As the presidential election nears, more and more people are being forced into having choppy, inconclusive political discussions with their friends and families.
My ears always perk up when I hear these conversations going on among college students. I have noticed one common sentiment among most of the students that I listen to along the lines of, “I don’t like either party or candidate and I’m just not going to vote this time.”
Yes, a wave of disenfranchising apathy, caused by dissatisfaction and driven by cynicism has hit Shippensburg University’s campus. I have heard the comparison made famous by South Park of choosing between a giant douche or a turd sandwich used multiple times for this year’s election. In other words, both candidates stink.
I am no fool. I am not saying one candidate or party is perfect or able to solve all of our problems. I am saying one candidate is clearly better, and the notion that since neither of them totally satisfies you or something bothers you about them means the answer is to not vote at all is absurd and a dereliction of civil duty.
Furthermore, it is a dereliction of self-interest as a college student. Consider, for a moment, just the candidates’ perspectives on education, because I think that is a good representation of their greater views on America’s future.
On June 21, 2012, President Barack Obama said, “Higher education cannot be a luxury reserved for the privileged few. It is an economic necessity.” Six days later, Gov. Mitt Romney said students should “get as much education as they can afford.”
So to recap, according to Obama, your college education is indispensable and important to the country. According to Romney, college education is for those who can afford it, not those who desire it. Education is not an economic asset to Romney because it is hard to squeeze much profit out of.
Romney actually recommended students simply borrow money from their parents for school, further demonstrating his out-of-touch disconnect with the American people. Besides that, Paul Ryan’s infamous budget would have cut Pell Grant scholarships for nearly 10 million students.
That attitude, and Romney’s behind-closed-doors dismissal of the “47 percent” who pay no income tax as self-entitled-government-dependents, speaks to the way that Romney looks at the working class and the poor. If you are poor, it is your fault. When you ask for assistance, you are a moocher. However, when a big corporation takes a subsidy or a tax break, they are just being smart business people.
If it’s a douche and a turd, Obama is the douche and Romney is the turd, because Obama has at least cleaned things up while Romney just needs to be flushed before he smears all over the place.
Always be critical of politicians, especially the president, but do not forget the mess that Obama inherited. With a longer list of accomplishments than most give him credit for, unemployment rates steadily dropping, General Motors thriving and Osama Bin Laden floating around in the Arabian Sea, I would say Obama is worthy of re-election. Sadly, some seem to think, since he has not fixed every problem, they cannot vote for him.
Then to those people, while we’re talking about douches, consider women’s issues. Mitt “Binders Full of Women” Romney would surely appoint conservative activist judges to the Supreme Court who would seek to repeal Roe v. Wade and has said he would sign the law to do so if it reached his desk. He has since flip-flopped on the issue.
He has said on multiple occasions that he would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, which does a lot more health services than abortion and probably prevents more abortions than any pro-life Republican or screaming religious zealot ever has.
Also, he said he would not have signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that Obama signed, which allows women to fight for equal pay in the workplace. Romney seems primarily concerned with getting those women out of the binder and back into the kitchen.
Beyond that, there is the rest of Romney’s plan and vision for America: turn Medicare into a voucher system, repeal Obamacare, go to war with Iran, embrace the failure that is trickle-down economics, increase taxes on middle class families and cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires despite the fact that tax cuts contributed greatly to the deficit that he campaigns against every day. It does not take long to see what Romney is really about.
Romney is a man of big business and the top one percent. He believes the rich get to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. Despite whatever he says on a debate stage, his platform and his record show that he values profit more than people. This is the guy who can’t stop talking about jobs when he outsourced American jobs and shut down factories as CEO at Bain Capital. But don’t worry, his money is safe in those offshore tax havens.
Sadly, Romney could still win the popular vote in this election despite all of these damning facts. If enough unions and welfare recipients are scapegoated, if enough seniors and working families are deceived into thinking Romney has their best interests at heart, if enough people forget the Bush years, if enough xenophobic and racist white people hell-bent on removing the first black president from office go out to the polls on Nov. 6, Romney can still win.
Most significantly, if enough people choose to disregard facts, abandon good sense, succumb to apathy and stay home on Election Day when they could instead make a real difference, Romney will win.
There is no excuse to not vote, and whoever you vote for, make sure it is President Obama.