Election 2012: My First Time Ever Voting!
This past presidential election was the first time I have been a part of voting, and I was entrenched in all it had to offer. I watched all the presidential and vice presidential debates, kept up on some company campaigns, had my absentee ballot mailed from Wisconsin to me early, discussed policy late into the night with my roommates and stayed up until 2 a.m. when the President was re-elected for another 4 years.
Absentee ballot has been sent to Wisconsin. Voting in my first ever presidential election, check. (Link)
I feel as if I am an independent on many different topics. I tend to focus more heavily on topics that might directly effect my job outlook and just intrigue me overall, like renewable energy projects, entrepreneurship, foreign trade, etc. It is remarkable though, that when watching the debates several big topics weren’t discussed, and even if they were, both candidates could very well be lying or giving false statistics to help sway the popular vote. Here are the top 6 lies from the vice presidential debate alone. Also, below is a list from Rolling Stone that has 11 very big topics that weren’t even asked in the debates:
The candidates were never asked about climate change, whether they believe it poses an existential threat to our future, and what, if anything, they’d do about it.
- THE HOUSING CRISIS
The root cause of the financial collapse of 2008 was the housing bubble. The foreclosure crisis remains a drag on our economy. Obama’s efforts to aid underwater homeowners have been feckless. Romney declared the market should be allowed to “hit bottom.” The moderators thought none of this worthy of discussion.
- THE EUROZONE
The European economy is in crisis. The common currency is in danger of collapse. Would the next American president intervene to save the Eurozone? Who knows?! Certainly not debate watchers.
- SUPREME COURT
The next president will pick at least one and perhaps two Supreme Court justices — but neither presidential candidate was asked anything about what principles would inform his choices for the court.
- CAMPAIGN FINANCE
This election has been waged with ungodly sums of SuperPAC money, leaving both candidates beholden to megadonors. But neither candidate was asked to weigh in on the Citizens United decision that equates money with speech.
- GAY MARRIAGE
Gay marriage is on the ballot from Maryland to Washington state. It first became legal in Massachusetts (over Romney’s objections) and Obama made history by personally backing marriage equality. The Defense of Marriage Act is headed for a date with the Supreme Court. Yet there was not a single question about whether same sex-couples deserve equal protection.
- DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL
Obama made an offhanded boast about its repeal, but there was no line of inquiry from the moderators about whether gays and lesbians would continue to be welcome in the Armed Forces under a Romney presidency.
There was no effort to clarify where each candidate stands on Roe v. Wade. (The subject of abortion surfaced briefly in the vice presidential debate, but as a personal issue — as a lens for the candidates’ Catholic faith.) A low information voter could have watched all three presidential debates and come away thinking there’s no meaningful difference on choice, beyond Mitt Romney’s plan to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding.
- THE FED
Ben Bernanke is the most powerful Federal Reserve chairman in living memory and has more direct influence over the unemployment rate than anyone. Romney has said he’d replace him. Why — and what kind of monetary policy he’d seek — remain open questions.
- THE DRUG WAR
Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in three states. Tens of thousands of Mexicans have been killed in drug violence connected to American consumption, for which we continue to incarcerate an insane number of Americans. Yet there was not a single question about the efficacy of the 40-year, $1 trillion War on Drugs.
- TAX EVASION
Mitt Romney’s tax returns have been a central campaign focus since the GOP primaries. They came up repeatedly in the Republican debates, yet didn’t pique the curiosity of the general-election moderators. (Get a detailed look at how Romney avoids paying his fair share.)
Some of these topics, like climate and the eurozone, I wanted to hear about. The only time they talked about climate was regarding energy and energy independence, but both candidates gave their generalities on the subject matter and other questions were asked. Nevertheless, I always try to research as much as I can, stand in the middle from the beginning, and then lean slightly one way to make a political decision. It felt very good to fill in my absentee ballot. By doing so, you really feel strong and a part of your nation.
Whether you are pleased or not about the results this year with Obama, just remember that we still are the United States of America, and now he has himself some proving to do. I do not like talking politics much, but one thing I like to voice is how separate the House is now a days. Bi-partisanship I feel is one of the biggest issues in Washington. Viewpoints are so oddly stretched and beyond from Republican to Democrat that it is deviating away from the interest of the general public. I hope that eventually, our government can realize that the mesh between parties must come closer together. We can move forward, for it is Congress and the House that makes many of the decisions, not just the President.