Thursday, March 06, 2008

Decision 2008

Promise Of Change Causing Mixed Emotions For Some Voters
By Sara Bauknecht

The battle for the White House has captivated the public due to the unprecedented diversity of its frontrunners. But just as the candidates’ diverse faces have etched themselves in Americans’ minds, the word “change” has also attracted attention.

With a costly war lingering in the Middle East and an economy dangling on the threshold of a recession, the possibility of change under the next president rouses a mixture of anxiety and hope for many Americans. As the primary season continues, the fear that the next president may not be able to deliver change as promised looms over many voters like a storm cloud.

“For the last 40 years, I feel everyone has preached change,” said Steve Valloric, 70. “Since there are certain rules presidents have to follow, and there is Congress they have to deal with, change doesn’t really seem to ever happen,” he said. Valloric, a retired Columbia gasoline employee from Ohio, has not voted in 40 years because he feels his voice is not heard. He also doesn’t think there has been a candidate in recent years that could improve America. “Candidates promise you the world, and they don’t give you anything,” Valloric said.

Photo by Patty Valloric
Steve Valloric says he hasn’t
voted in 40 years.

Dread Archie, a 37 year-old door attendant from New York, shares Valloric’s view that change may not likely occur after next November. “I am concerned that there may not be a change. I am concerned that things may just get worse,” Archie said.

Archie chose not to vote in New York’s presidential primary on February 5. Like Valloric, he does not feel that his voice is acknowledged when he casts his ballot. “I have a voice, but I don’t really think it is going to be heard. At the end of the day, I feel that politics is all just a game,” he said.

While some voters like Valloric and Archie doubt that change will unfurl, many first time voters are heading to the polls in spite of their uncertainties concerning change. “Every election focuses on bringing about change, but at the end of the day you are always going to have conspiracies and individuals influencing people to act in certain ways,” said Jacquelline Leva, a 19 year-old Marymount Manhattan College student from New York.

Photo by P. J. Leva
Jacquelline Leva is a first-
time voter.

Although Leva feels that change may not materialize exactly as presidential candidates have promised, she still decided to make her voice heard by voting for John McCain in New York’s primary. “I think I have a voice. I am part of the United States. Even though I have only one vote, it may be that one vote that a candidate needs to win the election,” Leva said.

Like Leva, Brooke McVey, a 19 year-old Ohio University Eastern student and Hillary Clinton supporter, agrees that it is important that people, especially younger voters, get involved in the political process. “People in my age group need to speak up and do something or our future will be in danger,” McVey said.

Photo byPhyllis McVey
Brooke McVey believes young voters
should get involved in politics.

And, McVey may be correct. According to the Youth Vote Coalition, 18-30 year-olds constitute 24% of all eligible voters. Since approximately one quarter of the nation’s voting power rests in the hands of young adults, the chance to experience change may be determined by whether these individuals decide to vote.

With the general election still nine months away, the role of change in the next president’s agenda will likely remain unclear until November, and beyond.

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