Students take sides in the presidential election
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
On Monday, I voted in my first presidential election. I’m a registered voter in Dallas County, and I voted for President Barack Obama.
My vote was effectively wasted — the likelihood of the president winning Texas’ 38 electoral votes come election night is probably only outweighed by the chances that Taken 2 will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards next year (sorry Liam Neeson).
My vote was irrational in this context. The only justification I can give for it is that President Obama stands for some of the kinds of principles I find so dear to my heart that I would take 45 minutes out of my day just to pretend I could have some control over the outcome of this race. And sometimes, discerning those principles can be a tough exercise.
In 2008 I could have given you a laundry list of reasons why I supported Obama. I wanted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought to a conclusion. I wanted Guantánamo Bay closed. I wanted gay marriage legalized. I wanted comprehensive immigration reform, single-payer universal healthcare, stronger regulations on Wall Street, higher taxes on the country’s wealthiest citizens, investments in cleaner energy, tougher environmental regulation and more federal funding for secondary schools and student loans — I wanted a massive and comprehensive overhaul of the way our government works, and I wanted everyone to agree upon it too.
In short, I wanted every single leftist dream of mine to come true. Because people like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher had been telling me to want these things since I was old enough to know what the phrase “electoral college” meant.
It’s easy to tell that I did not get everything I expected from Obama’s first term. However, that’s not a wholly negative thing. I am extremely disappointed that Guantánamo Bay remains open, and I’m concerned about the president’s continued authorization of drone strikes abroad. But “don’t ask don’t tell” has been repealed, and the president has at least attempted to circumvent Congress stymieing his efforts on immigration reform with his new policy towards young, undocumented citizens. Moreover, it’s probably good that a lot of my wishes didn’t come true. I’ve come to believe that the federal government throwing more money at our country’s educational system is highly unlikely to make a difference, and a single-payer health care system would probably cause as many problems as it solves.
What these past four years have taught me is that I can’t authentically commit myself to a rigid partisan ideology. I tend to vote Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have disagreements with the party. By forcing yourself to accept your party’s doctrine as incontrovertible fact, you essentially turn off your mind. Don’t try to shield yourself from new information, even if it comes from people who might disagree with you. Moreover, even if the candidates you support for office win, don’t expect that all of your wildest political fantasies will come true. Our Constitution is meant to guarantee that politics is a game of compromise (a word that has received a poor reputation in recent years).
I don’t want to act as Obama’s cheerleader. Most of you have already determined which candidate you support, and my rhetoric won’t change that. Instead, I encourage you to take this advice: vote. Even if it makes as little sense for you to put in the effort as it did for me, do it anyway.
Take advantage of the opportunity. Inform yourself. You are a member of one of the freest polities in the world. Learn as much as you can about the issues and seize the privilege. Ultimately, that choice of yours means more than any debate between talking heads on TV ever will.
Bub is a junior majoring in history, English and political science.
For me, in this election, it was a given that I would not vote for Barack Obama and another four years of broken promises, failed policies and political stalemates. In my opinion, his past four years are at best comparable to President Jimmy Carter’s term in office.
However, as a general rule I consider myself to be a conservative leaning libertarian — so a talking sweater vest like Rick Santorum would not have done it for me. I had hoped that the GOP would present a candidate who understood the troubles of the economy, who did not favor overreaching government and who was also capable of taking on the incumbent — and present they did.
Mitt Romney is a business man who has proven his ability to generate income as his immense fortune was largely self-made. He is a man of great personal moral stature and is committed to the advancement and protection of the American way of life.
Since Obama took office, the national debt has increased over $5 trillion to a total just over $16 trillion, he spent the better part of two years pushing through the Affordable Healthcare Act (legislation approximately 52 percent of Americans now want repealed) and, in matters of foreign policy, has caused America for the first time since its eclipsing of Great Britain to come across as limp-wristed.
Coming from a family in the medical industry, the Affordable Health Care Act was something I recognized from the beginning as trouble, and I was not alone. People did not want to be forced by the government to buy something or face a considerable tax as an alternative. Americans were assured it was not a tax, but merely a penalty meant to encourage people to obtain health insurance.
However, just this year, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the penalty by calling it a tax, which Congress is entitled to levy. Oops.
As this act will go down in history as perhaps the greatest component to this term, besides the killing of Osama bin Laden, this is a policy gaffe of epic proportions and in my opinion indicative of inept leadership from this administration.