This is the most important presidental election of our lives.
God, that sounds melodramatic... but it might just be accurate.
Strangely, though, it's not because of the candidates themselves. Sure, we know what Dubya's done - and how his administration's been beholden to corporate interests since day one. We know that under his leadership, terrorism has increased since 9/11. We've squandered over a thousand lives in Iraq chasing after WMD's that may have never existed. We've been given a few hundred dollars in compensation for slashed social programs, dirtier air, and a tremendous debt.
This is not what concerns me.
As of this writing, the two presidential campaigns have been markedly different. Kerry's campaign has been largely characterized by a positive message, outlining what he'd do differently instead of attacking the personal qualities of Bush. While not perfect, Kerry has spoken more to the populist base than I remember Clinton or Gore doing during thier campaigns. This is a positive sign. During this election cycle, groups such as ACT and MoveOn have been organizing huge voter signup drives, recognizing that those who didn't vote in 2000 far outnumber the splinter "swing vote" of the moment.
They are watching. The strategists are watching. The people behind the scenes, the people most of us don't know.
Nader has, once again, stated that there isn't much difference between the candidates. I disagree - but this time his observation is irrelevant. The campaigns are very different in tone, fairness, and truth. Compared to Bush, Kerry is running a hugely populist, positive campaign.
The strategists are watching - and taking stock of what works.
I am tired of sound-bite politics. I am tired of attack ads - especially ones not founded in fact. For all of its faults, the Kerry campaign has ideas, potential solutions. Something to vote for instead of just something to vote against. He is providing a significant difference from his opponent. It is a politics of hope against a politics of fear.
Which tactic wins this election will determine what we'll see more of in the future.
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