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CL's 2008 Voter's Guide


We all gotta dream, don't we?

For seven years, we've been living somebody's idea of a perfect world: terrorist attacks, multiple wars, killer hurricanes and economic calamity. Oh, what fun it's been.

Now, the rest of us get to fantasize a little. Imagine a world where the hero comes riding into the White House, carried by a magical force that heralds the arrival of an enlightened era. He brings along with him the hopes of millions, perhaps billions – for peace, for prosperity, even for a step toward redemption from our country's dark racial heritage.

Stop hallucinating!

If Barack Obama wins the presidency – as polls now say is likely – he'll have his hands full with grim reality. Al-Qaida's stronger than ever, and the Taliban's enjoying a comeback. North Korea has the bomb; Iran's working on one. We're bogged down in a war that's made our enemies stronger and our allies disgusted. This is looking like China's, Iran's or even Dubai's century – anybody's but ours.

American influence hasn't been so low since the days of Chester Arthur.

There are plenty of reasons – our trade deficit, national security, climate change, rising prices – to believe our reliance on fossil fuels is leading to disaster. Yet every year we become more dependent on oil and coal.

Then there's the economy. As of this writing, stocks have taken a bigger dive than at any time since the Great Depression. The deficit's so massive it would be hard for the government to use spending to juice the economy. Much of our debt is owned by China and Saudi Arabia, who'd been lending to us so that we'd buy more stuff from them. Except now that we're looking broke, they're starting to just buy up our country. It may take the better part of a decade to dig our way out of this credit crisis.

And no matter how much you like Barack Obama, he's still untested by the cavalcade of new crises bound to hit Washington just as he gallops his unicorn up Pennsylvania Avenue.

So get your head out of the clouds, people. Making things better will take long, hard work and attention to detail. Take the Nov. 4 election.

There are things you can do with your ballot to help place the American dream within reach again, or at least to change Georgia for the better. Frankly, voting for Obama, or for that matter, for John McCain, is the least of them.

Georgia's not going to decide the presidential election. If Obama scores an upset here, he'll surely have won enough electoral votes elsewhere for victory. If McCain wins Georgia, he'll still need to beat Obama in nearly a dozen battleground states where Obama's now favored.

But your votes on local races could really make a difference. So when you go to the polls, make sure you stay at the booth long enough to mark the entire ballot – not just the first screen.

The guy on the white unicorn would want you to.

– Ken Edelstein and Thomas Wheatley

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