Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't let lesser issues pass you by

This first published October 23, 2008 in the Henderson Home News, a Community Newspapers of Nevada publication.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was less than hysterical.

In fact, it was downright eerie — that is the striking resemblance of Palin and Tina Fey is eerie.

Her cameo did lend itself to blasting SNL’s ratings to their highest numbers in 14 years. But Alec Baldwin’s line about Palin being hotter in person was belittling.

In any case, Palin has yet to convince me she is vice presidential material and, more importantly, presidential material. I haven’t, however, completely made up my mind about which ticket to vote for.

Because I’m undecided, I repeat what I’ve stated since the inception of early voting in Nevada: I’m really leery of the idea because so much can happen in the last days of a campaign that could determine how people vote.

Why, if I had voted for McCain on Saturday and then on Monday a great American patriot like Colin Powell endorses Obama, I might feel regret. Actually, this race may have been more interesting had Colin Powell been running.

With that said, I must admit early voting can be convenient with busy schedules in a community that operates 24 hours a day. And in many cases it probably doesn’t matter whether people vote early or not.

I say this because many of the Democrats and Republicans I have discussed the election with would vote for their party’s candidate no matter what might possibly happen. It’s amusing how members of each party rattle off their party’s talking points or negative campaign rhetoric without regard to the facts or truth.

Democrats usually recite advertisement copy or news accounts, and Republicans recite the talking points of conservative spinners such as Limbaugh, Hanity and Levine. Being a talk radio junkie, I listen to these three spin doctors throughout the day, challenging the loosely weaved fabric they spin.

Politics is a tricky river to navigate because there is no perfect candidate who could possibly align with every issue you may consider important.

For instance, I know people who abhor abortion yet fervently defend the death penalty.

There is a businessman who complains about the debatable economic drain and increased cost of health care created by undocumented immigrants, then in the very same breath expresses how important they are to the survival of business in Las Vegas and this country.

Whatever your hot-button issue might be, try to remain cognisant of your lesser issues, because they could easily outweigh your hot button.

I’m not suggesting you vote for any particular candidate or back the platform of one party over the other. What I’m suggesting is that you think about the issues that are dear to you and vote your conscience.

If you have no special issues, then educate yourself on the issues, challenge the rhetoric and vote. There is no excuse for not voting, especially in Clark County where every opportunity is provided for you to do so.

Whenever I consider people not voting, I’m reminded of my father’s experiences as an observer of elections in places like Kurdistan in the early ’90s. This is a region on the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey where a people without a country called the Kurds live. In the case of the Kurds, many walked for three days to reach a polling place.

The photos he took are etched in my mind, especially the ones of the long lines, in some cases half a mile long.

It is disheartening to see voter turnouts in Clark County from past elections. I predict a higher than average turnout in this presidential election compared to other presidential elections.

If you do not vote in this election, you have little right to complain about the direction of this country’s future.

If 17 million people will stay up until midnight to watch SNL with Gov. Sarah Palin, just think of the millions who might get out to vote in this election.

That’s no joke!

Tim O’Callaghan, co-publisher of the Home News, can be reached at 990-2656 or His regular column is at One Man's View

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