Attention, Voters: Get Off the Fence, Already

  • Share
  • Read Later

Presidential debate watchers react to George W. Bush Tuesday night

I've had it with undecided voters.

"Undecided," I'm afraid, is just the politically correct term for apathetic and uninformed.

After three debates, 12 months of campaigning, countless focus groups, two conventions and millions of news articles, you'd think everyone would have a pretty clear idea of what the two candidates stand for. And for those with lingering doubts, Tuesday night's meeting in St. Louis should have closed the deal.

This is textbook stuff: Bush wants a smaller, less invasive government; Gore wants a larger, more neighborly government. It's bootstraps versus the safety net. Personal accountability versus a federal helping hand.

Pretty clear-cut differences.

But that doesn't seem to make any difference to the now-celebrated undecideds, who are milking their indecision for all it's worth, and more. Somehow, we've come to see virtue in a lack of opinions. We raise our eyebrows at folks who know who they're voting for, as if decisiveness is inversely proportionate to intelligence.

It's not enough that every poll zeroes in on the same group of wishy-washy swing voters. These same people are also corralled into post-debate interview sessions, answering questions in incomplete sentences and generally demonstrating a less than stellar grasp of the political process. Comments generally come in along the lines of: "I think Gore's ideas are good because Bush is a nice man." Oh, well thanks. That clears things right up.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I do have a prescription for what ails America's undecided voters: If you sit down for an hour or so, really examine the issues (and I mean the issues, not George's tie or Al's makeup), you're bound to recognize glaring differences between the two candidates. Sure, we're not talking about socialism versus fascism, or Milosevic versus Kostunica. But we are talking about an important national decision, and if you really are undecided now, with less than three weeks left before you (hopefully) head to the voting booth, you've got some thinking ahead of you.

But whatever you do, don't blame the candidates for your state of confusion. Don't blame the media. This is your responsibility, your choice. If the mainstream news channels aren't addressing the issues that might help you make up your mind, write or call the campaign headquarters. Investigate the candidates' records on your own. Dig a bit deeper for whatever truth you're looking for. Vote for Nader or Buchanan. Just make up your mind.