I'm still a young voter, but I've been aware of many presidential campaigns in my lifetime - Bush Sr. vs. Clinton, Clinton vs. Dole, Gore vs. Bush, Bush vs. Kerry, and now Obama vs. McCain. I did vote in the Bush vs. Kerry election, but I feel that my vote was, by most measures, insincere. I've also heard many say that I should not vote for either candidate if I don't like either one of them - i.e. not vote - or to vote for a third party candidate. Problem is, I don't like any of the third party candidates either and I don't want to avoid what should be my responsibility to vote.
I am by definition an undecided voter. However, I can already see my tendencies forming after having watched both presidential debates and the vice-presidential debate. To be honest, McCain's campaign scares me. I think he's an idiot who will probably make similar mistakes to Bush Jr. Obviously, this is a generalization and is probably not completely accurate, but I base it on what he's said and the way that he's said it. He's saturated with political slime. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't believe what he's saying. I'd be more worried, though, if he did believe what he was saying. As far as I can tell, Sarah Palin is puppet miming McCain's drivel. What bothers me most is that his campaign, as a whole, doesn't really say anything at all about what they're going to do in office. Also, the whole "maverick" business is complete bull. I don't care who he's voted with or whether or not he's in line with Bush Jr., he's not the maverick that he claims to be - at least not by definition. The man is consummate politician.
That said, I'm not particularly ready to vote for Obama, either. I appreciate the fact that he's clearly intelligent and maintains a calm demeanor about himself. I think his plans for health-care, the economy, and military strategy are certainly more sound than McCain's. I like that he intends to improve the global image of America with her allies and that he seems to be focused on the economic success of the middle class. However, I think he's still pretty steeped in politics. There's no doubt he's good at what he does. There's a polish that has a hint of grease in it. There is definitely something he'd not showing. Aside from that, there are things about his plans that won't get done in practice - I don't know what - and there are things that he will do that he hasn't yet talked about - again, I don't know what. There are going to be problems that appear strictly as a result of his change of policies. However, there's no way of knowing what those problems will be.
No one really knew - many will say they did, but they're mostly trying to spin the topic - what would happen when Bush Jr. hit office, even for the second time. The element that makes these and other elections so difficult to decide on is simply the future. No one, save God himself, can say for certain what will happen in a month, much less a year to four years from now. As human beings, we are temporally blind when it comes to the future and maybe even the past. Until we invent a means of time travel or observation, there is no way to know what will happen. That means that we have no idea what kinds of things will change the policies of the next president. We have no idea if either are really lying through their teeth and will do nothing of what they say they will.
In the meantime, we've got to decide on two candidates. Part of the problem is that I want a candidate who will embody my ideals and my hopes for the future of America. There is no one person - at least not one who will run for president - who will ever be able to do that. In order to make a decision, I may need to lower my standards a bit. No so much to say, "Oh, this one is less of a sleazeball than the other, so I'll vote for him," but rather to say, "this one has a stronger chance of putting forth the initiative needed to accomplish my ideals in the future." In other words: Who is more likely to step in the right direction? They're both going to fail at meeting my ideals. Let's just see which one actually starts moving toward it. If I had no other information or evidence than what I know at this moment, the deck would be clearly stacked in favor of Obama. There's still a little bit longer to decide, though.