Cheap Imitations

For the last hour or so, I’ve been watching the second of two debates between Vice
President Bush and Governor Dukakis on CSPAN. I was in sixth grade at the time of
original broadcast. I idolized the character of Alex P. Keaton in “Family Ties”
and parroted his conservative statements and supported the candidates he liked,
much to the chagrin of my liberal Democrat parents. In my social studies class,
I debated, as if I were Bush, against a classmate playing Dukakis. I don’t recall
the substance of the debate, but I know that, in the eyes of my classmates, I cremated

A lot has happened since them. I’ve grown up and changed. I eventually shed my conservative
skin and accepted what my parents said as political gospel. I was a bleeding heart
liberal through most of college. I gradually learned that idealism and naivete
are a bad combination. I slowly drifted toward the middle, where I am today. I’m
still and idealist, but some of my ideals have changed. My political acumen is still
dwarfed by my knack for science, but I believe I have lost much of my former naivete,
and I think I see things more clearly than I used to and many of my peers currently

I watched that Bush-Dukakis with great interest. I was surprised to note the similarity
of the questions asked. I was further surprised by how similar the answers were
to those heard from Kerry and Bush. There was a very distinct difference, however.
Both candidates were more thoughtful, intelligent, and responded to more questions
without evasion, than today’s candidates. Bush, Jr. and Kerry rarely strayed from
their campaign slogans and ready-made rebuttals. Neither has debated with either
the prowess or the substance of Bush, Sr or Dukakis.

When I stepped away from the TV to write this entry, I had one very clear idea in
my head. Both of the candidates in 1988 were head and shoulders above the candidates
of 2004.
2004’s candidates are cheap imitations of 1988’s. Given the chance,
I would vote for either Bush, Sr. or Dukakis before wasting my vote on either of
the vapid, inept, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, grandstanding egomaniacs running