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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Election year: ‘Tis the season to be angry?

    As surely as there is sugary, perfected candy goodness on Halloween, a disco ball on New Year’s Eve and a crazy amount of massive heart-shaped objects on Valentine’s Day, there are definite symbols of a presidential election season.

    Every four years we break out the signs and bumper stickers to support a candidate or an idea that we think represents what America needs. Every four years the media covers the main election in the time span from July to November without fail and with few interruptions, and from sunrise to sunset newspapers, ads and magazines provide pristine pictures of clean-cut candidates in business suits and eyes looking toward the future.

    Besides the physical symbols of the national election that run unchecked throughout our country, there are unmistakable emotional symbols as well. Tensions run high, and as candidates crisscross around the U.S. they are followed by feelings and attitudes that will shape the next four years of American life.

    Gov. Palin has had a target on her back and been criticized or praised in every single newspaper in the country, including an abundance of articles in the Daily Wildcat. The New Yorker has painted the image of Sen. Barack “”the Muslim”” and Michelle “”the Black Panther”” Obama on its cover. Sen. McCain has been shadowed by his controversial comments, one of which being his attempt at making a song out of bombing Iran.

    It’s only natural that the feelings of the people affected will follow their respective party’s examples. The media has taken the political fury of two parties and placed it in the hands of the 217.8 million citizens of America within voting age. Although a large number will never turn out to the polls, the majority of the country has something to say about both candidates. On Monday, an elementary school boy from Aurora, Colo., was suspended from school for wearing a T-shirt saying, “”Obama: A terrorist’s best friend.”” Protestors in Ohio (part of Ohio Change To Win) walked into McCain headquarters in Warren, Ohio, and attempted to call McCain in order to ask if seven families with foreclosed homes could occupy some of his vacant properties.

    And somehow, when these feelings reach the height of passion on the first Tuesday of November and the culmination of the mudslinging and tension leads to a new president-elect, we are expected to drop our anger and frustration like a hot potato and become one unified and contented country.

    The idea that we are supposed to bury the hatchet automatically after months of chopping our fellow Americans’ political beliefs into little bits is ridiculous. The 2000 election between Bush and Gore is a perfect example of the fact that political wounds at the polls never heal. The entire issue of the Electoral College and the misreading of ballots, as well as the racial and social divide between districts, took the question all the way to the Supreme Court. When it declared the recount in Florida unconstitutional, there were protests across the country as everyday citizens became activists, all for the sake of not having to relinquish their anger at the system and the “”victor.””

    There has never been a magical time when electoral races between rival parties in the United States were handled with grace and elegance; going all the way back to the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams played the political game and bashed the hell out of each other. There was never an honest-to-God fair fight, and given the nature of American politics, I doubt there ever will be.

    However, it is important to remember that no matter how easy it is to become overly involved in the presidential race, these feelings tend to destroy more readily than they bring people together. At the end of the political brouhaha, there will still be an America and we will still all be Americans. I obviously don’t think you should get riled up for months just to be told to hastily let it go, but if you can keep in perspective that no matter how divisive an election is we all have the same goal of a functioning United States, then maybe it’ll take the edge off of the season’s end.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Obama girl and a staunch McCain supporter should have a slot on Jerry Springer. I’m sure that Oprah or Dr. Phil would make room for warring families on each side of the political divide to have a heart-to-heart. If this country is truly as influenced by the media as we believe, then perhaps our country can be healed before Jan. 20, one talk show host at a time.


    – Jessica Fraser is a freshman majoring in political science and journalism. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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