My sentiments following the 2012 Presidential Election

Ashley Calvani | Online Editor

I have become more concerned at the self-righteousness of some people than the results of the 2012 Presidential Election. If you are really about respect and open-mindedness like you say you are, please take the time to consider my educated opinion.

Let me start off by getting it out of the way. I am Republican. I’ve grown up in a Republican family. I am part of the upper middle class, I am not gay, and I will not need loans to go to college. That doesn’t mean, however, that I haven’t studied the economy of the lower class, that I don’t fully 100% support gay rights, and that I don’t watch my friends struggle with the idea of affording college.

I am a moderate. I don’t personally agree with Romney’s stance on all of the issues, especially the social ones. I think there should be a middle ground for cases concerning abortion, for example.

Does it matter what I am? I love and respect both conservatives and liberals. I talked with my good friend, a liberal, the other day, about their point of view. It was the most enlightening and wonderful discussion I’ve ever been a part of, because I took the time to see his side and he took the time to see mine. He was also arguing with facts.

Here is what I can’t stand. On Twitter, Facebook, and in the halls, people claiming things that aren’t true, and condemning everyone else to ignorance if they disagree. Both conservatives and liberals. So let me dispel some of the rumors.

On Twitter, I saw some say that Republicans are blaming the debt on Obama. They then went on to say that a Republican was the one who handed him the debt. I agree. George W. Bush did in fact hand over the country to Obama in a recession and in debt. Bush used China as a credit card and now we are paying for it. It is interesting to me, though, that the debt has increased an extra 5 trillion dollars under President Obama. Is it fair to pin the entire blame on his policies? No. But he has done absolutely nothing to help with his spending. Obama believed a stimulus was the only way to get out of the recession. I think he is wrong. We cannot be spending money we don’t have, no matter how bad of a recession we are in.

Mitt Romney, a clearly wealthy man with an impressive background in business and economics, believes that we can’t keep ourselves in China’s grasp, and we can’t let them take advantage of us. China has manipulated the value of their currency so that the Yuan is worth less than the American dollar, creating incentive to outsource jobs and mass competition for goods. Romney is going to not only cut federal spending, but also demand that China play by the rules. His plan was to immediately cut non-security government agencies by 5%, cap federal spending below 20% of the economy, and give states responsibility that they can implement more effectively.

And while Obama’s stimulus package may have created some jobs and lessened the blow of the recession, the unemployment number that has decreased under him contains so many nuances that it is hard to say if Obama’s policy helped create a significant number of jobs at all.

Without jobs, how can we expect Americans to pay for their insurance and health care? We can’t. Which is why we needed Obama care. Many Americans feel like Romney would have taken away their health insurance when he replaced Obama care with common-sense health care reforms. He was going to restore the $716 billion in Obama care cuts to Medicare to strength the program for future beneficiaries. Romney wasn’t going to deny health insurance to Americans who couldn’t afford it. He was, instead, going to open it up to the private sector, which allows small businesses to grow and create the healthy competition that any capitalistic country thrives on.

As for education, I believe Romney’s businesslike approach is wrong. Allowing for competition so that charter schools could thrive and serve as role models for public schools won’t work, just because public schools will never have the money and resources to eventually catch up. If we are talking higher education—Obama has certainly made helping students pay back college loans a priority, and I respect that.

I do not think he should make it so easy to do everything. I believe in welfare. I believe in helping those who need it. I am appalled at how many people are cheating the system, though. Reforms must be made.

But reforms aren’t made easily. We have to look at the fact that no matter which candidate won presidency, they still have to go through Congress to get policies enacted. People say that four years is not enough time to show that Obama’s policies have helped, and I disagree. There is a reason the term was made four years. I do think, however, that our elected officials in Congress need to work on compromising because things aren’t getting done at the rate we need.

We need change. We are not moving forward, as Obama’s campaign would suggest. I don’t think Romney and Ryan were the perfect comeback team. I didn’t address all the nuances, all the issues. I barely scratched the surface.

I do think, however, that we need to take a look at our priorities. The biggest arguments I have seen from classmates for Obama are gay rights and debt. I talked about debt. And as for gay rights, I truly believe that no president should have a say in who you can love. But I also think when we have to decide between making our country more economically sound, getting out of debt, creating jobs, and if we are allowed to officially be married to someone we love, there is a clear answer.

Please don’t assume I’m against gay marriage because I am a conservative. Please don’t tell me I’m disrespectful. I am still confused, like everyone is. Politics are hard. I have tried my best to gather information from unbiased sources. I have built a website dedicated to providing that information, and also providing people’s and students’ opinions that are on both side of the spectrum. So please don’t tweet and tell me I’m ignorant. My name is Ashley Calvani, and if I were 18 this year, I would have voted Romney/Ryan, but there is more to me than that.

Swinging back and forth

Check out this page, from nytimes.com, that updates results from the swing states live on Election day.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/swing-state-tracker?ref=politics

Election Day: teen voters

Katie Hibner | Staff Writer

Senior Alex Day was dedicated to having a voice in our government. Day said he woke up at six-thirty Tuesday morning to wait in forty-minute lines and eventually vote at the polls.

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Move forward

Sheila Raghavendran | Staff Writer

The inspiring slogans of “Change we can believe in” and “Yes we can” motivated Democrats in 2008. In this election, President Obama hopes to secure votes through his vision of “Forward.”

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It’s getting better all the time

Ian Howard | Chronicle Alumni Class of 2012

Ian Howard’s response to staff writer Ashley Calvani’s The Nostalgia Effect:

What voters fail to realize is that it’s not about yesteryear. Yesterday was no better than today. In fact I would argue that today is far better than yesterday, and the future, while seemingly bleak, will see even greater expansions in rights for all. I honestly find it sad, Ashley, that you would point to the existence of Martin Luther King Jr. as a reason that the past was better than today. Martin Luther King Jr. could become a hero because he had something truly horrible to fight against. Martin Luther King Jr. lived his life for the future of civil rights and he succeeded. Today is better than yesterday because of him. How can you possibly cite the 1950s as better than today? Women could not make near half as much as men, and men and women of color could still not effectively vote. There are astronomically fewer murders per capita and rapes have certainly followed suit. The specter of overpopulation will be silenced, at least in America, when in 2050 demographers speculate the population will begin to decline on its own without the help of any Chinese boys-only policies.

Nostalgia can be a fickle thing because while the past will always seem better than today and today will always seem better than tomorrow America already has 250 years behind it of moving forward in the right direction, and I am confident that it can continue this pattern. The War on Terror seems really bad compared to World War II, but what about the Vietnam War? People spat in the faces of returning war veterans and soldiers fired upon non-violent student protestors at Kent State.

With the ever widening gap of political parties and the overbearing magnifying glass with which the collective media sets sensible and standard speculation on fire it can be pretty easy at times to feel as though America is very near the 2012 predicted by Mayan calendars. The polls have oscillated back in forth to each candidate leaving many decided voters on either side feeling as though they are staring (at least momentarily) into the abyss. And unfortunately I am one of them. If Romney were to win I have a lot of trouble seeing how it would not be a foreign policy apocalypse. Up to now, Mitt has managed to slap British hospitality in the face for absolutely no reason (click here), claim that Palestinian culture is inferior to Jewish culture (blatant racism), and declare Russia America’s number one geopolitical foe. However, at the same token there are plenty of voters that see a second term of Obama as financial implosion (a position that I do not agree with but a sentiment that I can most definitely empathize with). However, these seemingly insurmountable problems may not be so impossible.

According to scientist, journalist, and author, Matt Ridley, the human race is far better off than it was 50 years ago. Check out this link. In his book, The Rational Optimist, Ridley argues that poverty has nosedived, oil is not being spent as fast as is thought, and above all that optimism is correct in any period of modern human development. The doomsayers may grab the headlines but in the end the world moves on. In the 1800s, Thomas Malthus, an economist predicted that famine would plague England because the population was expanding at a greater rate than farms could support and he was wrong. The greater demand spurred an Agricultural Revolution, which resulted in the seven billion people we have today. I agree that America should not sit passively and wait for its budget to be balanced or Medicare to be fixed. People need to stand up and continue to make America great, but at the same time, why are we still searching for a golden age?

Things are better for the American people and the people of the world than they have ever been. And they’re only getting better.

Romney/Ryan Rally

Katie Hibner | Staff Writer

I stood about 150 feet away from Governor Mitt Romney this Saturday.

Romney appeared in front of Lebanon’s historic Golden Lamb before approximately ten-thousand spectators. The crowd was full of voters ranging from the somewhat-interested to almost religiously-loyal Republicans, and news outlets such as NBC and FOX roved through them with cameras and sound equipment.

Preceding Romney were guests such as Senator Robert Portman and former Bengals football player Anthony Munoz. Munoz riled up the crowd with his charming sports analogies and humble appearance, but no one got the people more fired up than Romney himself.

The highlights of Romney’s speech included plans to spur the economy and create jobs. He reiterated his famous “Five-Point Plan” and also spoke of his goal to repeal Obamacare.

“Employers are dropping people from full-time jobs and putting them into part-time jobs in part because of Obamacare,” Romney said. “If I get elected, [I’m] going to repeal Obamacare and put in place real reforms to help hold down the cost of healthcare.”

Romney also addressed the importance of education and said he plans to use it to enhance Ohio’s workforce.

“I want to make sure our people have the skills they need to be able to work in the jobs today,” Romney said.  “[I will] make sure Ohio people have the training they need for Ohio jobs.”

Big Bird was also in the line of fire on Saturday. In fact, one of the only Democrat protestors I saw upon entering the rally was outfitted as the big yellow fowl himself.

“[Obama’s] campaign keeps getting smaller and smaller as he talks about Big Bird,” Romney said. “[My] crowds keep getting bigger and bigger; there’s more of a crescendo and passion about changing Washington and getting a new president.”

While Romney didn’t say anything new about his platform, I believe politics were the least poignant part of the rally experience. Passion took center stage, and I appreciate the positivity Romney took when he kept emphasizing the power of the American spirit.

“I was so sad to see that the majority of Americans, for the first time in history, think the future is bleaker, not better,” Romney said. “[But] the heart of the American people is strong. Regardless of the challenge, [Americans] stand to overcome those challenges. I know it’s true. I’ve seen people in the most extreme circumstances show that kind of courage.”

Romney went on, humanizing the man even I, as a Republican, often mistook to be somewhat wooden.

“A classmate of mine from grad school was made quadriplegic in an automobile accident,” Romney said. “Instead of throwing in the towel and becoming despondent, he became active and raised money for a center for spinal cord injury research. I saw him at an Atlanta event. I put my hand on his shoulder and I said ‘God bless you. I love you.’ The next day I heard he passed away. It’s rare you get the chance to tell someone how you really feel.”

Romney’s background was also exposed in the form of home videos and interviews broadcasted on a large screen. They detailed his business knowledge, rise to political power, and, most interestingly, his sweet love story with Ann. Although his beginnings were painted as humble as possible, Romney himself, however, wasn’t humble in addressing his debate with Obama.

“About a week ago I had a debate, and I did enjoy myself,” Romney said, inspiring guffaws from the crowd.

The Republican team was smart in their handling of the rural Ohio audience. Down-home country music livened up the event between guest speakers, and Romney wisely gave special treatment to the veterans at the rally.

“I make a commitment to you that Paul Ryan and I will keep this country strong with a strong military,” Romney said. “[Let] members of our armed services please be recognized.”

Romney definitely garnered resounding support from his crowd (often in the form of shouts such as “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!” and “Say it, boy!”), and for me, it was support well-deserved. While he did deprecate Obama’s policies, he focused on the positive aspects of American resilience and the confidence he has that better times are soon to come. It was a rally for support, not hatred, and Romney’s appeal to the hearts and morals of Americans was just what his campaign needed.


Governor Mitt Romney speaks at the Golden Lamb in Lebanon on Saturday, October 14th.

Misplaced trust

Chris DeLotell | MHS Alumni Class of 2005

As a senior at MHS in 2004, I couldn’t have been more excited about getting to vote for the first time. Regardless of the candidates, I knew voting in my first presidential election would be a memorable experience. But I was even more fired up because I fell in love with the message of one candidate in particular: A young senator from North Carolina named John Edwards.

Edwards had everything it took, or so it seemed. He was a successful “man of the people,” who had made his fortune as a lawyer who sued big corporations on behalf of families whose children had been injured by faulty products. He came from modest means (his dad was a steelworker in Pennsylvania). He had an inspriational, intelligent wife (lawyer Elizabeth Edwards, who had beaten breast cancer). He had a cute family (including a six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son).

Perhaps most important of all, John Edwards looked and sounded like a president is supposed to look and sound. When he spoke, I didn’t just want to believe him, I did believe him. When he smiled and flashed his trademark thumbs up to the crowds at political rallies, I was convinced that he would be the perfect president. He was a man who “got it,” and had the intelligence and skills it took to run the country.

So I was disappointed when Edwards didn’t win the Democratic nomination, but heartened when he was chosen as John Kerry’s running mate. I got a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker, and even wrote a column in the Chronicle about why I was voting for them. They lost, but I kept my interest in John Edwards and waited for him to make his run at the presidency in 2008.

He did, and I backed him completely. The smile, the family, the speeches…everything was back and just as impressive at it had been four years earlier. But he campaign flamed out, and his life followed.

In short order, John Edwards: had an affair with a campaign staffer, impregnated that campaign staffer, tried to buy her silence by going around dozens of campaign finance laws, coerced another of his employees to falsely claim paternity of the child, and made plans to leave his wife. All while his wife was battling a reoccurance of breast cancer.

This man who I was so convinced would make the perfect president wasn’t even a good man. John Edwards let down a lot of people: his wife, his kids, his parents, his campaign staff. He also let down his supporters. People like me who chose to believe him and believe in him.

But from John Edwards I learned a valuable lesson: look deeper. As a voter, it is easy to be wowed by the way a candidate speaks, looks, and sounds. It is simple to fall in love with a narrative of good deeds done and hardships overcome. We want to be swept off our feet by someone who makes the difficult choice an easy one, and we are just waiting for the candidate who does that to come along.

It doesn’t work that way. As citizens who are given a great responsibility in voting for the most powerful politician in the world, we are required to do our homework. We must look closely at what the candidates stand for, not just on one issue but on all issues. We should then – and only then – decide which candidate represents more of what we believe. We might still fall for the wrong candidate, but at least we will have made a real effort to get it right.

Learn more about DeLotell on thecspn.com’s Alumni Advisory Council page here.