Who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election? Listeners to all the accusatory bombast in the recent debates were impressed by the smooth delivery and mien of one candidate; not so well-impressed by those of the other. It is very hard for us voters to separate out the wheat from the chaff. Listening to think-tank eggheads, TV boom-box spinners and reading partisan political columns doesn't help much either.
There is the matter of our personal disagreements within the two sets of issues and ideologies. On the liberal side, one might favor women's right to choose, stem-cell research, gun control, gay marriage and "rights." On the other hand, one might favor the right to bear arms, the right to life, that marriage is only between one man and one woman and that homosexuals are exhibitionists and recruiters seeking public acceptance and legal status, while unraveling traditional society as we know it.
Then there is the ambiguous and mixed-up area somewhere in between. Religion, for example, should play no part whatsoever in the political process. We hear one candidate in particular, repeatedly mouthing scripture and exhorting God. It appears he was doing so as a "born-again Christian" and incidentally to get votes from the religious right -- at least until his handlers advised him to "cool it."
There are many things about each candidate that we like or dislike. The only solution seems to be to pick one paramount national issue, subjugate our opinions and prejudices, and try to rationally judge which candidate is most likely to handle that issue best. For me the issue is clear -- terrorism and national security. By now the effect and public memory of Sept. 11, 2001, is getting a bit fuzzy. Steadfast resolve is the characteristic I choose -- not personality, skilled bombast or vague plans and promises with popular appeal.
Omar M. Campbell