Campaigns bring out worst in candidates and voters
Every day in the newspapers there is at least one long story about Barack Obama or John McCain. It surprises me that every day something new can be reported about both presidential candidates. Recent "big" news involved Sen. McCain comparing Sen. Obama to airhead celebrities Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Wow! This is what one of our nominees considers campaigning.
When my schoolmates ran for Student Council, the most efficient campaign strategy they came up with was to pass out candy in exchange for our votes. Either they were too ignorant to realize that this is bribery or they just didn't care how they won. You might be shaking your head at this, but this is essentially the method our presidential candidates are using.
I consider these candidates unfit to be president. To illustrate how politicians get elected, here's another example of my classmates' campaigns to "make a difference" (They are oddly reticent about whether that is a positive or negative difference.) One of my responsible classmates ran, but (surprise, surprise!) her classmates voted for not only the most popular student but also the one who the class thinks is the funniest. Not my friend "Becky" who is a straight-A student and an organized, friendly leader, but the class clown "Bob" who ran with the motto "I love tacos" (seriously, that was his campaign slogan).
So politicians who have the most name recognition tend to win. Also the ones with the most gorgeous smile tend to do good or even better compared to those non-Botox people. Many voters go to the polls with no researching of any candidate or even reading those eloquent and "truthful" messages piling in the mail. Most just vote on a person by what party they belong to.
My father ran for Senate a few years ago. I remember those days where I would get up early and smile at random people while waving on the side of the street (sooo much excitement.) My father attended community functions and walked door to door throughout the district to talk with people about what they wanted to happen in the community. In the mail and online we found many nasty, untrue mailers from his opponent's campaign efforts. This is another example of how politicians typically campaign.
My father used to work for Sen. Bob Hogue, and I was able to get a hands-on view of what goes on at work with a politician. They get a nice office with a TV, cookies and meetings ... way too many meetings. I sat through one and made it out alive (though my dad had to keep nudging me so I didn't fall asleep. How these politicians stay awake beats me.)
Another example of a bad role model is John Edwards. He is a lawyer who sues doctors and preaches the whole family thing. You know, support the kids, love your wife ... then he is caught having an affair. I am thankful he was not elected president.
I don't believe that all politicians are bad, because everyone has the right to their opinion and I respect that. A few are amazing people, who put in their time to help the community. I don't consider Obama or McCain as evil. They are human beings, who want to "save" this country from all the problems that previous politicians caused. I know that no matter what any politician does or says, one person will think they are wonderful, while another thinks they are just plain stupid. I believe a politician should be a leader, a role model for children and adults alike. Hey, maybe I should run for president one day, give my math teacher a heart attack ... just kidding.
Janae Rasmussen is in the ninth grade at the University of Hawaii Lab School. She lives in Kailua.
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