If you were buying a car, how would you go about it? Would you watch car company commercials - slick, black cars speeding into the night, or slinky-gowned women lying across hoods, or twenty-somethings, bounding over terrain and leaping out of their car, surfboards in hand?
Like I'd just pick my fave commercial and then place my hard-earned bucks down and stay in debt for a few years based on 30 seconds of Madison Avenue bliss.
If you're like most of us, you're going to do the boring stuff like read Consumer Reports, go on Blue Book, visit your favorite car sites, maybe talk to your nephew who's an imports mechanic ("all I can say is, we get a heck of a lot of Mazdas in here..."). You might ask a neighbor how he likes his Ford Fusion if you were looking at a Ford Fusion, but you probably wouldn't get that Ford Fusion just because he did.
Why wouldn't you pick your President the same way?
Why can't we apply the principles to picking a President that we do to picking a car? After all, it's a huge investment. It's an investment for our country's future and in this day and age, it's an investment in our personal, financial stability, as well.
So, are you going to pick your President just because you like an ad, especially an ad that has the slant of the candidate's committee that's created that ad? Are you going to pick the President based on the fact that one of your favorite music or movie stars likes that person? Are you going to base your choice purely on the fact that your friend or your brother-in-law or your daughter likes this person?
Can't you think for yourself?
I bet you can.
You wouldn't buy a minivan if you were 21, straight out of college and living in Chicago, would you? You probably wouldn't buy a Miata if you were a soccer mom (even if you really, really wanted to). If you were all about being Green, buying an Escalade would probably not be your dream choice. Conversely, if you're a Detroit auto line worker, I'm not seeing you in a Prius any time soon.
Before you make this HUGE investment in your future, please, please look at the ISSUES. Read between the lines. Read news stories in the mainstream media. If there's a front page story on corrupt administration tied to one of the candidates, pay attention (unless that just doesn't bother you).
Need to register to vote? Go here.
Need information about Obama's plans? Go here.
Need information about McCain's plans? Go here.
Need information about Obama's voting record, biography, interest group support, etc.? Go here.
Need information about McCain's voting record, biography, interest group support, etc.? Go here. Project Vote Smart is a great source for reading "just the facts, Ma'am". It's a NON-PARTISAN, non-profit organization that has had diverse board members since its inception, including Presidents Ford and Carter, Senators McGovern and Goldwater, and even John McCain served on its board. This is an organization devoted to compiling voting records, doing fact-checking, etc. You can read all about their mission here. I felt this would be an excellent NON-PARTISAN education tool.
Need some comprehensive information on Sarah Palin's record as a leader? Go here.
Need Joe Biden's record? Go here.
If the economy has you worried, find out which candidate's tax plan actually will be better for your tax bracket. Make sure that you'll still have your medical insurance under your candidate's plan (you may not if you vote for McCain). If you have family in the military, make sure your candidate supported the GI Bill, a bill that provided education and health initiatives for returning Veterans (hint, Obama supported this bill, McCain did NOT).
If your ONLY issue is making abortion illegal, then McCain might be a better match.
But let's talk about abortion for a moment. I wouldn't have an abortion. Luckily for me, it's beyond the point that I have to worry about it. For the record, on a personal level, I don't think I could abort a child.
I did find it interesting, though, that Sarah Palin said she was proud that Bristol had made the "choice" to keep her child. Under Sarah Palin's leadership, if Sarah Palin had her druthers, no other woman's daughter would have that choice.
And for all my personal views on abortion, I do feel that women have to look at many issues when pregnant. I also feel that even if I were vehemently anti-abortion, it would still not be my only issue.
Is it yours? Is it really the ONLY issue?
As for my decision, I had to add up the pros and cons. Figure out what was most important to me and to my family. As an average, middle-class mom, I'm scared. I need my family to have health insurance, not just tax credits for health insurance. I need the actual insurance because we might not be covered otherwise (I have some medical issues, my husband has asthma, my son had some health issues when he was younger). Also, if health insurance was run by the insurance companies (as McCain would have it), they could allow buy-in costs to skyrocket beyond where they already are, (because he also believes in deregulation) and our family can't afford to pay more than we are paying now.
We can't afford more taxes, and since our family takes in less than $250,000/year, I know that my family is safer under Obama's plan than under McCain's plan. Since McCain will only provide major tax credits and cuts to the top 1% of the population, I know I can't afford him as President.
I know that I have many friends with children or spouses serving in the military. I've been hearing the horror stories about how their wounded veteran family members have been treated. I believe they deserve respect and benefits, and therefore, passage of the GI Bill was very important to me. The plans that Obama wants to enact for Veterans after he takes office are also in line with my thinking. McCain is more concerned with war costs; Obama with keeping Veterans' benefits and medical care once they return. I believe those who have fought for our country deserve the same benefits their parents did when they were in the military. Under the current administration, that has changed, and McCain would continue those changes saying we can't afford the care previously given to our Veterans.
Finding new sources of renewable energy is very important to me, because I can't afford current fuel prices. Off-shore drilling won't provide a permanent solution or even any relief for the next ten years. Since off-shore drilling is the main solution that Senator McCain offers, I have to go with Barack Obama's much more pragmatic and diversified energy plan.
How do I know all this about the two candidates? I read. A lot. I went here and here. I compared. I comparison-shopped. And since the economy, healthcare, education, Veteran's benefits, and ending the Iraq War in a timely manner are my main concerns, my Presidential choice was crystal clear.
Be an educated voter. Please.