by Jennifer Mandelblatt
After a year long political battle, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has secured the Republican Party presidential nomination on May 30. Now that the candidates for the 2012 election have been finalized, it is necessary to evaluate Democratic President Barack Obama’s and Romney’s platforms.
Though tensions have eased for the moment, the next four months will draw a rigid line between the parties on the basis of values and priorities. November’s election will determine whether the majority of Americans believe the government should focus on the people struggling to make ends meet, the people who want the freedom to decide personal matters or the corporations that hold tremendous power and are responsible for the economic backbone of the nation.
In our capitalist society, the rich tend to get richer while the poor are barely getting by. According to 2012-presidential-candidates.findthedata.org, Obama plans to give the middle and working class a tax break, while Romney wants to extend tax cuts to those who purchase their own health care. In addition, Obama wants to create provisions for cheaper and non-discriminatory health care. Romney, on the other hand, plans to eliminate ObamaCare and “empower states and individuals to reduce health care costs.”
American society is built on the principles of capitalism and individualism; thus, economically speaking, the upper classes need not worry about the plight of the poor. On a moral level, however, help must be given to those in need. Simply “empowering” individuals to help the struggling, is like accepting inaction. It mirrors Herbert Hoover’s “encouragement” to help the poor during the Great Depression. As evidenced by Hoover’s inability to successfully diminish the economic problems of the 1930’s, those struggling need action, not words.
On another note, the lingering recession has also caused the government and corporations to point accusatory fingers at each other. Obama believes that Wall Street needs to accept responsibility for the financial collapse, and Romney believes economic balance will be achieved when the government’s role and regulation in corporate matters diminishes.
The fall of the economy, however, was the result of the failure of the financial circuit as a whole. Not a single corporation, individual or government regulator can be blamed in this matter. Regardless, the candidates are taking sides and when November arrives, Americans will have to decide where their loyalties lie.
Also creating a divide between the parties are the hotly-debated issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. Both matters rest on the lines between freedom of religion and freedom from government invasion of privacy. Romney’s stance on abortion is pro-life, while Obama is advocating the policy of pro-choice.
Additionally, same-sex marriage is a perceived right by some, and seen as a sin by others.Obama recently became the first sitting president to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage. Romney however, plans to ban gay marriage. The debates on abortion and same-sex marriage, will force Americans to decide whether they should vote because of what is outlined in the Constitution, what religion has taught them or how personal experiences have affected them.
Regardless of the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, people are going to be disappointed and even outraged, because the controversial party platforms are limiting the middle ground of many issues. Compromise is an essential part of American history, beginning with the compromise that established the two- house structure of the legislative branch. This election season, however, is already on a determined path to evade compromise, for too often, compromising is considered losing. The effect, though, is quite the opposite: the ability to come to agreement, one that consists of slight losses and greater reward, ensures that all involved can walk away as “winners.” Sans compromise, the country is vulnerable to the candidates’ promises. Though the Republican nomination has been secured, the election season is really just beginning. Now, the question becomes, what is America willing to sacrifice?