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WhoYou Gonna Vote For?

Article and photos by Lawerence Nichols  The longest presidential campaign in history is nearly over. In a month, it will be up to us to elect the team best suited to deal with the crumbling economy, the Iraq war and health care.  Perhaps it’s time to take a break from the opinions of pundits and ask the voters. As they used to say in the twelfth century, “vox populi, vox dei” – the voice of the people is the voice of God.  The question we asked: Who are you voting for, and why?  Alex Pete was enjoying the day outside Shi Chai cafe with a hookah. He was undecided, though leaning towards the Democratic candidate. McCain’s surprise pick of Alaska governor Sarah Palin for vice president “threw him off.” He didn’t appreciate her stance on drilling in Alaska nor her pandering treatment of large oil companies. “McCain is the same,” Pete added, referring to the last eight years of the Bush administration.  Bill Wimmer, a director of the Point of Grace religious center near the UWM campus, was also undecided. Wimmer wasn’t sure where the candidates stood on certain issues, and wondered how much various programs would cost. He voiced frustration over candidates’ dreams that never come to fruition. He said he did appreciate Palin’s speech at the Republican National Convention and her willingness to go after Washington insiders.  Shannon Cowell, a 20-yearold anthropology student at UWM, said she will vote for Obama simply because “he is not McCain.”  Riverwest local and experimental filmmaker Frankie Latina sees things differently. While browsing titles in Riverwest Film & Video, he said that he will vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.  “I want to take down the twoparty system,” he said. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last eight years it’s that the two major parties are the same.”  Latina used the term “Republicrats” to describe the Washington establishment.  Kerensa Edinger, a Riverwest resident, was spending time with her parents who were visiting from Indiana. All three claimed that they will vote for Obama, and his work as a community organizer stood out as the most prominent reason.  “I like his positions too,” Kerensa said, “and I think that he has a really good temperament.”  Gibson, an employee at the Riverwest Coop, would agree with the Edingers. His response took international relations into consideration.  “Obama is the best repudiation of Bush we could give the world,” he said.  Elyse Cizek, who lives near the recentlyopened Reservoir Park on Meinecke, said that Obama came across as more honest than his Republican rival. The Palin VP pick Edingers bothered her, too.  Larry is undecided on which candidate to vote for, although he will most likely opt for the man less likely to perpetuate the occupation of Iraq. He has served three tours of duty there already, and has described only “devastation, destruction and death.” In his eyes, electing a president that lingers in the Middle East would be problematic for the country.  UWM student Majid Aldossari supports Barack Obama because he feels the Democrat can improve America’s dire economic and health situation. He also likes Obama’s immigration policy.  Sarah Nips, sitting in the fleeting sunlight with her laptop, was more taciturn. She proclaimed herself a liberal and denied a vote for John McCain by definition.  It’s not a scientific poll, but an inclination toward Obama seems to exist in Riverwest and the East Side. Time to make your choice and take your chances