I have made my choice. I will go to the polls tomorrow and cast the first vote I will ever make for John Kerry.
I will be honest and say that I am voting more against Bush than for Kerry. But that is the way it is when there is an incumbent up for re-election. A new president is always a leap of faith as to whether they can get the job done or not. However, what is clear in my mind is that Bush is incapable of running the country up to standards that I expect from a president. And for that reason, I will be voting to replace him.
The War in Iraq is what Bush is to be primarily judged on. Regardless of how good it is that Saddam is out of power, this war has been, so far, an utter disaster. And yet, it didn't have to be. Bush allowed politics to get too far into the war. He didn't send the required number of troops because he wanted to run the war on the cheap. This was a noble goal, but was never really realistic. We are now paying the price in casualties, both on our side and the Iraqis'. Bush had an opportunity to secure the country right after the war, but did not take the necessary steps, attributable mostly to a lack of planning. If the post-war planning had been as extensive as the pre-war planning, this could have been avoided. The borders could have been secured. The Iraqi Army could have been used (and paid for their services) to stop the looting and rioting. A government of Iraqis could have been waiting to start taking control right away. But this didn't happen, and once again we are paying the price in blood. And the Abu Ghraib fiasco was only shooting ourselves in the foot. Yes I know that Saddam did worse. But "at least we're better than Saddam" is unacceptable when you are trying to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. And since it seems that this was not something limited to the troops, but condoned and even encouraged by the higher-ups in the Army, it is very serious. And so far, only the troops have been punished. They aren't the only ones responsible. And perhaps his worst failing of all: Bush turned what was perhaps the greatest amount of pro-American sentiment in the world into what is definately the greatest amount of anti-American sentiment. No matter what some here may think, that does not help the country. We cannot win the War on Terror alone, and alienating strong allies (Poland doesn't count) makes the task much harder.
With regard to Bush's social platforms, they are almost directly opposed to mine. I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who would use the Constitution to limit the ability of gays to marry. That makes the decision a lot easier, and in fact is the driving force behind the fact that I have almost always supported Democrats.
Bush talks about being accountable. So far, he hasn't shown it. He has refused to admit to mistakes that he made, and he has refused to hold members of the government accountable for mistakes that they made (Donald Rumsfeld and the Abu Ghraib scandal, for instance). It is only fair, then, that we as the American people hold him accountable, and vote him out. I do not worry about John Kerry being a bad president. He may not be the next coming of the Messiah (in my mind he's definately not), but he'll do a decent job at least. Bush has certainly not been a good leader, and thus he needs to be replaced. I may end up eating my words on this if Kerry turns out to be a disaster. If that is the case, the challenger in 2008, whatever party they belong to, will get my vote. But I've seen nothing in the past four years that makes me think that another four years of Bush would be good for the country. I choose to go with what think will be better (but do not know to be so) over what I know to be bad. VOTE KERRY!!!!
My two cents
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day