For a couple of months now, I have been
looking forward to this Saturday. Feb. 7 will be my first time and
I have been waiting with bated breath for the day to come. I have
toyed with local elections before, but this is it: Finally I can
vote in a national election.

Mira Levitan

I have been thinking about this moment for quite some time now,
becoming somewhat obsessed with the candidates: I read about
Clark’s argyle sweater, saw Edwards on “The Daily Show
with Jon Stewart” and heard the remixes of Dean’s now
infamous yelp. But mostly, I have been discussing my vote for the
past few months. Unfortunately, after hours of discussion, I am no
closer to choosing for whom I will vote on Saturday. And for
someone who has scheduled her entire month around this date, this
indecision creates a great deal of turmoil.

Presently, it isn’t a matter of who I think is the best
candidate for the job. Instead, I am at the point of choosing
someone I don’t completely dislike. Startled that the caucus
crept up without me choosing a candidate, I made a sad attempt at
writing down my many random thoughts in some cohesive way.

Much like high school, Howard Dean was the hot new kid that
everyone just fell in love with. And then they realized he
wasn’t saying anything substantial and that he wasn’t
pleasant even to be around, much less run the country. While
initially people claimed Dean motivated them, the speed with which
supporters abandoned his camp indicates that he did not offer any
distinct options to begin with.

Even his charming good looks could not save John Edwards from
stumbling into questions about the Patriot Act. Though he searched,
he found no way to justify allowing such an extreme and corrosive
piece of legislation to pass through his committee.

Though Wesley Clark also used his charm to capture his audience
in one-on-one interviews and campaign videos mentioning OutKast, he
failed miserably when debating about his domestic policy, or lack
thereof. Clark was so badly beaten at the debate in Detroit that he
was too embarrassed to meet with reporters after the
clobbering.

While Kerry scored major points in Iowa and New Hampshire by
playing the electability game (and for those of us glued to C-SPAN,
some hockey too), he offers few concrete proposals. However, he
remains the strongest candidate simply because people are impressed
with both his Vietnam War experience and his opposition to the war
in Iraq.

These four have at least separated themselves from the three
candidates that offer entertainment value but little to the actual
ticket. Lieberman’s policies seem more in line with the
Republican Party’s than with the Democratic Party’s.
Also, that Gore supports Dean is a huge indicator of
Lieberman’s incapabilities. Sharpton entertained the audience
by maintaining his delusion that he would win. Unlike other
candidates, Kucinich actually proposed ideas to improve higher
education; however, the biggest concern — that of
electability — bars him from getting even my idealistic
support.

All this deliberation leaves me in the same situation I was in
few hours before — without a single candidate for whom I
would waste getting up on a cold, February, Saturday afternoon to
vote. The polls from the mini-Super Tuesday are even more
discouraging: A few remote states have determined the electability
of a handful of sorry candidates that later states like Michigan
now face.

While I may pretend to be frustrated enough not to vote, my
determination to not become yet another disheartened youth will get
me out of bed and up to the Michigan Union. When I get to the
caucus though, the awkward process of wading through the many
volunteers fighting to have bigger signs and more memorable slogans
will only make me more tentative. I hope that at least the process
itself will be exciting — I have, after all, been saving
myself for something memorable.

I am saddened, though, by how my first voting experience in a
national race will turn out: I will end up choosing someone who
doesn’t inspire me but instead manages to just not irritate
me. The person who least represents my interests but who has waded
off bad publicity will win, not because of innovative policy
proposals, but simply by default.

Chirumamilla can be reached at
“mailto:schiruma@umich.edu”>schiruma@umich.edu.

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