The third debate of the election season and second encounter between President Obama and Governor Romney was widely regarded as “make it or break it” for Obama. After what many viewed as a loss during their first match, Obama saw his lead fall to Romney. The debate on Tuesday night was set as a town hall format – allowing undecided voters to ask the candidates questions that concern the people, not just the journalists. It was an insightful and enlightening event in many regards.
Tuesday night’s presidential election debate, propelled by questions from self-proclaimed undecided voters in the New York area, introduced issues and topics that hadn’t yet been discussed, either at length or at all, in the previous two debates. In the first presidential debate and the first and only vice presidential debate, the main issues discussed were the economy and healthcare. This latest debate allowed both candidates to sound off on the topics of gun laws and immigration, which I consider to be important issues to go along with the economy and healthcare. Fox News disagrees, criticizing the debate and calling the questions ‘soft’ and ‘pro-Obama,’ implying that these issues aren’t worth discussing on a national level. Tell that to the people who have had their lives changed, for better or for much worse, by these topics.
I saw a wonderful description of Mitt Romney the other day on Facebook: “Mitt Romney is the most progressive thinker of 1950.” More than anything else, Tuesday’s debate revealed how vastly different Obama and Romney’s world views really are. His statements about energy independence, women’s pay equality, healthcare, and even trade, further proved how short-sighted his vision for America and the world is. His desire to further exploit our natural, finite resources (aka coal, natural gas, crude oil) and not invest in renewable, clean energy will only see economic benefits in his lifetime – certainly not mine. Much like George W. Bush, Romney’s plan for the future is to maintain the status quo – keeping alive the exact problems that got us into this mess to begin with. President Obama, on the other hand, has consistently pushed progressive measures and ideas. Where Romney avoided answering a question about women’s pay equality, Obama confronted the issue directly. Though some of Obama’s clean energy investments have fallen through, he has not poured more tax-payer dollars into a dying, obsolete energy investment. Obama’s heart and mind are in the right place – it’s up to us to see that he achieves all he has promised.
While Mitt Romney thought that Massachusetts deserved to have an assault weapons ban signed into law while he was governor, like health care, he has decided that the United States does not deserve such a measure. When asked what he would do about the clearly dire need for action in the face of the increased mass shootings of the past two years, Governor Romney said, ‘Yeah, I’m not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal. We, of course, don’t want to have automatic weapons, and that’s already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons.’ Firstly, his last statement is false. Automatic weapons, both fully automatic and semiautomatic are legal in most states. Secondly, how can you tell the families and friends of the 12 fatal and 58 injured victims of the Aurora shooting, or the six fatal and four injured victims of the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, that you’re not ‘in favor of’ of changing a damned thing. Governor Romney then went on to discuss the importance of married parents in controlling gun violence, managing to sneak in a jab at single parents everywhere in addition to all victims of gun violence. President Obama said that he supports a reintroduction of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. He also mentioned the current emergency-level gun violence crisis in Chicago, a vitally important thing for the president of the United States to have on his radar. So when Governor Romney says that he ‘care[s] about 100% of the American people,’ I’ve got to call his bluff.