An Election to Remember
What were seeing right now is the endgame of one of the most extraordinary election campaigns in history.
We doubt that youve seen an election campaign with passions like this.
Voters across the country are so riled that when pollsters ask where they see their country heading, only four in 10 say in the right direction. Believe it or not, thats almost the exact percentage of people in Iraq who told pollsters they see their troubled nation on the wrong track.
Back in 1996, when the Gallup Organization asked Americans whether that election mattered more than most, 41 percent said yes, it does. In 2000, that number had climbed to 47 percent.
Guess what it was this month? Just over 70 percent responded that this election was particularly meaningful to them.
Feelings are running so high that some two-thirds of voters say that political discussions with friends and co-workers who see the world differently led to verbal attacks, according to an unscientific Web poll we ran across by a Utah-based company called Vital Smarts.
Half of those who responded to that survey said that political differences had even weakened friendships.
Besides passion, polarization is at a modern high. Sadly, so is fear.
Its fitting that Election Day falls so close to Halloween because so many voters are operating out of fright.
President George W. Bush has dished out little else in his ceaseless talk of the terrorist threat and his warning that John F. Kerry is too weak-kneed to stand up to bogeymen of any nature.
Kerry is anything but blameless, implying that Bush has a sinister plan to wreck Social Security. We cant find any such plan.
At Bay Weekly we dont endorse candidates, but we offer advice that you can accept or reject. Our main advice to you this time is dont get caught up in fear. Instead, look at issues yourselves.
Your fellow Americans talking to Gallup are right: There is more on the line this election than most people can remember, and its no time for our judgment to go cloudy.
In this issue we offer unfiltered comments from Senate and congressional candidates that we hope will help you decide who best and most effectively represents your values and deserves your vote.
The presidential election is another story, and our hope is that you resist the fear-mongering and sloganeering and think clearly about the vital issues affecting your family.
Think for yourself about what was supposed to be happening in Iraq and what youve seen in just the last few days. Listen to what Iraqi people are saying, not what presidential aspirants are saying about Iraq.
But dont spend all your time on war and these murky issues of character and consistency. We hope you think about what is happening with jobs, healthcare, education costs, the soundness of our economy, civil liberties and the environment.
Think not just about today but how life can change on each of these scores after this election and several years into the future.
By Tuesday, the Halloween monsters will have shrunk away. But the vote you cast this time will be one you may never forget.