Perhaps the worst part of election season is seeing people who normally promote themselves as forward-thinking individuals admit to actually hating people who run on a platform of beliefs different from theirs. Maybe I'm a bit idealistic, but short of advocating genocide, I really can't see a belief that your possessing would make me hate you. I might think you're an idiot or naive, but that's an entirely different thing.
Am I voting for these guys? Maybe.
We've seen it from both sides in this election. In fact, for the extremes, this election is not about the candidates. The far right, not happy with the Republican candidate, are putting together a nasty assault against the Democratic candidate instead of promoting John McCain (I had originally written "nastier than usual" there, but it's almost always this nasty). The far left, looking past any merits Barack Obama might have, are operating a smug-sounding campaign against a decent candidate simply because he's from the same party as the failed incumbent.
Are these folks worthy of my vote? Possibly.
It's been so bad that I refuse to be associated with either side. The college student who rents our spare room put an "Obama" sticker up in her (street-facing) window last month. As someone who tries to keep a neutral front (thanks to my days as a print journalist), I was actually a bit offended, because I didn't want the neighbors making presumptions about us. I even bought a McCain sticker to put up as a counter, but it's still in its envelope because I don't want anyone in the household to make assumptions about me. (I would have gotten some third-party stickers as well, but Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader all charge more for their stickers than I'm willing to pay to make such a small point.)
I like Obama, his enthusiasm for social issues and his ability to encourage participation. I like McCain, his independent streak and his history of service. I hate Biden's dullness (and eyebrows) and loathe Palin's disavowal of natural selection. I will be neither unhappy nor perfectly satisfied if either side wins.
What's worse is that the electoral college system is so dated. There's almost no point in voting for a McCain/Palin ticket if you live in California or the Obama/Biden ticket if you live in Texas. It's ridiculous. Sorry Kansas and Wyoming, I know the electoral college is there so someone actually pays attention to your small-state issues, but it's not good democracy. With modern mass media (including the Internet), anyone can make their cause known no matter how Podunk their home town is. This de facto lack of choice is why I voted for a third-party candidate in each of the last two elections.
With all those issues, I really can't wait until it's Nov. 5 and the election is over and done with.
Actually, since I'll be in Australia -- over the International Date Line -- come election day (I'll send in my absentee ballot before I leave), I guess I actually can't wait until Nov. 6 ...