The latest round of political conventions have me worried about the future of our country. I watched portions of both the DNC and the RNC. I just can't understand the level of excitement and enthusiasm that the delegates to the conventions have for their candidates. I can't help but think of fanatical cults, such as those led by David Koresh in Waco, TX, or The People's Temple that led to the Jonestown massacre. The folks at the convention hang on every word of the speaker, and erupt into chants and cheers at the end of each sentence. It is really frightening how much the conventions resemble the rallys of fanatical religious cults. Should I feel this way about a candidate? Am I missing something that these folks have figured out?

I know that the conventions are just a show, and I figure that the delegates are showing this level of zeal in the hopes that folks will think "Gee, if they love him that much, maybe I should too." Unfortunately, that is the same tactic that works in the cults that have led to mass suicides. Is The United States headed towards mass suicide? I certainly hope not. That is the impression I get as I watch the conventions though. Neither candidate truly told me anything that would convince me that they would be exceptionally fit to steer the world's number one super power for the next four years. In fact, I was convinced more to NOT vote for a candidate based on what I heard. From Bush's speach, his comments that he would never allow for the consideration of Gay Rights really turned me off. It really disappoints me that our government would continue to propogate methods of discriminating against any person. I thought we learned that lesson in the last millenium. Not that Kerry had anything better to say. He bragged on a questionable war record, and bashed his opponent. Is it any wonder that fewer americans turn out to vote each year?

Both candidates have bragged on questionable material (Bush: Employment, Kerry: War Record). Neither has convinced me that they deserve my vote. So who do I vote for? Do I throw away my vote like I did four years ago and hand-write Nader on my ticket? No, I refuse to that again. Do I skip election day altogether? No, I have a patriotic duty to exercise my right to vote. So what do I do when I don't feel either candidate is best for the job?

Right now, I'm leaning towards Kerry. I've seen what Bush will do with a presidency, and I don't want four more years of our nation picking fights. During his term, Bush formed an "Axis of Evil" list that really jeopardized the US. He managed to piss off not just middle easterners, but North Korea and Cuba too. I agree that the move to attack in Afghanistan was the right move, but I disagree with our preemptive strike on Iraq. You're free to disagree with me. That's the great thing about living in a free country: we don't always have to agree.

This November, fewer than half the nation will participate in the vote. Of those folks, roughly half will be satisfied with the outcome of the election. What happens when only a quarter of your population is happy with the man elected to represent the entire nation? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. As for me, I'll just cross my fingers that we're not all getting fit for our purple jammies and black Nikes just yet.


Jade Mason