Nightmares are more often effective because of their realistic potential of occurrence not because of their absurdity. We all grow pessimistic occasionally, but sometimes we ignore that potentiality, and then regret our silence, thereupon the unfavorable happening. With this in mind, I would like to pose a question which I think every well-meaning American ought to ask themselves: what will become of our country if George Bush wins a second term?Every voter or potential voter has to consider the consequences of their actions, especially if they are casting a vote in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth will be a battle-ground state and could determine the election if it does not vote Democrat, as it marginally did in 2000. There are few things which Rush Limbaugh and I agree upon, but one of those rarities concerns the relevance of this state for Bush and Kerry. As Rush has said, Kerry cannot win the election by winning Pennsylvania, but he will lose the election if he fails to secure that state.
With our importance as voters justified, regardless of political affiliation, we must consciously consider the future of the country. So what will America be like in 2008 if George Bush is retiring from an eight year term? I dare not hazard a guess.
What is most frightening concerns what exactly we have and have not witnessed these past four years. Bush has essentially been running a four year campaign for reelection. For all of his extremism and aggressive policies, this was his moderate phase, his outreach to the swing voters of 2004. What characteristics will define him during the final four years if he shall never face the challenge of another election again? His religious views might further affect his decisions and his foreign policy might grow increasingly hostile towards world peace. He has already incited the most massive public demonstrations in world history and continues to demean American prestige and (non-militaristic) influence through his mounting mistakes and archaic public image. What more could he do? Might he attack Syria, Iran, North Korea? Will he further bankrupt education, health care and Social Security by granting more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans? Will he award more incentives to companies who export jobs? Will he legally block same-sex couples from ever achieving equal rights? Will he censor public airwaves? Will he oversee more terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and yet continue to praise the CIA for its intelligence success? Will he ever pronounce “nuclear” correctly? I would hate to learn.
The importance of this coming election has caused an upheaval in the liberal community where Ralph Nader has carved a niche to the left of John Kerry. Nader certainly represents a purer liberal candidate for many idealists, but the slot he occupies is Kerry’s Achilles heal. Kerry cannot simultaneously fight for centrist and leftist votes without alienating one, if not both sects. Accordingly, Kerry has turned his attention towards the American center and hopes that those adopting Nader’s message will realize their proximity to deciding George Bush’s future in this vital election year. Meanwhile, President Bush does not have this problem. With his marriage amendment proposal, tax breaks, and military exhibitions he has his base firmly entrenched.
The relative closeness and the vital nature of this election have even attracted the attention of some unlikely voices. Noam Chomsky, MIT professor, the leading proponent of libertarian socialism in the country and an informed critic of both political parties since the 1940s, has recently made public his “reluctant” opinion that John Kerry would be “a fraction” better than the “radical nationalists” currently in office. Chomsky described the difference between Bush and Kerry as one “between two factions of the business party,” but that “in this system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes.” He said that the Bush administration is so “savage and cruel” in their commitment “to dismantling the achievements of popular struggle through the past century, no matter what the cost to the general population,” that such differences are magnified and relevant. This is the first Democratic endorsement Chomsky has offered in decades of political and social commentary.
No one could argue that the outcome of November’s election will be meaningless. There is a rare choice of disparity between Bush and Kerry and a discernable outcome to desire. Anyone who is concerned about the job market they will enter into upon graduation, the security of their country and the “America” their children will encounter must participate this year. This truly is our 1968. Everything can change or nothing will. I urge you then to register to vote, volunteer some time working for a candidate, donate a few dollars online, tell a friend about an issue or just read a newspaper. Do not remove yourself from the actions of your government; they affect your life and you should affect theirs.
Bill Casto is a senior studying Literature with a minor in History.