Look beyond candidates’ political experience

Vincent Stigliani/Opinion Editor
In the current election season, debates are not only raging on policies like the Iraq War, health care and the economy. Another contentious issue that has budged its way into the forefront is the experience of the two frontrunners, and most notably that of Obama.

At first, John McCain has a clear advantage in this arena, having served four years representing Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives and another 21 in the Senate. Obama, on the other hand, has served only three years as an Illinois Senator on top of the seven years he served in the Illinois Senate.

Obama was born into a bi-racial family, and his parents did not have many financial resources. Although he was not a child of privilege, he was able to make it into Harvard Law School, the best law school in the country, and was elected president of the Law Review, the highest honor a law student could attain. This role was typically given to a more conservative scholar and had never been given to a black student, but Obama was able to reach out to his fellow students and successfully run the review.

After graduating, he could have done nearly anything he wanted but chose to go to inner-city Chicago where he worked as a community organizer. It was also around this time that he began his 12 years of teaching constitutional law at the prestigious
University of Chicago Law School.
It is not common to find a presidential candidate that has lived and worked with the underprivileged to the extent that Obama has, and I find this life experience extremely important when the job entails understanding and listening to the concerns of all Americans.

We must also ask ourselves what the importance of political experience actually is.
Take Abraham Lincolnm for example. Before he was elected president, his only experience was serving two years in the House of Representatives. Again, Dwight D. Eisenhower had tremendous military achievements, but he had no political experience before being elected to office.

To the contrary is our current president, George W. Bush. With a father heavily involved in politics and nearly five years as Governor of Texas, he had political experience. Despite this, his presidency could go down as one of the worst in history and a brief look at the news will most likely give you a glimpse into one of the many debacles he has put America in.

If this experience is still an issue to you, I urge you to look into the running mates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Palin is the vice presidential nominee of McCain, who is now 72 years-old. Palin, a self-described “hockey mom”, has served merely two terms as mayor of a town of around 5,000 people (which she put nearly $20 million in debt) and not even two years as mayor of Alaska.

Obama’s running mate , Biden, on the other hand, has served as a Delaware Senator for 35 years was even Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

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