2008 is a presidential election year, and I have been doing my part, keeping busy trying to educate myself on the issues. These range from the usual — death penalty and abortion - to the less common — waterboarding and the Kyoto protocol. 

As a writing instructor at the University of Oklahoma, I wouldn’t even let my students from: http://events.stanford.edu/events/43/4387/gibbs_death_penalty.jpgwrite papers on the first two issues. They had been done so many times that not only was I jaded, but there was no way that anyone could write anything fresh on the subject. In addition, both issues are such hot topics for everyone, and the arguments for and against are so wide, that it’s hard for many of us to make up our minds one way or the other. So, as I’ve worked through this year’s issues, those are the two that were the most difficult for me to rate. Am I for or against?  In truth, there are times when I’m for both and an equal number of times that I’m against.

Because this is an election year, and because I’d finally like to make an educated choice — basing my vote not on who I like better but on who agrees with me on the greatest number of the issues at hand — I’ve had to go with my gut and just decide.

There’s a great website for those of you who are interested in the same thing. The address is http://www.vajoe.com/candidate_calculator.html. There, you can see this year’s hot issues, read the reasoning behind being for or against each issue, and finally, vote how you feel about each one.  When you are finished, the site will match you up with the candidate who agrees with you most.

Imagine my surprise when I was matched up with Hillary Clinton!  At 65.8%, she came closer to anyone else to agreeing with me on the issues. 

Now, I have nothing against Hillary. As a matter of fact, I have great respect for her. She’s intelligent, committed and caring. She’s able to put up with a lot of crap while from: http://a.abcnews.com/images/Nightline/politics_brain_071015_ms.jpgbeing in the public eye, and she’s done so with dignity and humor.  But in all honesty, I never considered voting for her. As a middle of the roader, I expected to vote for someone who fit that category. Now, I have to rethink that strongly.

The question I’m asking myself now is why I balk at the thought of voting for her. Is it because she’s a woman?  No; I don’t base my vote on someone’s genetalia.  Is it the fact that she’s Bill Clinton’s wife? No; that might actually be a plus for me for reasons I don’t have room to go into right now. Is it because she’s a democrat?  Could be.  I don’t like ultra liberal polititians, and I’ve spent the past few years putting her on the fringes of that camp.

In truth, I don’t know why the idea bothers me so much other than to say it messes with my identity — the way I identify myself to myself…who I am.

All I know is that it bothers me enough that I’m going to have to think long and hard before I can cast my ballot.  Darn that website for opening my eyes to the fact that I agree with her almost 66% of the time!

Though it might do the same thing to you, I urge you to check out the website for yourself, if for no other reason than learning about the current issues that face our country today. If, like me, you find that your political leanings are not what you thought they were, I’m sorry for the angst that will cost you. But do it anyway.  I think you’ll be glad you did.