Evaluating Truths & Doing The Right Thing

During 2007 so many names had been tossed into the ring for the Presidential election that there were enough candidates in the race to field an entire baseball game between the Democrats and the Republicans. The number of names was staggering, and the lineups included some major players from both parties. By the end of 2007, this election cycle promised to be quite exciting, if anything because of the sheer number of people involved.

It was no surprise that so many names would be tossed around, as this is the first presidential election since 1952 where neither the incumbent nor the vice-president were the presumptive nominee from their respective party. Everyone was looking for a horse in the race.

The Democrat menagerie included Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Joseph Biden, Christopher Dodd, Tom Vilsack, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel. The herd of Republicans included Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter and Jim Gilmore.

Some of these players never announced they were running in the first place (like Al Gore and Newt Gingrich) and most of the others dropped out before the American people even had a chance to vote for them. It’s safe to say that in the beginning of this election cycle, the names were plentiful but our choices were indeed few.

Tom Vilsack, Jim Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Sam Brownback, and Tom Tancredo all dropped out before the end of 2007 and by the end of January 2008, Christopher Dodd, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Rudy Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, Dennis Kucinich, and John Edwards also dropped out.

By the time February arrived, it was clear that in this election cycle, we were screwed. The Democrats and Republicans had each held 6 primaries which left 44 states remaining in the contest and only 7 candidates to choose from. The Democratic side included Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mike Gravel, while the Republican choices were limited to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee.

Maybe, if any of those candidates had actually followed through after going through the motions, we might have seen a completely different election unfold. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

When I walked into the voting booth here in Georgia on February 5th, my choice for President had already dropped out. The name was on the ballot, but the votes for that candidate as well as the others who dropped out, meant nothing. I was no longer voting for who I thought was the best candidate, and that disappointed me. In fact, I bet a lot of people were disappointed when they went to the polls and realized how limited their choices really were. So much for the election process being fair.

You may not know this, but each state has different guidelines and procedures for getting a candidates name on the ballot. Each state sets their own requirements and deadlines for doing so. If you fail to meet the requirement, or you miss the deadline, your name is not to appear on the ballot on election day.

One of those deadlines passed on August 25th. In Texas, candidates had until August 25th to provide written certification of their nomination. Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain met that deadline. They couldn’t meet it. Barack Obama wasn’t nominated until August 28th, and John McCain wasn’t nominated until September 4th.

The Texas Secretary of States office claims both parties made filings with their office before the deadline and then supplemented them. I find that difficult to believe unless the other candidates who might have been nominated also filed the same paperwork, as a way of being prepared. I am not familiar with the law but I still don’t see how you can meet a filing deadline when you aren’t even the official candidate of your party yet. Heck, John McCain didn’t even pick Sarah Palin to be his running mate until August 29th.

The law is the law and it should be followed, but apparently the state of Texas is more interested in making sure there is at least one Democrat and one Republican on the November ballot, than making sure that the political process is legitimate and fair to all parties involved. The state of Texas has made sure, even though they broke the rules and didn’t meet the deadline, that both Barack Obama and John McCain were placed on the Texas ballot. Isn’t it funny how that worked out? So much for the election process being fair.

What if a candidate followed all the guidelines, met all the deadlines and abided by all the rules? Shouldn’t that guarantee him (or her) a spot on the ballot? Not in Connecticut, it doesn’t.

The campaign for Bob Barr circulated petitions and collected the required amount of signatures in order to appear on the Connecticut ballot. Election officials claimed the campaign did not submit enough signatures to meet the filing requirement. It turns out, however, that the campaign submitted over 12,000 signatures, many more than the 7,500 signatures that were required. Election officials simply made an error, but because of that error, his name will not appear on the ballot.

So why isn’t his name going to appear on the ballot? Because Judge Janet Hall decided that the state would not have the time to reprogram the electronic voting machines and reprint machine readable ballots before the election. Can you imagine the outrage if Barack Obama was denied a spot on the Connecticut ballot? We all know that wouldn’t happen, and Connecticut officials would be printing ballots around the clock to fix that mistake before election day. Shouldn’t all candidates, no matter their party affiliation, be treated the same? So much for the election process being fair.

The primaries are now a distant memory, the filing deadlines have all passed, and we are now just seven days away from electing the 44th President of the United States. The process has been anything but fair and the media has done their best to make it even worse.

They have spent many news cycles labeling Sarah Palin as “Caribou Barbie” and making sure we see her shoes everyday, yet they refuse to acknowledge that Barack Obama was once a bona-fide member of the Socialist party or that he hasn’t even proven he is a United States citizen.

They work effortlessly to discredit John McCain, make him look grumpy, and claim he is running a negative campaign, but they completely ignore the fact that Barack Obama has zero executive experience, has associated with known domestic terrorists, and makes sure his supporters completely annihilate anyone who dares to ask him a serious question.

Whether or not any of the events above have an impact on your vote, shouldn’t the electoral process be fair to all candidates? Was there ever a time when the electoral process was fair? Shouldn’t journalists remain impartial during that process? Shouldn’t we be looking at the candidates ourselves, evaluating the truths we know, and making our decisions based on what is right for us? When did it become so difficult to do the right thing?

Chances are the winner of this election won’t be the one most Americans want in the Oval Office, and that’s a shame, because whether we are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent, we should be voting for the candidates we want rather than voting against the others we don’t.