This past week alone I've had a discussion with my brother and s-i-l about the election, listened to some interesting stories on NPR about the election, even dissected part of the rhetoric from last night's debate (ala this Slate article) in my class today. Couple that with 29% of you asking for some deep thoughts from me, I thought I'd share a little bit of the political discourse rumbling through my mind. Of course, I'm not sharing everything because after I wrote an honest, forthcoming post and read it to Jason, he said, "Are you sure about this? You don't do well with mean people." So. You'll have to settle for a shorter, less revealing post. That's how this sensitive, thin-skinned momma rolls.
I have purposefully stayed out of the political discussion because my views don't fit neatly into any political party. I am pro-life, pro-gun control, pro-environment. I don't believe the words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, or that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. I don't think that minimum wage should be a living wage, or that Oregon's classrooms should be English language-only. Embryonic stem-cell research isn't a gray area for me; capital punishment is. I am a registered Republican, although of the things that define me, it is far down on the list. I am, generally speaking, a conservative.
All that said, I don't think either Presidential candidate represents my views especially well. I understand the appeal of both, which is why I don't disparage anyone's choice for President. Speaking from personal experience, I know how hard it is to choose someone who is not from your preferred political party. For those who are staunch Republicans or Democrats, then this election is just as easy as any election. Vote by the line.
Of course, those that vote by the line are often unfairly stereotyped. It is overly simplistic for Republicans to question the morality of Democrats, or for Democrats to question the intelligence of Republicans. Just last week, I was reading someone's blog and saw a comment written by a blog-friend that said something to the effect of "Republicans are evil people." My heart hurt a little at that.
As for this election, I'm torn. Because I run along the morally conservative side, then I tend to vote Republican. But no matter how I look at it, I struggle with McCain. For one thing, his style is particularly off-putting to me. There seems to be a lot of anger, which doesn't really sit well with me. And the eye rolling at last night's debate? Really? It was disappointing.
For another thing--a larger thing--I'm not really comfortable with the continuing establishment of one political party, even if it's the party I support. I think it's good for the balance of power to shift every so often, if only to keep everyone on their toes. There are a lot of things I appreciate about Obama: his temperament, his pragmatism, his willingness to change the tone of the Democratic platform on abortion--even if at times it seems dangerously close to moral relativism.
At the end of the day, I hope whoever wins can do what President Bush couldn't: bring some unity to our country.
I'm not asking for hand holding and rounds of campfire songs; I'd settle for a little bit of optimism.