Columns, Opinion

RILEY: Game over

President Barack Obama.’ I like the sound of that.’ Election night wasn’t a nail-biter this time, and thank goodness we did not have the voting controversies that we have had the past two elections.’ I was never quite convinced Obama could pull it off, but I think we can all feel a little bit prouder of America today. John McCain was a gracious loser, and I hope he goes back to being the awesome Senator that he used to be.’ ‘

But anyways, this is all old news to you.’ I say, let the 2012 campaign begin!’ Sure, the 2008 campaign has only just been settled a few hours ago, but I am so over it.’ Where can I get a Palin in 2012 T-shirt?’ Will she pick Joe the Plumber as her running mate?’ Will Hillary have her PUMA’s (Party Unity My Ass) ready to pounce in 2012, or will she wait until 2016?’ ‘

Of course, I’m getting a little ahead of myself.’ But what else are the hundreds of new political bloggers and commentators out there going to talk about?’ We could turn our attention to the new president elect’s agenda, but that’s nowhere near as exciting as an actual race.’ Politics has become somewhat of a national pastime for many, and it can be a lot of fun to follow.’ Just like with baseball or football, there are several websites that let political junkies bet on the outcome of an election or predict whom the vice presidential nominees might be. But while it may seem like the end of the world when the Red Sox get eliminated from the playoffs, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.’ ‘

But presidential elections do matter, and this year the stakes have never been higher.’ For some college students, including myself, it can be difficult at times to see how a president can directly affect our lives. But if we haven’t already noticed the influence that George W. Bush has had over the past eight years, then we will soon enough with the next president. Will you sign or veto a bill from Congress that might save or destroy our economy? Will you appoint judges who will protect our civil rights, or take them away? Will you send soldiers to fight in a war that was started hastily, or will you engage in smart diplomacy to prevent unnecessary fighting?’ Only the next president can answer these questions.’ ‘

Even if you despise Hillary Clinton, she made a very important point way back in January of this year, before her famous comeback in the New Hampshire primary.’ She said, ‘Some people think elections are a game, they think it’s like who’s up or who’s down. It’s about our country.’ Ironically, there’s a good chance that she just said this for the sole purpose of getting her poll numbers ‘up’, but the meaning still rings true.’ The media has a very weird obsession with polls, and loves to make a big deal of things when there is a minor shift in public opinion.’ In reality there’s only one poll that matters, and hopefully you just participated in it.’ ‘

With the nonstop coverage of this campaign that has lasted almost two years now, I feel that the American public has been desensitized to the importance of November 4th.’ ‘ And so much of the coverage by the media in this election has been about the details that don’t matter such as flag pins and pricey wardrobes.’ It just goes to show that the voter is being underestimated by the mainstream media, and often times by the campaigns as well.’ Perhaps they don’t think that they can hold our attention spans if they focus on the actual issues at stake.’ Think about it.’ When you went into that voting booth yesterday or filled out that absentee ballot, what were you basing your decision off of?’ Were you only concerned with the latest Joe Biden or Sarah Palin gaffe that was taken out of context? I happen to think you were all a little smarter than that.

Now that the campaign is over, those who keep an eye on politics can relax a bit without having to worry about keeping up with every slip of the tongue by candidates or their surrogates.’ Enjoy it while you can, because it won’t last long.’ Soon enough the process will begin again and there will be new politicians to make fun of.’ I hope that next time, however, both sides will realize that elections are about the issues, and will stop the personal attacks that the majority of voters do not appreciate. Now that’s change we can believe in.

Neal Riley, a freshman in the College of Communication, is a weekly columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at

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