From Vice President to te Next President

I do not know about everyone else here, but I am voting this November, and I am voting for Vice President Al Gore. Other candidates may have better platforms in specific areas, but Gore is my pick overall for the next leader of the free world.

Sky Frostenson/
Guardian

He believes in protecting the environment, the nation’s children and the rights of all Americans. He also feels that we should use $2.3 trillion of the budget “”surplus”” to pay off the national debt and to save Social Security. Governor George W. Bush’s plan for the debt would only reduce it by $1 trillion.

The Social Security payoff makes a lot of sense because much of this seemingly extraneous money is in the Social Security fund, but the government keeps borrowing from it and racking up a largely-ignored debt to the fund. Gore wants to put Social Security in a “”lock box,”” a section of the budget where it cannot be touched or borrowed from while Bush still treats Social Security as free money. I, on the other hand, would like those young people today who are paying money into Social Security to see some kind of return from it instead of watching their money disappear down a government hole.

Beyond government transfer programs, Gore is a leader in environmental issues. He promises to support the development of cleaner energy and the protection of the oceans and ozone. He wants to declare the next decade as the “”Environmental Decade,”” one in which large advances are made in removing pollutants from the world around us. He has chosen the environment as one of his key issues and has supported environmentalist efforts throughout his political career, even writing the book “”Earth in the Balance.””

As a U.S. senator, Gore sponsored bills to research global warming and to diminish usage of ozone-harming chemicals. As president, he will continue these endeavors. He promised that oil drilling will be stopped off the California and Florida coasts.

However, under Bush’s voluntary environmental plans in Texas, over 200,000 children will potentially be exposed to industrial pollution near their schools. Houston has higher air pollution levels than Los Angeles, and according to the Houston Chronicle, “”even if every car were taken off the road, Houston would still not be in compliance with federal safe ozone levels.”” Ralph Marquez, a chemical lobbyist, obviously had a stake in lowering environmental standards for the state of Texas. Yet, Bush appointed him as the leader of Texas Environmental Agency. It does not seem like Bush has an interest in cleaning up the pollution of Texas, let alone that of the rest of America.

Gore also has promising plans to help and protect our nation’s children. He will invest $8 billion in raising teacher salaries in districts that devote energy to increasing their teacher quality, and promotes a proposal to build and modernize 6,000 schools. He plans to connect every classroom and library in every school to the Internet to help teach children how to operate the electronic equipment so prevalent in our lives today.

While a U.S. senator, he also helped protect children, co-sponsoring the Children’s Justice and Assistance Act of 1986, a legislation crack-down on child abuse. He supported other legislation creating a telephone network to help locate missing children.

Bush, however, neglected Texas children’s health with a health care system so terrible that a federal judge actually ordered the state to fix it. Texas ranks 49th in the nation in children’s health care.

Gore, on the other hand, wants to expand the availability of health care to more poor children. The Clinton-Gore administration created a children’s health insurance program which will cover up to eight million children in the United States.

If Bush does not care about children’s health in Texas, how can he care about the future of the nation? Gore is much stronger in this category than Bush, and will protect the leaders of tomorrow from sickness, disease, abuse and poverty.

Gore will also act to preserve and promote human rights, working to make his administration “”the most diverse in history.”” His Web site states that “”it is time for all Americans to recognize that the issues that face gays and lesbians in this country are not narrow, special interests; they are a matter of basic human civil rights.””

He will try to increase the sentences for hate crimes of all kinds. As president, Gore also plans to fight for an expansion of the Brady Law to violent juvenile delinquents. In the Senate chamber he has supported these views by assisting efforts to ban assault-style weapons and co-sponsoring a bill that increased sentencing to a mandatory five years in prison for criminals using armor-piercing bullets.

In Texas, Bush’s administration did nothing when they found out that many convicted felons might have possessed guns illegally. Federal law prohibits felons from owning guns, and they should have been prosecuted. Crime has also increased in many cities in Texas while the nation’s crime rate has dropped, contrary to what Bush claims.

Gore’s record supports these campaign promises and more, which one reason he has so much support from so many groups. To me, Bush is nearly incapable of running a nation as complex as the United States, and is therefore not an option for the American president. Bush does not possess the experience his challenger has. Gore has been in the federal government for over 24 years, while Bush was only elected governor of Texas in 1994, a scant six years ago.

Al Gore is the best candidate running in this race and has a significant chance of winning the presidency. Let us work toward making that happen.