OCTOBER 10, 2008
TRY VOTING WITH YOUR BRAIN
by Myriam Miedzian
Are you one of those people who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 because he was a Southern good old boy, for Dubya in 2000 (and 2004) because he was the kind of guy you'd love to have a beer with.
And now you're tending toward McCain/Palin.
You might be having trouble connecting with John and Cindy, with their eight homes and her $100 million inheritance, but Sarah more than makes up for them.
You can certainly see yourself sitting around the kitchen table with her having a heart-to-heart talk, or maybe doing some moose hunting.
If you belong to the millions of such Americans who vote their gut rather than their brain, you may already have made some big mistakes in terms of your own self-interest. So think twice before making the same mistakes again this November.
The fact is, these people aren't like you. Some, like Clinton and Palin, started out in humble surroundings, but did you go on to an Ivy League school like Bill? Do you make millions off your books? If you have kids, do you have round-the-clock nannies like Sarah?
And how many of you ladies sport $2,500 jackets, like the one Sarah wore for her Republican convention speech.
As for Dubya, he didn't even start out like you. Grandpa was a senator and you know who his dad is. He talks with a Texas drawl and sounds like a regular guy, but he was born rich and went to Yale just like dad and grand-dad.
The fact is, you're never going to have a beer, or sit around the kitchen table, or go moose hunting with any of them anyway, so why vote based on a fantasy? You should be voting on the basis of what's in your interests.
The only way to do that is to ignore your feelings and inform yourself on the issues.
The Democratic and Republican candidates differ radically on major issues. Here are a few examples:
Affordable health care is a top priority issue for Democrats and Barack Obama. The party platform and the candidate call for health coverage for all Americans. They believe government should play a role, as it does with Medicare for seniors.
By contrast, health care is not a major issue for Republicans or for John McCain. The United States is the only advanced industrialized country without universal health care and Republicans want to keep it that way. The platform and McCain are opposed to government involvement. Their solution is tax credits for medical saving accounts.
Obama supports the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision giving women the right to choose an abortion. McCain supports overturning Roe v. Wade.
If McCain wins, he may be able to do this by appointing anti-abortion Supreme Court justices. Palin differs from even most Republicans who think that in cases of rape, incest and danger to the woman's life abortion should be legal; she is opposed to abortion even in such cases.
Obama favors tax cuts for middle class families, and eliminating all income tax for seniors with in-comes under $50,000.
He wants to increase taxes for people who make over $250,000 — under Bush, these people, and especially those making $1 million or more per year, got huge tax cuts.
McCain wants to make Bush's tax cuts permanent. When it comes to helping middle class fami-lies, he wants to double the personal exemption for families with children.
Obama is opposed to privatizing Social Security.
McCain favors privatizing Social Security; he wants people to be able to put their Social Security money into the stock market.
On the financial bailout bill, both candidates appear to be supporting it reluctantly.
You have about four weeks left to Election Day, so how about making a list of the issues that are the most important to you in terms of you and your family's quality of life.
Then find out each candidate’s position on those issues, and vote for whoever is likely to benefit you the most.
Contact Myriam Miedzian, a New York-based researcher and author of “Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking The Link Between Masculinity and Violence,” at