12/28/06 — A prelude: In politics, 2007 will be all about 2008

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A prelude: In politics, 2007 will be all about 2008

It is almost 2007 and that could only mean one thing — the presidential prognosticating has begun.

With 2008 only a year away, the corners are already heating up with discussions of who is the frontrunner and who doesn’t stand a chance. And the lists of possible candidates are expanding, too. From week to week, new faces appear and disappear off the presidential landscape as political pundits try to outpredict each other and analyze the chances of each possible combination and matchup.

What they don’t want you to know is that they really have no idea whom each party will choose — or who really can capture the interest, imagination and the votes of the American electorate.

They will be waiting, watching and listening, just like you.

And we don’t pretend to know either — and really don’t want to, not yet.

Over the next year there will be insults hurled and promises made — all in the name of proving that one party will be better than the other in leading this nation.

And in some cases, there will be important differences to consider — lines in the sand that will push voters to one side or the other.

But what is most important as we begin yet another journey toward picking a new leader is that we are charged with taking care of the future of a nation — not just in honor of those who have come before us, but the generations who will come after as well.

Therefore, we must vow not to fall for the charm, the spin or the meaningless blather that has become the trademark of politics at all levels. We must not vote straight tickets and we must judge each candidate on his or her record, not just his or her rhetoric — or the meaningless endorsement of some hyped-up celebrity with money to burn and air to waste.

We have an important choice to make and a whole year of listening to do. And we have to trust ourselves to do what needs to be done.

We might not know now as a nation whose box we will tap in November 2008, but we know that this will be one of the most important decisions a citizen can make — at least some of us will remember and accept that responsibility.

And because we do, it will be especially important that we take the lead and not only do the work, but head to the polls when that day comes.

It will be an interesting year full or predictions and failures, disappointments and spin doctors.

But in the end, like always, we will have a leader who will take us into a new direction and into the next chapter in this nation’s history.

This year is the warmup. Keep your eyes open as the sideshows begin.

It just might be a bumpy ride.

Published in Editorials on December 28, 2006 11:20 AM