11 Dec 2008

An Open Letter to Politicians and Their Election Campaigns

On September 9th of this year, I woke up at about 3 am for some unknown reason. I’m quite a deep sleeper, so I was surprised that I didn’t just fall right back asleep. I kept tossing back and forth and couldn’t fall back asleep. For what reason I don’t know, I kept thinking about the upcoming Presidential election, more specifically about the campaign slandering that is so prevalent in politics today. I worked myself into a fervor fairly quickly just being so frustrated over the issues in the election and how neither of the candidates seemed to be addressing them. The only things that the media reported on (at least in the limited attention I gave to the media) were campaign slandering practices.

Pretty soon I gave up all hope of going to bed since my mind was so entrenched in frustration. What follows is my 4 am brain dump I wrote and delivered to each candidates websites. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Dear Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain, Mr. Biden, and Mrs. Palin,

In a state dominated by the Republican Party, I am what you would term a “swing-voter”. Formerly thought to be a Republican by upbringing, I can find no decisive reason to vote on the Republican ticket in the upcoming election. What’s more, in an election race that seems to be incurably bi-partisan, it seems that my only other option is to vote on the Democratic ticket. As I do my best to sift through the media’s interpretation of the messages that both camps are trying to convey to their respective voters, one message continues to ring loud and clear from each side (if you’ll allow me to paraphrase): “You should vote for us because the other guys are not qualified, and indeed, are liars.” Forgive me for not believing either of you.

The sad truth about our current political climate is that the general public have a general distrust for most of what comes out of a politician’s mouth. But I find it sickening that a day does not go by where I don’t hear a smear from either camp. The attacks are political propaganda, one-sided information that is cooked up in order to unseat the opponent by making him look foolish, like a liar, or a cheater. In other words, “Mr. Neilsen, please vote for Me because He is clearly an incompetent fool.” I’m tired of it. If you want to talk politics, let’s talk about YOUR politics. If you want to talk about policies, let’s talk about YOUR policies. If you want to talk about change in America, let’s talk about the change that YOU intend to make. I don’t care what you think the other guy is going to tell me. It doesn’t matter, you have no control over it. What’s worse, it makes YOU look foolish for trying to do it in the first place.

At 25 years of age, I am a relatively new voter. I’ve voted in a few previous elections, and generally haven’t taken a lot of time to weigh all the options before making a decision. Like most people, based on a limited amount of information, I rely on my morals and judgement to determine which politician would best lead me. The four individuals this letter is addressed to stand in a phenomenal position. You stand atop the political climate of this entire planet. When elected, two of you will literally have the executive power to change this country, and indeed the power to change the world. Why then would I base ANY decision to elect MY President based on a message where all I can hear is “He said, She said”.

I’m fed up with this style of campaigning. I call on both parties to end this ridiculous charade now. I call on both parties to start talking about the benefits this country will receive if you were to be in charge of it. I don’t want to hear why you think the opposition will do a bad job, tell me why you’ll do a good job. I feel like I cannot make my point any more plain.

Real frustration comes to me because in the end, were I to vote “Democrat” or “Other”, because of my geographic location my voice will inevitably be drowned in the crowd. Because of the Electoral College voting system, the 5 votes from Utah will inevitably all be for Mr. McCain, regardless of who I wish to become the next President. But I still believe in Democracy and the chance that we the people have of controlling the destiny of this country. That is the reason for this letter: to exercise my right to free speech and tell two would-be presidents the kind of message I am looking for. As it stands, neither candidate will receive my nomination this november, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Obama’s skin is a different color than mine, nor has it anything to do with Mr. McCain’s age. It’s because I haven’t heard a defining voice cutting through the barrage of insults and smears. Gentlemen and Lady, please tell the American People what you will do for us, and we’ll take it from there. Thank you for your willingness to serve our country.

Mr. BJ Neilsen