Thursday, October 4, 2012

After Debate One, Who Do I Vote For?

Watching the debate last night, I was struggling with the two positions offered by each candidate on taxes.  On one side you have Romney, who doesn’t want to raise taxes on the richest Americans and wealthiest corporations because he’s afraid that if we do, they will just cut jobs.  Then you have Obama, who wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest to cut down on the national debt.  Both sides make logical points.  But here’s what I don’t get:

My family pays 25% of our income to federal taxes.  Mitt Romney pays only 13%.  Mitt Romney made 250 times what my family made last year.  If he had paid what we pay, 25% rather than 13%, that’s $2.4 million going back to the federal government to pay down the national debt.  I’m pretty good at math, but even if I weren’t, I could still see a problem here.  AND, Mitt Romney’s former company is the poster child for shipping jobs overseas.  So despite all that he said in last night’s debate, I have a hard time believing his tax plans will work for people like me and my family.

And at one point I heard him say he’d dig through the government and cut tons of programs, including subsidies for PBS (even though he “likes Big Bird").  He’d cut anything that required us to borrow more money from China.  So what happens to all of those government jobs?  I agree that government spending is too high, but slashing programs means putting government employees out of work, and that means higher unemployment.  Mr. Romney, you may take that money you’ve saved to pay off a portion of our national debt, but now you’re looking at, what, 10% unemployment?  Then what?

But Obama, man.  What are YOU doing?  Mitt Romney hit you hard when he pointed out that the past four years haven’t really been all that great for people like me and my family.  I understand you had a lot on your plate when you took office—probably more than any other president in the history of our nation—but your rebuttal fell flat.  I really want to vote for you, because again I really don’t trust Mitt Romney, but you have to show me something.  Yeah, we have better healthcare now because of you—and going off on a slight tangent, I loved how Romney pointed out that Obama was referencing bipartisan studies that proved Romney’s plans were wrong and right, saying five studies will show it one way and five others will show it another, and then HE attacked Obamacare by referencing studies himself.  Uh, did you not just say independent, bipartisan studies can’t be fully trusted?  But regardless, fixing healthcare was important, but not as important as getting Americans back to work.  And I know Republicans don’t want to work with you—again I loved (sarcastically) how Romney promoted his state healthcare plan as being bipartisan but then shot down Obamacare for being only supported by Democrats, when Republicans aren’t willing to even pass gas, let alone laws, in favor of Democrats (yes I just threw in a fart joke—sorry!)  But despite all of that, Obama, you’ve got to do more to convince America that your plans are better.

Look, I know it takes time to get stuff done.  I have a wall in my house that’s needed patched and painted for over three years now.  It looks ugly, and it devalues my house, but I’ll get to it eventually.  But, hey, that bare drywall isn’t keeping me from putting food on the table.

I don’t like Romney.  I don’t trust him.  I think he’s lived a privileged life and has no idea what Middle Class America needs.  I do like Obama, but his performance last night wasn’t great.  I won’t be voting for Romney, that’s pretty much certain.  But unless Obama can explain what he’s done so far and lays out a timeline for his plans to get the American economy back on track, I may just be a very reluctant voter come November.

And one last comment I have to make…why is it that so many Caucasian males are Republicans?  Just watching CNN’s coverage of the debate last night with the meter for male and female opinions while each politician spoke, males predominantly favored Romney and females favored Obama.  In looking at polls, Obama has the female, black, Hispanic, gay/lesbian votes, and Romney has white men.  In reading message boards and my social media sites, a majority of white guys out there think that Obama is ramming government down their throats, and they want their freedom and believe he is taking it away from them.  Seriously?  Why?  Because you are required to have health insurance now so that you can’t be a deadbeat and raise healthcare costs for others when you need to go have your gallbladder removed and can't pay for it?  Honestly, what other freedoms has he taken away?  Unless you are filthy rich—and considering that our economy isn’t doing all that well, there aren’t that many of you—his plans are better aimed at putting more money in your pocket.  And if you lost your job, he stretched out unemployment benefits to give you a hand.  I just don’t quite get where this animosity toward him comes from.

Here’s a fun fact.  Caucasians make up 74.8% of the U.S. population as of the 2010 census.  Males make up 49%.  That means that white males, on average, make up 36% of the US.  There are 538 members of Congress.  Of them, 85% are white, and 83% are male.  That means, on average, 70% of the members of Congress are white males.  That means that, proportionally, there are twice as many white males leading our country as there are people who live within its borders.  Does anyone else see the problem here?  Our government is elected BY US, the People, and yet we have filled it with way too many people from the same gender and race.  I’m sorry, but white people, myself included, do not know what it’s like to live as an African American or an Asian American.  I learn this just about every weekend I spend in Harrisburg with my Vietnamese in-laws.  And men, by far, have no idea what it’s like to live as a woman.  My wife and mother were talking about child birth the other day, and while I was only half paying attention (I’ll admit I’m a WHITE MALE), I heard my mother saying that when she was in labor with one of her children, the doctor said to her, “Stop complaining, the pain isn’t THAT bad.”  You know, because men give birth all the time, right?

Here’s another fun fact.  Most drug and alcohol counselors are former addicts themselves.  Why?  Because they’ve been there.  They can relate.  People go to support groups for help from others who have been in the same situation.

So why is it that we don’t have more diversity in Congress?  The 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote in 1870.  The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920.  Yet here we are, nearly 100 years later, and we still, overwhelmingly, have more men vote than women and more whites vote than any other race.  I suppose one could argue that women have less interest in politics than men, and that more immigrants nowadays are non-whites, meaning that there are far fewer Asian or Hispanic citizens.  But I don’t buy that.  When you have people like Todd Akin—who seemingly has no clue how the female body works and publicly aired his ignorance to the entire nation—still in a tight race against Claire McCaskill, A WOMAN, for Missouri’s senate seat, THAT’S A HUGE FREAKING PROBLEM!

Bottom line: white men don’t have all the answers, people.  If we did, dance floors across the nation would look absolutely ridiculous, fashion would be non-existent, fantasy football draft day would be a national holiday, and going to the doctor once every five years would be the norm.  I don’t think that’s the kind of country we want to live in.  Am I wrong?

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