Don't expect the Bush-Kerry silliness to stop anytime soon.
Many backers of the two major presidential candidates are more intent on deriding their respective opponents' 30-year-old military records than outlining solutions to the nation's problems.
It's clear from the behavior of the political zealots that mean-spiritedness and attempts at character assassination will again be standard campaign tools in the 2004 election. Even when the political discourse isn't necessarily mean, it's overwrought, agitated and often misguided.
ITEM 1: A group is calling for the recall of St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly because he has endorsed President George W. Bush.
ITEM 2: A Brainerd Dispatch Open Forum writer in today's paper points to the president's marriage to the same woman for his entire married life as evidence of good judgment and commitment to vows. Sen. John Kerry and his first wife were divorced.
Randy Kelly's endorsement of Bush may have been surprising and disappointing to Democrats, but what possible effect could it have on his ability to effectively govern St. Paul?
Similarly, does anyone still think a divorce should make one politician less worthy for office than another politician who's remained married to the same person?
Partisanship in a presidential campaign is admirable. Express your opinions. Explain why your party's philosophies and your candidates policies would best serve the nation. But don't demonize the opposing presidential candidate. Both Bush and Kerry have served their states and the nation as elected officials. They've followed their respective consciences and performed their jobs to the best of their ability. Contrary to what you might hear from the overzealous supporters, it won't be the end of the world, no matter which candidate is elected.
Certainly the presidency is an important office, but presidents are often constrained and controlled by events over which they have no control. In certain situations it might not make much difference whether the person in the Oval Office is a Democrat or Republican.
Fair-minded citizens will remember that on the morning of Nov. 3 either President Bush or Sen. Kerry will be designated as the person to lead our nation in a perilous time for the next four years. That winner will lead all Americans not just the members of his political party. We don't have to automatically agree with the winner of the 2004 presidential election but we should all be prepared to offer him our prayers and support.
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