Campaign highlights deep regional, cultural divisions

Over the past weeks, it has become commonplace for someone to ask me, “So who are you voting for?” And if I do not promptly call out the name of Gore or Nader, there is a sharp scowl awaiting me at the other end of the conversation. It rather amuses me that so many of my peers have effectively demonized George W. Bush and the Republican Party, not to mention that an equal amount have claimed allegiance to Ralph Nader and the Green Party.

What does it mean that Bush, presently ahead of Gore in all major polls, cannot receive even one-fifth of our student body’s vote? I can only speculate, but does it mean that Bush is the “common man’s” candidate? And, are Gore and Nader the candidates of upper class Ivy League college students? Am I the only one who is perturbed to see that so many of us want Gore to be president, while it appears that Bush has the slightest inside track for the White House? What can the sentiments of the Purple Bubblites teach us about the General Election?

Just look at how polarized the Electoral College is. States with large metropolitan areas like New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and California are strongly in the Gore column, with Pennsylvania and Florida as likely hopefuls. What does it mean that Gore has the upper hand in the more “urbane” and “sophisticated” states of the country while his opponent thrives west of the Appalachians, south of the Beltway?

Bush will most definitely carry the majority of the states south of the Mason-Dixon Line, along with practically all of the Far West (sans California, Oregon and Washington). Is it in any way disturbing to see the United States so geographically polarized? Is it also coincidence that the election’s “battleground” states are primarily situated in the Midwest (Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) where the political strongholds of Bush and Gore converge? These are just some of the thoughts that bog my mind when people ask, “Who are you voting for?”

Another question that was alluded to earlier is the question of how George W. Bush, a political lightweight, fairs so well against the Democrats’ best and brightest, in Al Gore? There are millions of intelligent and reasonable people who are strongly behind the opponent that finds the smallest of support at Williams? This question is looking at how our campus has effectively demonized the Republican Party.

On this point, I ask “Why?” Why Bush is looked upon so lowly at Williams? He may not sound as learned as Gore, but is there not a wicked irony in Bush being more politically astute by sounding less intelligent? In more tangible terms, what is so wrong by being the candidate of the “common folk?” What is wrong with wanting to protect the sanctity of marriage or ending legislation from the bench? I am rather perturbed at trying to figure out the reason why so many sons and daughters of Ephraim do not wish for Compassionate Conservatism. Is not America the land of “rugged individualism?” To apply more government onto the liberties of its citizenry will just limit the People’s ability to thrive. Right?

And so, why are we Democrats instead of Republicans? Do we believe that such vacuous statements such as all Republicans are racist or isolationist? And, on the opposite hand, why do many believe the Democrats are the protectors of the marginalized of society? Both parties can make equal claims to being the party of the people.

Ultimately, I can only speculate on the answers to these questions, but they are questions that must be asked. I hope you will consider some of these questions as you prepare to go into the voting booth this coming Tuesday.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *