When I first registered to vote over 20 years ago, I registered as a Democrat. I guess it was primarily because I thought since most people in my inner circle were of the same affiliation, that it was the right thing to do. I had no clue what the differences were between Republican and Democrat (as I suspect as is the case with most Americans today), except that Republicans gave me the impression they were a bunch of stodgy old guys representing the same party as Richard Nixon, who we all know was corrupt. Then Came Jimmy Carter, who single handedly botched the Iran Hostage Crisis and played into their impressions of us as being weak by neglecting to be more forceful than the pacifist in him ever would allow. This along with long lines at the pumps for gasoline rationing and a national 55 mph speed limit began the thoughts of party change in my mind. It was immediately after Ronald Reagan's inauguration and the subsequent release of our hostages from Iran that I immediately switched to Republican. Say what you want about those stodgy old guys, they are strong on defense and Reagan proved it. What Jimmy Carter couldn't do in all the months our hostages were held captive, Ronald Reagan achieved in 30 seconds after becoming our President. I'd have given anything to be a fly on the wall during that conversation with Ayatollah.
When George Bush ended the Gulf War (which I strongly supported) right before nabbing Saddam Insane, I switched again to Democrat. I don't get along with whimps and I believe Bush to be one after that mistake. Watching Saddam use this as a propaganda tool made me cringe and dislike George Bush and the Republican party.
Bill Clinton did well for me and I even voted for Al Gore in 2000. I was beyond pissed off when George W. stole the election, but God is my witness, I said to a close friend, "There's a bigger reason why this happened. I just know it."
On September 11, 2001, unfortuneately I was proved correct. It was a good thing a Republican was seated in the Oval Office because he took the right action which disproved any thoughts of weakness by terrorists and bin Laden himself. I'm sure it shocked them by our response. Say what you want about George W. Bush, but he was a helluva lot better than Al Gore ever would have been during all this(we'd still be begging for permission at the UN) or, dare I say it, Jimmy Carter. Did I think Bush could've handled Tora Bora better? Of course. Did I think The War in Iraq was necessary? Definitely. I still believe weapons of mass destruction were delivered to Syria under cover. This was reported by Israel, not by our own intelligence.
Now living in New York (again) and faced with the prospect of registering to vote here, I chose instead to become an Independent. I have found myself to be a social liberal and a fiscal conservative with strong national defense opinions. Since that represents a little of both, I went smack dab in the middle as an Independent. But something happened when I did. Suddenly I found myself stepping away from the tendency to defend positions on either the left or the right and to look at everything from an open minded frame of reference, you know, like the judges in our legal ought to do? Now, instead of defending Democrats when I was a registered Democrat or Republicans when I was a registered Republican, I have a free, unbiased perspective. Honestly, I still don't know who I will vote for in November.
Unfortunately, it's easier to see more clearly when news networks like MSNBC devote so much more time to Barack Obama's campaign clearly in an attempt to to assist the candidate in getting elected more so than John McCain's, who they obviously dislike. Every show's main topic is always Barack Obama with John McCain as a strained aside. But here's a news flash for those newsies everywhere (not just MSNBC but all of them), instead of gulping down what you're subliminally force feeding me, I want to go in the opposite direction. The best way I can describe this comes from an interview with Desi Arnaz on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson when both were alive. He was telling of how he came to choose William Frawley as Fred on "I Love Lucy". He said that the more that CBS executives resisted that possible choice, the more he liked him. Bingo. If MSNBC and all the major networks would just stay middle of the road presenting the facts (and scheduling their guest appearances) that way, I'd be less likely to dislike one candidate over another, not because of something the candidates themselves may have said, but because I don't appreciate being force fed. For proof of this, watch "Countdown with Keith Olberman" for a week on MSNBC. He's a classic example of what I'm saying here. Now, don't get me wrong. I would love to work for MSNBC. I even sent Steve Capus, NBC News President an e-mail about my own show "Ronn & Summer" (www.ronmaestri.com) as a possible late night show for the network and I think Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Pat Buchanan, David Gregory and Joe Scarborough are the exceptions. Some of the harshest criticism I've ever heard about John McCain's campaign has come from Joe Scarborough (Republican) on "Morning Joe", but I appreciate his candor and his honesty. He clearly has no hidden agenda, which is more than I can say for most other anchors on MSNBC.
What about Fox News Channel? Yes, they seem to be more fair and balanced as they claim, but with the Jesse Jackson recent snafu off air and on mike, Fox was quick to release this to anyone who wanted it. Even though they refused to release his "N-word" comment, they still were quick to release the details. I wonder if Fox would have been so quick to release a damaging snafu by John McCain if the tables were turned. Honestly, I seriously doubt they would have.
In closing, I offer some friendly advice to all news channels and national press. You're journalists. You're professionals with college degrees. What would your professors say about you right now based on your choices. Would they approve or disapprove?
Let people like me and millions of other Americans make their own informed choices, and keep things balanced and in perspective, please.