There’s more to this election than the economy
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 02:09
If you’ve kept up with the campaign for the 2012 presidential election, then you know both the Republican and Democratic candidates and their staff are attempting to make this election about one thing in the minds of voters: the economy.
I consider myself an educated person. I read books and listen to podcasts and scour the newspaper whenever I get the chance. However, I think when it comes to discussing the economy, especially in the race to determine the next President of the United States, "the economy" deserves quotation marks.
When we talk about "the economy," do we really know what it means?
The term encompasses all sorts of issues: job creation, the budget, tax increases and breaks and more. Those are deep and complex components of the workings of our country, yet in this political debate they have been thrown under the blanket of "the economy", and voters are left to fend for themselves to determine what exactly "the economy" means.
Voters are also left to their own devices to determine what each candidate believes about "the economy" and what steps they will each take to fix our apparently dire financial situation.
Figuring out President Obama and Mitt Romney’s beliefs and opinions about "the economy" isn’t an easy task. I’d liken it to trying to drive along University Avenue across from the Mountainlair around lunchtime.
Most information about the candidates’ stances on "the economy" is muddled and often makes them appear fickle. Basically we hear Obama wants to cut taxes on the rich and raise taxes on the middle class, and Romney is a businessman who has offshore accounts but has the secret to fixing "the economy"; although he hasn’t quite told us what it is. Again, that’s a very simplistic summary of the candidates’ offered economic stances, but it’s probably all the layman can draw from the news.
Don’t get me wrong, "the economy" matters. While I’m not sure of the specifics and can’t recite unemployment rates or budget plans or the exact amount of the U.S. deficit, I know our government and country rely on business and uses money, and the books should be balanced and people financially secure.
However, I’m not so sure we should buy into the frame of "the economy" the media and candidates are feeding us as the important, go-to issue of this election.
I don’t think our country should be run or perceived exclusively as a business. Yes, it’s good when people work and earn income to provide for their families, but do we want American humanity to be observed as merely an industry?
And that’s why other issues matter, too, such as social issues like health care reform, gay marriage, women’s rights, abortion, welfare, military spending and environmental concerns. Character issues too – the POTUS is the symbol of our nation, the personification of what America is about and wants to be in the future.
The President of the United States isn’t supposed to be our CEO, or if he is, I don’t want him to be. We are a nation of people with hearts and souls, not just numbers who pay taxes.
That stated, our social and moral issues – the things that make us a vibrant culture – matter. While we should keep "the economy" in our minds when making electoral decisions, we shouldn’t forsake our beliefs and philosophies for the promise of more cash in our paychecks.
Political parties would like us to believe we only care about the size of government and how they’ll help us at the gas pump or in our income taxes. Can we prove them wrong, letting them know at the voting booth that we care about our country’s culture, society, and moral atmosphere too?
Who we vote for in November should come down to who we think will best lead our country, who will most accurately represent us and what we want our country to look like – now and in the future.
Find out where candidates stand on issues other than "the economy."
Let your fellow Americans and the rest of the world know we aren’t a country merely concerned with money, but with people, health and culture, too.