to administer? Should women be denied access to screening and treatment in the name of restricting access to family planning services? Should the wealthy get more in the way of tax breaks in what some argue is an effort to help us all? What unintended consequences might come from embarking on one course of action or another?
These are just a few of the questions we must answer for ourselves before Election Day. Without answers to these and a host of other important issues, our votes will become meaningless and, some would argue, we'll repeat the election of 1968: we will fulfill someone else's dreams of how things should be, not ours.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom