News stories over the past few days have (understandably) been dominated by coverage of the two main candidates for the presidency: Barack Obama and John McCain. I've heard pundits and analysts giving out assessments of the candidates' strategies, I've heard the candidates themselves repeating their chosen mantras over and over again, and I've heard interviews with ordinary people talking about how they'll decide who gets their vote.
Sadly, through all of this, I haven't heard much focus on the things that really matter: the issues. People keep talking about whether or not John McCain is a hero because of his time as a POW during Vietnam, or whether or not Barack Obama's charisma will make him a better leader, or whether or not Americans are ready to elect a black man to the presidency... and so on and so forth.
But not many people are talking about the issues... the bare bones choices that the next president will make, choices that will dramatically impact all of our daily lives as national policies are shaped over the next four years. The personal characteristics of the people behind those policies matter very little to me - I want to know what they're going to DO if they're elected.
So I'm going to post several blogs discussing the policies that matter to me in this campaign. In each case, I agree with Barack Obama's policies and I disagree with John McCain's policies. I'll be sharing why, but (hopefully) in a respectful manner. I understand that not everyone will agree with me, and I honor the fact that everyone has to grapple with these issues for themselves. But I do hope people are doing just that - grappling with the issues. I hope they're not voting because of a gut feeling, or a candidate's public persona (which was probably designed by publicists and handlers for public consumption, anyway), or age or race or any of the other personal details that won't have much of an impact on the real issues that are facing our nation.
I realize these blogs might have made more of an impact earlier in the campaign, since many people have already cast their votes or made their decisions. But I also know that the issues I'm discussing here aren't going anywhere... and it's important for all of us to consider where we stand on each of them. So I believe these posts will remain relevant long after the presidential election - regardless of who wins - as we all consider the direction this country should head in the years to come.
*** Note: I'm only going to use information about the candidates' policies that I get from their own websites and promotional material. I won't be listening to their assessments of each other's policies or the opinions of third parties, since those can be easily skewed. I'm getting the descriptions of their opinions and policies "straight from the horse's mouth."