The coming election with its debates, ads (both for and against), and discussions-turned-arguments with neighbors and fellow workers -- how's your thinking ability going? It's easy for some people, more probing and complex for others.

Like it or not, we're living more and more in a global society. And with it come a whole assortment of issues to confront an American president -- no matter who wins that worrying spot. Because of this, single-issue voters are relics of the past. Who should marry or not marry? How much of the budget should go for education? For the military? For health and welfare? And how are we to pay for these?

Whoever occupies the Oval Office has to solve a host of problems, not just a few. You probably realize all this; nevertheless, with all the hype and clever campaign phrases in the media, it's darn easy to lose sight of the big picture.

One thing a voter might do would be to prioritize the issues and figure which candidate is best suited to deal with them effectively.

This writer ranks the issues as follows: 1) The DEBT, the doggone debt. It has be pared down someway sometime soon. The interest alone is grinding us! 2) Unemployment. Laid off work folks can't meet the mortgage, buy new cars, or even enough groceries sometimes. It could trigger another monstrous depression spiral. 3) Healthcare. Perhaps one of the biggest debate issues; and one loaded with faulty logic all over the place. 4) Regulation and deregulation. Do we turn the clock back, or work out new solutions fair to all? 5) Foreign relations, including trade problems plus the continued war on terror. You can start added your own concerns from here.


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A thinking voter should also try to avoid the "good guy, bad guy" rhetoric. It goes something like this -- good guys are reasonable and adaptable to change; bad guys are wishy-washy flip-floppers. Good guys have nice smiles; bad guys have deceptive grins. Good guys are bold and courageous; bad guys are rash and dangerous. Good guys have compassion for others; bad guys are bleeding hearts. And on and on ...

Twice I met ex-president Herbert Hoover. I had once regarded him as responsible for the Great Depression, and he used to be called an "ugly old thing" at our house. Yet, when he came to Alameda at age 84 for our Boys' Club groundbreaking and dedication, he proved to be very sharp and possessed with a fabulous memory. I'm convinced that, had he gone into office at a time other than when the roof fell in on him, he might have been one of our better presidents.

Strip away the pro and con hype and keep thinking.

Note: The gremlins got to our quiz last time and gave the wrong letter for # 7. Eisenhower was in office when Alameda's South Shore was developed. Hope you aced the other six.

Contact Joe King at alamedanews@bayareanewsgroup.com.