This post is about American politics, and I realize it may not be of interest to people from other countries. Then again, perhaps it will be. Our planet is so interconnected these days that what affects one affects all.
The 2nd presidential debate took place this evening at Hofstra University, Long Island, New York. It was a town hall meeting moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, that consisted of 82 individuals who claimed to be undecided voters. I have no idea how or why ANYONE would be undecided at this point, but hey, okay. Undecided. Fine. These undecided folks had some good questions.
Before we go into this, I noticed that Michelle O and Anne R wore the same color outfit – hot pink! Synchro? Or did their consultants coordinate??
The first question came from a 20-year-old college student who wanted to know what the candidates could do for his generation to obtain jobs once they graduated from college. Right off the bat, Romney started out with his lies. He sang the praises of Pell grants, a government program that enables low income students to attend college.
Truth? Romney’s plan would eliminate Pell grants.
And from this point onward, the Romney lies multiplied. I kept waiting for his nose to grow longer. I kept hoping that the story of Pinochio was a true story, that when you lie, your nose grows longer and everyone recognizes it and knows you’re a liar. Instead of the elongated nose, we saw Romney’s odd little puckered smile and lots of blinks.
On energy: Romney said that under the Obama administration, gas prices have risen. That’s true. But the bottom line here wasn’t addressed: the government does not control gas prices. The free market does that. As Obama pointed out, “The economy was on the verge of collapse, we were entering the worse recession since the Great Depression.”
On Libya: Romney blew it. Here’s why.
On foreign policy, Obama destroyed Mitt Romney. This was the Libya question, This point illustrates the difference between a commander in chief and a presidential hopeful.
On immigration: Romney? Self-deport. Obama? The dream act.
On women’s health: Romney will defund Planned Parenthood, an organization upon which millions of women depend for mammogram, health care, contraceptive care. Abortion, per se, wasn’t addressed. Romney’s administration would overturn Roe V Wade. Yet he denies that he would do this. Denies it in spite of the fact that Paul Ryan, his running mate, co-sponsored a bill with Todd Akin (the body of a raped woman has ways to prevent pregnancy) that would confer personhood on a fertilized egg – i.e., a woman who obtains an abortion wold be guilty of murder, even if that abortion was the result of incest or rape.
On the one hand, Romney mentions his healthcare reform for Massachusetts, on which the Obamacare plan was built. Then he turns around and says he will repeal Obamacare on day one. It’s the sort of doublespeak BS he stands for.
One of the best lines? Romney’s five-point economical plan. Obama pointed out that Romney has a “very sketchy deal. Folks at the top play by a different set of rules…”
Romney then defended the points of his tax plan with: “of course the numbers will add up. I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget. I ran the Olympics and the numbers added up.”
Really? Romney ran the Olympics on government bailout money.
But the crowning moment was the last statement by Obama, where he addressed Romney’s remarks to behind-the-doors donors about the 47 % of moochers in the U.S. who don’t pay taxes – people like, well, you know, the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, seniors on Social Security.
Candy Crowley deserves a raise. She kept Romney the bully within his pen, despite his attempts to break out, and shut him up when he tried to bully his way into further discourse and more lies.
Let’s be clear about this. Tonight, Mitt Romney, a zillionaire who has been running for president for at least 20 years, can’t connect with ordinary people. Despite his pathetic attempts at anecdotes about people he has met throughout his campaign, he just doesn’t make the connection on pay equity for women, on education, on the tax plan, on foreign policy, on health care, on anything to do with women, people, or even dogs.
In the past few days, before tonight’s debate, the polls have shown that Romney has shown a ten percent rise among women voters. I find this hard to believe. What woman in her right mind would vote for a man who doesn’t believe in equal pay for women? Who believes the government should control your reproductive rights, your body? Or, as a friend said to me today, “What woman would support any guy who seeks to control your vagina?”
Forget Ohio, the state everyone says you have to win to win the presidency. This isn’t’ about Ohio. The majority of voters are women. Alienate them, and you lose the election. Romney and the Republicans must be damning the day that women won the right to vote.
The last question was interesting: How do you and your policies differ from those of George W Bush? Well, vouchers for health care, for starters. This is where the government sends you a voucher to cover some of your health care costs and then sends you off into the insurance free market to buy your own insurance. Right. Like a 75-year-old man or woman on Medicare will be able to find affordable insurance.
So, you get the idea here. What’s at stake in this election is both simple and complex. Simple in the sense that the choices are clear between the Republicans and the Democrats. Complex in the sense that we are three weeks away from the election and less than eight weeks away from the Mayan end date of December 21. The closer we get to the election, the more convinced I am that the Mayan end times – or whatever it proves to be – is about a paradigm shift, not the end of the world, not disclosure, not about anything radical. It’s about a radical shift in beliefs. We’re in the midst of it now.
This point was driven home today when I was on my way out of our local grocery store and a well-dressed elderly woman sitting by the door said, “Excuse me, can you give me a ride home? I live just three blocks from here.”
“Oh my God, thank you so much.”
I loaded her groceries into my cart and then into my car. Phyllis, who will be 90 in November, always walks the three blocks to Publix, then waits for someone “kind, who will give her a ride home.” She has a teacher daughter who lives locally, a son in New York. “I used to work for Dior in New York,” she says. “I loved it. Then I taught fashion. I loved it. Now I’m here and I love that, too.”
I carried Phyllis’s groceries into her townhouse, a pristine environment where everything had its place. She invited me to stay for coffee, but I had an appointment with a deadline and demurred. But as I backed out her driveway, I knew I had just seen myself in thirty years.
If we can’t help each other, if we can’t solidify humane policies, if we can’t lend a hand to those in need, then as a country, a nation, a people, we have failed. But I’m an optimist, and I think people like Phyllis lead the way.
“My daughter is appalled that I ask strangers for rides,” Phyllis says. “She tells me, Suppose they try to rob you, mom?” Phyllis laughs at her own statement. “But what do I have to rob?”
I failed in that I should have gotten Phyllis’s number so I could drop by when she needed a ride to and from the grocery store. But I suspect our paths will cross again. Maybe that’s part of life after 12/21/12.
Synchronicity. Hey, remember me?