Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Might as well flip a coin

To the editor:

Undecided voters? Are you kidding me? How can there be so many this late? Haven't they been paying attention? Upon reflection, these people exist only because on the one hand, they are dissatisfied with the last four years, but on the other haven't seen enough specifics yet from either side to expect any better from the challenger. They probably voted for the incumbent last time and are not willing to abandon him and his ideals so readily. They want details to help them decide. And that's the problem with the political process that has evolved in our country.

What's the source of that problem? The free press. I'm sorry. Yes, it's a wonderful thing in a democracy that we have it, I agree. It holds government accountable. And I am grateful for the investigative and fact-checking aspects of its operation. 60 minutes has put many a bad guy in hot water or behind bars. The problem arises because candidates and their campaign managers are scared to death of touting their new ideas in any great detail too early in the campaign. They're afraid of being ripped apart by the media and twisted and ridiculed by their opponents in negative ads. But without specific, detailed proposals it's hard for us to judge how successful a given candidate might prove to be. Even when pressed repeatedly, they intentionally take the vague, broad-brush approach. Because even they know that once they get into office their strategies may have to change based on the political and economic climate, makeup of Congress, and many other factors. In a way, you can't blame them, can you? It's complicated.

So the undecideds are left with basing their decision, in large part, on the characteristics and charisma of the man (or woman) himself. Appearance, confidence, aggressiveness, perceived dedication to public service. Not what he would do for me as a group, but what he will try to do for the nation. Rebuilding our economy should trump any special interests this time. After all, it's largely the tolerance of those interests that got us into this mess.

So to me, it seems iconic and ironic, that each presidential debate is started off with the results of a coin toss. A random event symbolic of the level of indecision that may reside in the minds of these voters. Which one will do better? It's so hard to judge. Often with the information presented, it's easy just to say, "you may as well flip a coin."

Alan Ballou

Oak Harbor

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