Not Your Everyday News

Friday, April 27, 2007


What the heck? We are a year and a half away from the 2008
presidential election, yet we have already had our first debate.
Eight Democratic hopefuls for the White House took part in an
event held in South Carolina last night. It turned out to be a
fairly ho-hum gathering, as most naturally bashed the war in
Iraq. The surprise of the debate was a little known ex-senator
from Alaska, Mike Gravel. According to CNN pundits, he shook
up the stage more than once, at one point calling the U.S. "the
greatest violater of the non-proliferation treaty". (The 1968
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the U.S. has signed,
calls for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament,
and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.) The atmosphere, for the
most part, however, was cordial; no one came out ahead or
damaged. What I simply don't get is how early all these candidates
declared their intentions, and, subsequently, how soon, before
even the first caucus or primary, a debate was held. I have
followed American politics for over 20 years, and I just don't
remember witnessing such a circus, especially a year and a half
before actually going to the polls. The danger of this is that most
folks are going to be fed up with all the politicians over this long
stretch of time. The result could be even more apathy from the
American public. I would like to believe the opposite will happen,
that folks will be forced to become more politically aware and
active. However, Americans do not have the best track record
when it comes to politics and voting; commentators gush when
voter turnout percentages for an election go over 50%. But
basically, that means about 1/2 of all Americans could care less -
if they cared, they would get out and vote. Personally, I have
never missed a vote; I became a registered voter immediately
after turning 18. Even when I lived overseas, I would go to the
American embassy and vote by absentee ballot. But clearly not
all folks are quite as dedicated. Oh well, I guess time will tell,
after all, we have plenty of it before Nov. 2008!

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