Small change could spur big change

Let me ask you something: How much would it be worth to you, personally, to be able to go back in time eight years and have Al Gore elected instead of George W. Bush?

Think carefully, now: The war in Iraq has already taken $1,700 from your pocket, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how much longer it’s going to last. If you’re in the lower or middle class, you and your parents are paying a greater portion of the nation’s taxes while income growth has been declining.

The administration’s reluctance to push the nation forward on renewable energy sources and efficient technologies means that we’ll be paying more for gas and every product transported with gas-operated trucks and ships. In all, you’re probably several thousand dollars poorer than you’d have been if Gore had been elected.

With that fact in mind, would it be worth $50 to be able to go back in time and prevent this travesty from happening? (Now you should nod and resoundingly say, “Yes!”)

Well, guess what: Today is your lucky day, because you’re now in a very similar situation. Let me explain: Barack Obama and John McCain are in a dead heat for the presidency. McCain is going to continue several of the policies Bush enacted that are hurting you right now – making the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, delaying a wind-down of the war in Iraq, trying to solve the country’s energy problems in a way everyone agrees isn’t going to work and just generally taking a shoot-from-the-hip kind of attitude.

The media in the United States has always liked to focus on how the winner will be decided by the results of a few key swing states, but that is a bit misleading. The reason is the actions of Americans outside those swing states will play a large part in determining who wins those states. The actions I’m talking about are the donation of money and the volunteering of time.

A record number of people have already come to this realization: Obama has received more than $194 million in small contributions alone (i.e. those less than $200). More than 2.5 million people have donated to his campaign. This is an incredible statistic, especially when you consider McCain has only raised $174 million in total, and only 32 percent of that amount was from small contributions.

But as the national polls show, Obama needs all the help he can get, and that’s where your support is needed most. You need to realize your action or inaction matters in a very real way. Thanks to the Electoral College system (and your residence in New Jersey), your decision to donate may as well be your vote. So go to right now – while you still can – and do your part to ensure that our next president is a sensible one.