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Too Many Choices?

October 2, 2007

Upon realizing today that I had a blog post due for tomorrow and not Friday, I panicked and decided to search political cartoons on Google to see if I could get any ideas. I browsed until I reached this one from the San Antonio Express-News, which got me thinking…
Perhaps the general lack of interest in today’s political debates has to do with too many choices. Slavery was no easy matter in American politics, but a topic that divided the country. However, the issues (excuse me for being trite) were a lot more black and white. Either one is for or against slavery, for or against the continuation of the old Southern way of life. Lincoln took his stand and made a name for himself through debates. It is a lot more difficult today. Although we are still in the primaries, there are (to the best of my knowledge) eight Democrat presidential hopefuls and ten Republicans. Aside from party affiliation, let’s look at the main topics. Are you for immediately withdrawing all troops from Iraq, gradually bringing troops home, or staying there until the job is done? How exactly do we know when this job is done? Pro-life or pro-choice? Should there be universal health care? Are you trading in your Hummer for a Hybrid or still not buying into global warming? The questions seem endless.
I have been a little harsh in discussing debates in the 21st century in my brief stint as a blogger. Although I still think a lot can be drawn from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to make our debates today more effective, the vast amount of issues and candidates at the time being make it difficult. Until a candidate is chosen by each party, it is hard to compare Election 2008 to the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Charlotte permalink
    October 3, 2007 5:34 pm

    I agree that in todays politics there are too many options. Its bad enough trying to decide what you are going to wear in the morning and you know what is in your closet. With the political candidates we do not know them and they are not making it any easier to get to know them. It sadden me to find out that Newt Gingrich had decided not to run for political office because I believe he would have challenged the other candidates to start speaking. I believe by having him in the race the political debates between opposite party candidates would have come to pass faster. I have not given up hope on the opposite party political debates but it does not help when candidates do not show up to scheduled debates with members of their own party because of “scheduling” reasons.

  2. Charlotte permalink
    October 4, 2007 11:57 am

    Let me take my previous thought one step farther. I was reading in the Wall Street Journal online and came across an article titled, “The Media Cornucopia: Too many choices! Or too few! The left can’t make up its mind– but it wants control.” The article talks about the contradictorily perceptions on the vastness of media sources available to candidates. The reporter Adam D. Thierer said this, “This media cornucopia is a wonderful development for a free society–or so you’d think. But today’s media universe has fierce detractors, and nowhere more vehemently than on the left. Their criticisms seem contradictory. Some, such as Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich, contend that real media choices, information sources included, remain scarce, hindering citizens from fully participating in a deliberative democracy. Others argue that we have too many media choices, making it hard to share common thoughts or feelings; democracy, community itself, again loses out. Both liberal views get the story disastrously wrong. If either prevails, what’s shaping up to be America’s Golden Age of media could be over soon.”

    I will let the quote speak for itself. But wouldn’t an hour debate every Sunday for seven weeks between opposite party candidates solve the problem? Everyone would get the same coverage and the citizens would have the option to tune in… Think about it!

  3. Arubus permalink
    October 4, 2007 6:30 pm

    Too many choices! Damn right. The 2008 presidential election is starting to look like the California governor elections in years past. As a college student I feel I can speak for most of my peers, regardless of political party views: STOP IT! All of these candidates need to sit back and relax, put your ego’s aside and do what’s best for the country: STOP IT! All these candidates are doing is polluting the voter-pool and making the average citizen’s decision that much harder. What happened to Clinton, Obama, Giuliani, and McCain? It was just like old times, with two candidates per party and that wacky third party candidate that was like your drunk, fat friend that nobody takes seriously?
    Now we have dozens, literally dozens of candidates!?! What do these people expect from the average American citizen? Do they expect us to take out a few days a week to devote to studying up on all of their platforms and positions? Do they expect us to go to each and every one of their MySpace pages and browse around? Its crazy.
    American politics is becoming a three-ring circus, bring on the elephants!

  4. Daniel Escoto permalink
    October 5, 2007 3:04 am

    I agree with this post. I think there are way too many issues being brought up.

    In past presidential elections, it’s always been a huge major political issue that takes the reigns of the votes and people base it on that one issue because it’s affecting them here and now. I guess one could argue that the Iraq War is the most major political issue of this election, but we can’t forget all the others ones: immigration, gay marriage, health care, abortion, etc.

    And with all these issues at hand, it’s not easy to find a candidate to support. For example, I agree with most of the things that Obama stands for, but his stance on health care is a little bit flawed to me. I might be biased because both of my parents work in the health care field and they could lose their jobs. Just because Obama stands for something I do not, I can’t fully support him. Same goes for other candidates; with one wrong stance on an issue, a candidate can lose all the support they have.

    What might be sane to do is to just look at one issue that is most important to you and vote based on that. Keeping track of everyone’s stance and keeping a score sheet can get tedious and overwhelming. I don’t know what the most important issue for me is yet, but I agree with this blogger again that we’ll have to wait when we have a definite candidate from each party running.

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