Candidates need to focus on the issues

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

The confetti is in the dustpan this morning. With the political conventions finished, the campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is fully under way.

In recent days, the candidates - and their factions - have sliced and diced their opponent's record. They've questioned every word, every phrase that is spoken

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Unfortunately, as the candidates try really hard to make sure they say just the right thing, the voters may not hear how the candidates really feel about the issues.

For example, earlier this week, the media and the Democrats went nuts when President Bush said the war on terror could not be won.

Instead of talking about the real issue: how we'll fight the war on terrorism, the nation spends lots of energy worrying over Bush's exact words. In a very literal sense, Bush was correct. The war on terror is a little like the war on crime. They'll both be around forever, but that doesn't mean we just give up.

In addition, both Bush and Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry are attacking one another on their military records. Why? Does either of their records mean anything 30 years later?

In fact, as the campaigns stoop to new lows in how to avoid intelligent discussions of the issues, voters need to look beyond the obvious headlines and find the character of each man.

It's difficult to do, but critical to selecting the candidate who will be represent your goals and ambitions.

Yes, the process by which we choose our leaders is flawed. Every four years, millions of Americans squabble and choose sides. They throw barbs and sling mud at one another.

But the beautiful part of the process comes at the end. On election day, Americans come together to voice their opinions on who should lead the country and they do so freely and without fear of harm or worry about bloodshed.

The system is flawed, but it the best system we have. And, thank God we have it.