Opinion: Mark of the beast?

Chris Hampson

Chris Hampson

By Zachary Schuster

If you are reading this Wednesday morning, thank goodness the election didn’t bring about Armageddon. Perhaps it was just a dream when I saw Bush, Cheney, Edwards and Kerry riding across the sky mounted on horses.

Of course, I’m being facetious, but this campaign had a number of developments that really concerned me about the future of the United States. Although some on the far left and far right thought the election of Bush or Kerry would bring about the end of days, the reality is that the United States is still here. Iraq is a mess, Osama bin Laden is now taunting the president and health care costs are out of control. These things are bad, but not quite an apocalypse.

Of course, it’s not really that big of a surprise that some people thought the world was going to end. Just listen to the rhetoric from both sides. Take, for example, Dick Cheney, who said, “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again.” I don’t think Uncle Dick was talking about a choice such as great taste or less filling. If I were a Republican, John Kerry would definitely scare the bejeezers out of me.

Not to be outdone, people on the left have been musing about where they’re going to go if a second Bush term yields a draft. Australia, New Zealand and Canada are the most popular destinations I have heard so far. I will do my best to heed the President’s advice to not forget about Poland when I attempt to dodge his draft. Mmm, kielbasa.

This inflammatory rhetoric, coupled with the Bush administration’s polarizing nature, caused passions to boil in this election. Although any person should be questioned for being passionate about the candidacy of either of these schlubs, democracy only can benefit from people who get out to register voters and attend rallies.

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As my buddy observed, however, the passion of some Republicans and Democrats appears to have driven them to the brink of violence in defense of their candidates. In Florida, a Marine recruit threatened to stab his girlfriend when he found out she was planning to vote for Kerry. Perhaps “don’t ask, don’t tell” wasn’t that bad of a policy after all.

After observing this election, the future of this nation worries me. Elections were held yesterday, and it is now time to move on. Four years of Bush bashing, Joementum and crude sexual jokes about Bush and Dick have created a volatile political climate in the United States – a climate that has had a deleterious effect on the national discourse. The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) walking into the Senate chamber and beating Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Ma.) unconscious with a cane.

I long for the days when the office of the presidency brought the nation together and was respected. This isn’t to say that the opposition party shouldn’t hold the new president’s feet to the fire. However, a little respect going both ways would be beneficial for the nation. Despite all our complaining about how bad Kerry and Bush are, deep down, we all do respect the office of the president.

How do I know? The movie Independence Day. The audience is inspired by the president’s leadership and resolve in fighting the aliens, because that is what we expect from our president. The funny thing is, the president’s political affiliation never is revealed, so all Americans can root for him. (One clue though … he fought in Vietnam, so chances are pretty good he is not a Republican.)

Whichever political party wins the election, let’s not be so nasty to one another during the next four years, eh? Our new president will respect U.S. citizens, and we will respect him. Criticism of policy is good. Protesting is good. Armageddon – that’s not good.

Zachary Schuster is a senior in engineering. His forum will return Monday. He can be reached at [email protected].