Arla Capel – My Way or the Highway

By Gus Bode

Illinois is a breeding ground for Democrats. That is if you consider Chicago the only city in Illinois.

The Chicagoland area gives the Democrat running for president this jaded idea that they will automatically win the entire state. So why come visit the good old Land of Lincoln?

Visit us because we count. This end of the state needs to see John Kerry and to be able to hear what he has to say. The candidates should come see an area of voters that they could be representing. We have military vets, college students and plenty of workers that support the Johns. Why aren’t they here?


Liberals are few and far between on the lower end of the state, as the lower half of Illinois has been leaning right for a long time.

Conservatism is growing at the southern end of Illinois. It is an epidemic that will drive our area of the state into the economic hole. This is even more of a reason to get the Democratic candidates down here, but we can’t even convince them to give us a pep talk.

Average Joe Blue Collar from the great Southern Illinois can be more convinced by a television or radio commercial than someone who has the opportunity to follow the campaigns more. I don’t mean that blue collar workers are not intelligent. I am saying that they work hard and that they may not have the time or ability to follow the race as closely. If Kerry came down to speak about what issues he is running his campaign on, maybe Joe Blue Collar could have the opportunity to see the other side.

Kerry is also forgetting the people that are so heavily influenced by Toby Keith and all the other war junkies that are trying to make a buck. We have quite a few of the Bushies (otherwise known as those who are influenced by conservative entertainment) in this area.

People are influenced by what they see. If you didn’t notice, Kerry fell in the polls after Bush and his buddies came out with those annoying ads about how Kerry flip flopped. Millions of people believed those ads and then said they would vote for Bush. Now after the fist debate Kerry is leading in the polls.

Presence makes a huge difference in debates. For those of us who remember, Bill Clinton came to SIUC in September 1995. Him being here made him a real person instead of that guy on television. I remember the crowd that day and how joyful everyone was to see him. He came at a great time, considering he was up for re-election the next year.

Bush should take a look at Illinois, too. Believe me, I am not a George W. Bush supporter, but this state can be influenced. I know that W. and John Edwards have both been in Missouri and the next presidential debate will be in St. Louis. Missouri is a swing state, which makes it extremely important in a presidential election. But what about the states that are losing support?


Illinois is tied for fifth this year with Pennsylvania in electoral votes. We are also the fifth largest state. Since we have such a high population, you would think that we would see our candidates a little more.

I guess I will just have to keep watching CNN.

Arla is a senior in journalism. My Way or the Highway appears every Wednesday. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the DAILY EGYPTIAN.