Idealism always falls short

By Laura Peckler
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The senatorial debate on Friday, yet again, exemplified the liberal underdog fighting for his ideals against the Republican incumbent. Stu Starky epitomizes the term, "liberal candidate." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stands strong approaching his 8th term as the well-respected moderate.

Hell will freeze over before the underdog beats the incumbent, especially the liberal.

Liberals carry this stigma of only having anti-traditional, new, and loftier ideals. Unfortunately, the question of how much risk is involved always coincides with these ideals.

Voters frequently argue over this issue of electing someone into office that might make too many new changes. Changing the role of government in society, or its elements, isn't an easy task, and most don't want to admit that perhaps the "perfect" democracy needs a tune-up, a face-lift, or even a different design.

Witnessing problems like poverty or discrimination as a victim tends to bring out liberal, but necessary, opinions. Stu Starky is a teacher, and his opinions on education certainly are more liberal than John McCain's.

First hand experience clearly defines Stu Starky's political stance. He promotes a world where education is free K-14.

Other idealistic hopes of Starky's include desalination of ocean water, decriminalization of marijuana, and the right to choose whomever you'd like to marry.

Starky tends to have vague solutions for these problems though, and that is the reason he won't be elected.

He had very little to say about how to fix the AIDS epidemic, except for "it has to end." As for, say, desalination of ocean water, he barely addressed the expensive nature of the process by asking "Well, what's the cost for water?"

I think what he hopes to do is appeal to the emotional side of the public by proposing these peace-driven and everyone-equal solutions. He forgets that cost and mobility are important factors that could make or break a campaign promise. It's imperative that he mentions these in publicized situations like debates.

If he doesn't show the public that he understands the consequences that come with changing our world for the better, then no one will take him seriously.

He has to prove that compromises like spending extra tax dollars to desalinate ocean water or paying teachers what they deserve are worth it.

Clearly Starky's naiveté comes from his lack of experience. He has never held a public office.

Is this a problem? Yes, if he can't prove to the public that he knows what he's talking about. Right now, it's obvious that he's knowledgeable about the problems, but the question of whether or not he can succeed in making all of these changes still stands.

Point being, Starky is a risk.

There couldn't have been a better contrast to Starky than McCain: the collected and confident incumbent.

Everything from his automatic responses to the unceasing bored expression on his face, said "Hey, I'm here to be nice. I know that the public loves me. This is a breeze for me."

Although, through the debate, McCain proved that almost all of his solutions come from already established acts or propositions that are in the workings, like the No Child Left Behind Act.

McCain left out most of his personal opinion and relied on the ease of being an incumbent who already has a firm backing from the state and presidential candidates.

Poor Starky doesn't even stand a chance at defeating Arizona's media sweetheart. People simply don't want to take a chance with him, especially when it's very apparent that he has little clue what he's doing.

Even so, since McCain relied entirely on Republican staples, like No Child Left Behind or The War on Terror, I found myself enchanted by Starky's passionate views.

But that's not what wins you votes.

Our country was a risk in itself when individuals banded together to form a government purely based on the compromise of two parties' ideals.

Yet, people still vote based on comfort.

Comfort equals tradition and experience.

Instead of considering both sides of an issue equally, people are afraid of the extremists, and dead-set in their comfortable and fixed ways.

Here's a point to ponder for all who voted for Bush in 2000: He may seem like the good ol' boy whom you could bring home for dinner or watch football with, but he may possibly have made the worst mistake of the decade by taking us to Iraq.

Every politician is a risk, and just because they have more experience or familiar ideals doesn't mean they won't lead our country to failure.

Lauren Peckler is a sophomore majoring in English and sociology. She can be reached at