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ISSUE 118 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/24/2004

Porch rhetoric false

By Abby Hughes
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 24, 2004

Every election year, a multitude of issues vie for center stage in each candidates political podium. Some issues such as abortion, unemployment and the economy come back year after year.

However, each election year has its special issues as well  this year there has been a lot of talk about what should be done about the situation in Iraq and the war against terrorism.

All of these issues are very important when considering who you want for the leader of your country, and who you want to represent America for the next four years.

Yet none of these issues will be the deciding factor in this years race to the White House.

Every year, real issues take a backseat to each candidates front porch campaigns  that is, the campaign to appear more patriotic, to be more American than the other candidate.

This approach to campaigning is why, every four years, we hear about each candidates military service  in this case, a service that occurred over 25 years ago for both candidates, when both men were completely different people.

This is why we hear testimonies from their wives about how great the respective candidates are as husbands and fathers, and as a side note, how great theyd be at running a country.

During the course of the year, campaigns turn into movie reels about each candidates great American values and wonderful personalities, and the real issues turn into mere footnotes.

Take, for example, the situation in Iraq and the war on terror. In Sen. John Kerrys speeches on this issue, we hear eloquently worded phrases on American values, such as When Im president, America will once again stand up to our enemies and We will restore the true greatness of our nation and set a new direction for our future.

On the other hand, in one of President George W. Bushs recent speeches on the situation in Iraq, his closing words were, I believe that freedom can change the world and the world will be more peaceful.

These words could be used in any Kerry speech on the issue, and, for that matter, a lot of the phrases Kerry uses are completely appropriate for a Bush speech on terrorism. These words reveal nothing about either candidates actual stance on the issue.

How many informed voters know that Kerry initially voted for the war on Iraq? Kerry now believes that the most important thing to do with the Iraq issue is to get the world involved.

For example, he wants to get NATO, a global security organization, involved to make Iraqs security part of their mission  and to pursue more international involvement in Iraqs rebuilding.

How many know that Bush, despite his talk of freedom and a more peaceful world, has no specific plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops? Bush still holds to the idea that there was a direct link between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist organization and claims that weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq, despite the lack of conclusive evidence.

This is the information that should be deciding votes, and it is being drowned out by both candidates desperate need to sound and look the most presidential.

Both care so much about saying the most appealing thing to the public that the public can no longer hear anything concrete. When the public goes to vote on Nov. 2, will they truly be voting for the best possible leader for this country? Or will they be voting for the best propaganda, the best promises that cant possibly match up to the reality of the state of this country?

How do citizens beat the system and become informed? Sift through the speeches to find the hard facts that the candidates are standing behind.

Once you find those, decide for yourself who you want to support and dont let the commercials or the slogans do the thinking for you. What is America if it is not the right to decide for ourselves?

Contributing writer Abby Hughes is a first year from Roseville, Minn. Her major is undecided.

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