As elections go, this one's a doozy. I have always loved the political process - campaigning, bantering back and forth, and the ebb and flow as the electioneering unfolds. As many have said before - it may not be a perfect process but it's the best process in the world. It will be interesting to see how history treats the elections of 2004. With but hours remaining before millions of Americans head to the polls, the outcome remains up for grabs. Who in their right mind would have imagined this just months ago?
There are so many different stories emerging in these final hours of the election process. The presidential contest is perhaps the most important in our lifetime. But Missouri is facing a hotly-contested gubernatorial race and county residents - more so than ever in our county's history - will have races in November, not just in the August Democratic primary. Folks, this is history in the making pure and simple.
A newspaper endorsement is also part of that political process. But let's be honest - endorsements from newspapers carry far less weight today than they once did. And there's a reason for that. Mass media has grown to bombard our lives with the process on a daily basis. And newspapers - this one included - tend to show their stripes along the campaign trail. If you don't recognize that this newspaper is conservative by nature and tends to lean heavily toward the Republican Party, you haven't been reading or paying attention. But despite those leanings, we take pride in giving equal opportunity for all views. And I remain convinced we've done exactly that this year.
Here's what we believe.
We know in our heart and soul that President George W. Bush is clearly the best choice to lead our nation in these dangerous times. His steadfast leadership is essential in the coming years in a world that is changing virtually daily. His stand on the important issues of the day most clearly reflects the majority of Americans. His opponent does not mirror the feelings of most Missourians or most Americans for that matter. John Kerry says he has a plan for everything. But those plans also provide some frightening prospects with limited hope for success.
And the issue that I have found ignored the most by the national media is the question of character. On that single issue alone, the race for president is the most clear-cut. As I've written in the past, if you remove those who are voting against the President, John Kerry wouldn't have enough support to fill a phone booth. And that, I don't believe, is the way to elect the most powerful leader of the free world.
I had originally intended to make an endorsement for governor of Missouri but I'm backing off that pledge. My support has not changed. The Wall Street Journal had an interesting analysis concerning their lack of endorsements. And I tend to follow that thinking. I fear that an endorsement in this race might actually have a negative impact because the passions are so intense. I don't want my opinion - coupled with our views on other races - to harm any candidate. And given the "anti" sentiment from both parties, I fear that is exactly what could transpire.
Local races this year are so refreshing. To actually have contested races in November in our county is an extremely positive sign for this region. Regardless of the outcome, a new day in our county's political history is about to unfold. And the entire county will benefit from this change.
It sounds simplistic but it's true. I sincerely hope everyone reading these words plans to vote Tuesday. I may not agree with the outcome. But I agree that the process is improved with wider participation. And that can occur only one way - Tuesday in the voting booth.