Elephant and donkey throw down

Roosevelt versus Hoover. Kennedy versus Nixon. Bush versus Gore. Few presidential races in American history inspire the same kind of radically different images and ideals as the current election.

Sen. John McCain, a white 72-year-old former Navy pilot and war veteran visually and personally has very different characteristics to offer than 46-year-old black Harvard graduate and former community organizer, Sen. Barack Obama.

The perspectives each candidate brings begin with these exterior disparities; but certainly do not end on the surface.

‚ÄúIt will be as clear a choice as there has been in a generation,‚Äù stated Democratic consultant Doug Schoen in an interview with Reuters reporter John Whitesides. ‚ÄúYou’ve got two very different views of the world presented in stark relief.‚Äù

The variance in vision of these two perspective leaders is particularly evident in their stances on the popular issue of the Iraq War. One-time prisoner of war McCain has publicly and devotedly supported the invasion of Iraq and has stated his intent of maintaining the occupation until the war is won – likely as late as 2013.

Obama, conversely, remains as always in opposition to the war and promises to remove combative troops within 16 months of presidency.

Tax cuts, health care, and the wavering economy are represented in predictably opposite ideals and with very different plans for constructive change.

As the race for the White House nears November and the finish line, it is important to appreciate the privileges of living in a democratic society and the responsibility of having a voiced opinion that comes with it.

Last week, the Democrats gathered in Denver, Colo., to formally nominate Barack Obama as the party’s official candidate for November’s general elections.

The Convention’s roster of speakers included many influential political figures, like Al Gore, former United States Vice President and Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2000, and Hillary Clinton, Obama’s chief rival in the primaries.

As they addressed the Convention, both Gore and Clinton expressed their support for Obama; an important theme of the Convention was the reunification of the Democratic Party in response to the potentially divisive quality of the intensely debated primary.

Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party nomination on the Thursday of that week, in front of a crowd of nearly 80,000 people at Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High.

In his speech, Obama attacked what he believes to be John McCain’s inability to understand the travails of everyday Americans, saying that, “It’s not just because John McCain doesn’t care, it’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.” Amongst other issues, Obama also discussed his intentions to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil in ten years and provide every American with “affordable, accessible health care.”

Right on the heels of the DNC, the Republican National Convention took place this past week in St. Paul, Minn. The coming of Hurricane Gustav to the Gulf Coast region posed concerns for the RNC, as President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney prepared to put their speaker obligations on hold should disaster strike.

As the hurricane fell short of reaching catastrophic proportions, Bush spoke to the Convention via satellite Tuesday, Sept. 2. He voiced his support for McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee who, as of press time, was scheduled to formally accept his nomination when he addressed the RNC yesterday. “I know the hard choices that fall solely to a president,” said Bush. “John McCain’s life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this nation.”

Though McCain’s speech at the RNC will undoubtedly warrant massive media coverage, so has the recent announcement of the identity of his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.

The socially conservative Palin is the first woman to be included on a G.O.P. ticket, and she has been a nearly constant fixture in the news since last Friday, when John McCain revealed her as his choice for Republican vice presidential nominee. As of press time, Palin was scheduled to speak Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, in order to formally accept her nomination for the vice presidency.

Excerpts of her speech that had already been released at press time revealed it to include a defense of what many believe to be her lack of foreign policy experience, in addition to a few barbs against Senator Obama.

Palin’s arrival on the mainstream political scene has certainly temporarily taken some of the attention away from the other candidates, including Barack Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.

Obama announced via text message that he had selected Biden for the other half of the Democratic ticket on Saturday, Aug. 23. Biden formally accepted his nomination for the office of vice presidency on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at the DNC.

In his speech, Biden extolled Obama for the change he believes the presidential candidate will bring to the country if elected, while voicing his opinion that John McCain will merely serve to perpetuate the policies of George Bush.

Get more information on Election 2008 at http://www.presidentialelection.com/ and register to vote at http://www.rockthevote.com/.

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