Exercise your rights. Speak up. And vote.
The advantage of living in a representative democracy is that you get to choose political leaders without bloodshed. See, in non-democratic governments you can only change things by revolution.
In this particular democracy, we also get to demonstrate and to speak out against the government. (Many nations forbid one or both.)
Speak up. Vote.
These are the only powers given to you by the Constitution. If you don't vote and you don't voice your opinion you are abandoning the only legal powers you have over the government and you are surrendering to the tyranny of the special interests and political extremists.
You don't have to be smart to vote. You don't have to have read every news story to vote. You don't have to have a degree to vote. You don't have to own land to vote. You just have to be a citizen of this country. So vote according to the best that you can put together of your guts and your heart and your mind. Sure it would be great if everyone would educate themselves about all of the issues and make the most informed decisions possible, but not everyone will. It would be unforgivably elitist to suggest that only the most informed voters should vote, like suggesting that only white men who own land should vote -- we have come farther than that, thank you very much.
Just in case you happen to still be undecided...
Why I'm voting against the current administration:
- Iraq: immanent threats, and WMDs.
- Simple economics: it's unforgivably irresponsible, even devious, to cut taxes with one hand while increasing spending with the other.
Why I'm voting for Kerry:
- Combat experience: each presidential candidate is rich white man who claims to be the tougher warrior. I'd prefer Kerry who has actually seen combat up close and personal.
The rationale leading up to the war emphasized 1) immanent threats, 2) weapons of mass destruction, and 3) associations between Iraq and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. What immanent threat? What WMDs? And what link between 9/11 and Iraq? On all three of those points, the administration has been proved wrong. Iraqi military presented no appreciable resistance to the US invasion. So much for an immanent threat. No weapons of mass destruction have been found. Even Rumsfeld himself has been quoted saying no hard evidence links Saddam and Bin Laden
Our Commander in Chief invaded another country without provocation. Never before in my lifetime has the United States initiated military action without provocation. The rationale justifying that action has come up completely empty. What's worse, explosives documented by the International Atomic Energy Agency have disappeared into the fog of war. The stated purpose of the invasion was to secure Iraq's weapons. They failed.
They got the rationale completely wrong and now we learn that they also failed to secure key components of the Iraqi weapons programs that actually existed. Completely inexcusable.
The present administration would have you believe you can have your cake and eat it too. Instead of tax and spend it's tax-cut and spend. It's burning the candle at both ends. They're talking out of both sides of their mouth. Dealing from both sides of the deck. How many cliches can I come up with to say that you can't have it both ways?
Moreover, it is completely immoral that the mostly poor citizens who volunteered for the military are sent to kill and die in the Middle East while big business and the super rich enjoy the biggest tax breaks in recent memory. While poor families pray for the lives of their sons and daughters, the administration "supports our troops" by cutting taxes for the wealthy and powerful.
I dislike this campaign's theme: my warrior is tougher than your warrior. The rhetoric of the "war on terror" is all wrong. Sadly, we are in fact picking a warrior to lead us in the misguided "war on terror." The incumbent is the son of a rich white man who took a cushy ride through the Vietnam War. Kerry is another rich white man who volunteered for combat in the Vietnam War. Leopards don't change their spots. Bush thinks he's got the courage. Kerry actually does.
Terrorism is a form of guerrilla warfare, something which Kerry has seen in person. I would prefer Kerry to be in the Oval Office making the choices that involve sending young Americans to kill or be killed in asymmetric combat. He knows what that kind of combat looks like up close and personal.