My post last week, “Plumbing the Issues,” has raised what I think is a very welcome discussion because it is an important one.

Two readers commented. The first discussed my remarks about people who I refer to as uninformed voters: those from low-income, white, rural areas who vote for conservative moral issues over political issues. I myself am from a rural area (central Kansas) and know people who fit into this uninformed category. I do not believe that voting for moral issues alone will do anything to help this country. One sentence from his comment read, “It might be more important to ‘safeguard the morals of the country’ by prohibiting gay marriage than to have health care that will pay for orthodontics.” Though it is the reader’s right to vote this way, I think it’s unbelievable that people would rather prohibit someone else from having rights rather than cast a vote that could help themselves and their families live better lives.

Furthermore, you cannot weigh these issues—gay marriage and health care—against each other, which is exactly my point. In a time when economics, health care, the educational system, and foreign affairs have reached a low point, people are voting for a person, in this case John McCain, just because he is against gay rights. If they listened more closely to McCain, they’d find out he is going to raise their taxes and endanger their jobs instead of helping their children to get better medical care, funding public education, and giving Americans some much-needed tax relief. Incidentally, the uninformed population does not include every single person that lives in a low-income, predominately white rural area; being uninformed just happens to be a growing statistic in these parts of the country.

Secondly, the comments about Joe the Plumber need clarification. According to a scan of the greater Toledo area phone book, no plumbing company exists in Holland, Ohio, that employs a Samuel (“Joe the Plumber”) Wurzelbacher as a plumber or is currently for sale for $250,000–$280,000. I did, however, call a Kansas friend who is indeed a plumber. He said if that’s how much the Ohio company is worth, then “it’s probably just one master plumber and an apprentice, and that’s still a pretty good take for whoever the master is.” According to Associated Press writer John Seewer, good ol’ Joe isn’t even a licensed plumber—and, in fact, he owes back taxes—so I doubt he’ll even be able to buy a plumbing company, no matter who gets elected. Of course, if Wurzelbacher stands to collect fees for all the talk shows he’s getting ready to appear on, he might be able to buy every plumbing company in the Toledo area. If that was his plan all along, he is a genius. There’s nothing like manipulating the media to get what you want.

Lastly, I need to retract the statement I said about the editors of our journal being intellectuals. The term doesn’t mean the same thing for all of us and I did not mean to wrongfully label anyone. I do not speak for all of us and I shouldn’t have last week. I am sorry.

Healthy discussion of the issues is a right not everyone in this world has. That we are able to post our views on the Internet and have them read by any number of people is indeed a privilege. Not all of my articles will be geared toward political issues; we just happen to be approaching a monumental election now that demands that people discuss these very important topics. I invite the discussion, and I’m hopeful everyone around the country will sit down with their kids, their parents or their co-workers and talk about what needs to happen. Be smart on November 4.