With another election day quickly approaching, and seeing a daily barrage of advertising in the Virginia's governor's race (vote for Kaine!), the issue of voting principles resurfaced in my mind. Specificially, the concept of voting for someone versus voting against someone. There is a difference.
Last November, when Americans were given the choices of Kerry and Bush at the ballot box, I believe the majority of voters who voted for Bush were voting for Bush whereas the majority of those who voted for Kerry, were voting against Bush. Any election that includes a candidate who is running for reelection to the position basically boils down to whether people think the politician did a good job or a bad job in their post. However, a candidate's campaign fuel cannot solely be based on hatred of the opponent. When there is a huge scandal with the office holder leaving in disgrace, sure it could work. However, especially in a close election like we knew the 2004 presidential election would be, a different strategy should have been employed. If a piece of broccoli had been the Democratic nominee, I bet the percentage of the anti-Bush vote would have been pretty close to what it was for Kerry.
In order to be a good American, you must vote. You may hate the candidates. It may be picking the lesser of two evils. But you must vote.
Here comes the challenge. Since you are voting regardless, never vote against somebody. That's right. You read me. Only vote for somebody. Instead of picking the candidate who is "not as bad" as the other, vote for the good, however little, in the candidate you select.
You may think they are boring. They may not have the proper grasp on the issues that you think they ought to have. They may have gone to a rival college (unless that is a dealbreaker in your candidate selection). But find something that you genuinely like about the guy or gal. There may be 99 bad things about them. But find the one. And vote for them because of it. Everyone has at least one good thing about them, right?
The simple swich to voting affirmatively for a candidate makes the whole process more enjoyable--with citizens voting for good charactistics of their candidate instead of against the bad qualities of the other. And if everybody started voting for candidates instead of against them, maybe we wouldn't be bombarded with the typical candidate's campaign ad which, if the disclaimer of "this ad was sponsored by..." were removed, you would only see attacks upon the other candidate without any mention of the guy actually paying for it. A bit idealistic on humanity and campaigns? Maybe. But I think it's worth a shot.