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Opinion

Past election destroys hope for 2008

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September 18, 2008

Hello readers and welcome to another year on the beautiful UW-River Falls campus. It’s only a couple weeks in, and I can already tell that the presidential election in November will be an important and influential issue in classrooms across campus. Perhaps if I were more judicious with the production of this column I would find some cleaner way to approach the election in a less overt, partisan way. But I simply can’t-even thinking about the modest chance of a McCain/Palin victory gives me night terrors. Chills and sweats. Insomnia. Mumps and measles. All psychosomatic symptoms of November peril at the voting booth.

It’s happened to me before. In 2004, I wasn’t worried at all. I figured John Kerry-dorkbot that he was-would win easily when compared to the forehead-smacking incompetence of George W. Bush. Surely, I thought, everyone will weigh the particulars of this election carefully in a rational manner and come to the obvious and logical conclusion that Bush is bad. But in my youthful naiveté, I couldn’t predict the combined effect of a country of single-issue, emotional voters. When properly riled, these people can own any election. That’s the Karl Rove legacy.

This time will be different – it’s 2008 and people will finally see! Everyone will learn the lessons of the 2004 election and live happily ever after! You see, I like to think these thoughts, but I simply cannot believe in them until November actually gets here. I should prepare myself for the worst right now so I don’t get face-punched by my own blind optimism later on.

I have several reasons to dislike McCain-and you don’t have to like any of them. First of all, the dude doesn’t know how to use a computer or the Internet. This is insane. The Internet and all the telecommunication issues that go along with it are of immense importance in 2008. The rapid advancement of technology and communication is changing our culture constantly. Internet and technology literacy are required and expected of high school students, college students and most career professionals. Should we not expect the same from our president? How is it that anyone is alright with a presidential candidate in 2008 that can’t keep up technologically?

Another silly reason I dislike McCain is his age. I’m not an ageist prick or anything; I just think he’s past his presidential prime. If he went the full two terms, he’d be eighty by the time he was out! This isn’t terribly old, especially by today’s improving standards. But combine that with the fact that McCain refuses to publicly release his health records and also the fact that the vacuous Sarah Palin is his running mate, and McCain loses his appeal.

John McCain just seems far too crusty and old to really connect with anything that’s important to me. I see Barack Obama, Ron Paul and others using technology and net culture to connect with voters. I feel like a presidential candidate who is truly in touch will strive to acknowledge the daily experience of most Americans. John McCain with his uncountable homes and his rich heiress wife and his horribly negative campaign and his cultural disconnection seems too far buried in the stasis of “politics as usual” for me to vote for him. Ever.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.