American voters have the power of choice

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 22, 2000

The debates are over, but the campaigning is far from ending. With a little more than two weeks to go before the Nov. 7 presidential election, candidates are in full-force, taking their message from state-to-state in search of support — and votes.

And America’s voters are, for now, in the catbird seat.

With the Republican and Democratic candidates courting the often-touted &uot;undecided&uot; vote, we should all benefit from continued examination of issues and stands.

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The three debates — lackluster at best, after the first sigh-filled match — provided more information but may have done little to sway voters. According to national polls released Saturday, Republican George W. Bush held a small lead — ranging from 7 percentage points to 11 percentage points — and the election remains one of the closest in recent history.

With a real race for the White House, we should expect — even demand — a real debate on the issues.

With the debates, the national media coverage, local media, the Internet and the high-profile campaigning, voters should find easy access to information on candidates’ platforms and stands on the issues.

The danger, of course, is our laziness as Americans — the &uot;fat, dumb and happy&uot; theory often shared by political scientists who say interest in politics wanes during good economic times.

Thankfully, we are enjoying relative prosperity these days.

But we cannot lull ourselves into complacency. This presidential election is critically important, and the man elected president will influence our lives well beyond the next four years in office.

The challenge is for American voters to be informed, to be concerned, and to vote on Nov. 7.