Global, national issues demand informed voters

February 9, 2009

Unprecedented voter turnout in the primaries,swarming crowds at Obama’s speeches, both parties’ national conventions enjoying record viewership: this is a historic election year, not only because we the people may elect an African-American as president or a woman for vice president; this election is historic because the man we vote into office must have the leadership to battle a mounting number of serious threats at home and abroad.

Anything can happen in the next 35 days leading up to the presidential election in November. In only the past few weeks, we have seen our economy fall into what many have called the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” a record bailout of $700 billion for the financial industry and a Russian invasion of Georgia.

In the past months we have seen a growing subprime mortgage crisis, increased concern over the state of our healthcare and a tremendous rise in oil prices, leaving us to wonder about our energy future and an Iran with nuclear ambitions.

In the past 8 years, we were attacked by terrorists on our own soil, went to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and ousted a dictator and occupied a country, likely entangling us in conflict for many years to come. At home we have seen the number of undocumented immigrants swell to as many as 12 million, according to the?Pew Research Center.

During the next four years, we face possible war with Russia or Iran.

This is no time to stay home on Election Day.

This is not the Great Depression. We have not seen another Sept. 11. We are not at war with Iran or Russia. Not yet. But depending on the decisions of the next president, these dangers are very real. Come inauguration day, Jan. 20, 2009, someone will be sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. That person will face an economic crisis, healthcare reform, the war in Iraq, an energy emergency and a host of other issues.

This is no time to stay home. This also is no time for people to vote based on biases and misinformation.

The decision for which man will lead us in this time of crisis must be an informed one. Thankfully, information readily is available to voters. Both candidates have listed their proposals and policies for their campaigns on their respective Web sites (barackobama.com, johnmccain.com). They participated in a debate last Friday, which is readily available on the Internet, over foreign policy and national security. A vice presidential debate is Thursday, a presidential debate with a town hall format is Oct. 7 and a debate over domestic policy is Oct. 15.

With an abundance of information about the candidates comes an abundance of spin and false stories. Voters must be well-informed. Right wing radio and far left blogs cannot be the only sources for news.

One of our greatest enemies is not al-Qaeda waiting at our door step. It is not the looming recession or healthcare or rising oil prices. What is the greatest enemy this coming election cycle is voter apathy.

It is time to make an informed decision.

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