What not to base your vote on

By Laura Keslar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 2, 2004

It's Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Finally. For the past nine months we have dreaded, rationalized, and otherwise prepared ourselves for the upcoming election.

And now it is time to cast our vote.

However, today, before we stand in the polling booth and make our final decisions concerning everything from the President to the local dog catcher, let us consider a few things - like how to vote rationally.

Back in the '90s, I remember people declaring that they had voted for Bill Clinton because he was young, suave, but, most of all, one hot sexy beast.

Promise me, please, don't repeat the mistake of Generation X.

Just because you have the hots for President George W. Bush or Sen. John Edwards doesn't make it a necessity to vote for them.

Even though I find Donald Rumsfeld to be absolutely yummy, you don't see me trying out for the Bush-Cheney cheerleading squad this election.

To all you fan girls: listen up. Sen. John Kerry's and John Edwards' love will not last forever.

And even if the thought of Kerry's arm wrapped around Edwards' shoulder is enough to send you into a faint (or running for the toilet, depending upon political persuasion), basing your decision for the presidency on that fact alone makes you a pretty lousy single issue voter.

If you are going to be a single-issue voter, at least make your issue something other than the candidates' imaginary relationship or gorgeous hair.

Now calm down, all you women who are madly in love with the Kerry/Edwards super-duo (not to be confused with Edwards' love of his super hairdo).

I am not just picking on you.

The men who have decided to vote for Bush because the images of his daughters wrestling and prancing around in a pool of Jell-O makes their heart skip a beat are just as bad as the women who fawned over Clinton's saxophone playing and Edwards' excessive preening.

Sex is one thing and politics another. Let's not get the two confused.

Some things you should never do. Flying your kite in stormy weather a la Benjamin Franklin is one of them.

Voting because a celebrity told you to is downright stupid.

If you think sudden death will fall upon you because you didn't vote, you still have time to register for that human physiology class.

Vote because you think the issue will affect you, not because Ashton Kutcher or Britney Spears stands behind one candidate or another.

Let's forget all about the highly publicized presidential election. What about locally?

Depending upon where you are from, you might have noticed a plethora of names under certain elected positions like county school board. Under such circumstances, temptation enters to merely choose the people with the big R, big D, or big L after their names, depending upon whether you want huge government, slow-growing big government, or anarchy.

At least this way works better than picking people because you liked the way their name sounds, as one friend of mine gladly proclaimed after she mailed in her absentee ballot.

Yes, you might believe the name has some sort of power over the candidate's ability to govern; but last time I checked, a name doesn't do anything besides, well, name you.

Even Shakespeare knew this when he said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Nevertheless, we aren't picking a baby's name here. We are picking who will represent us and our interests at a local and state level.

Or, worse yet, don't take a page from my mother's book and refuse to vote for women or people with more than one last name.

It's the new millennium - unless of course you are Pat Buchanan, who thinks it's still the 1950s.

When people head to the polling booths with more information about their professors in their upcoming classes than in the issues affecting this election, you know the American republic is in a sad state of affairs.

As you head off to the booths, I want to offer you one more piece of advice: Never let the person who declared that Islam is a country far, far away help you decide how to vote.

You would be better off closing your eyes and poking at the chads of your butterfly ballot with a blunt object.

Laura Keslar is a pre-pharmacy junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.