As everyone who owns a television or a home phone is well aware, tomorrow is election day. For many of us, this is an exciting chance to choose our leaders and to help pass new laws and legislation. For others, this will be an end to the seemingly endless slew of political advertisements and solicitations.
There are a lot of important decisions to be made, and I’m sure that many of you are having a tough time deciding in which direction to vote. I’m guessing that some of you have said, “If only I knew where the Cutter stood on the issues!”
You don’t have to wonder any further. I present to you a very special edition of The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America in which I’ll discuss some of the key contests and issues on the ballot.
The Cutter’s Guide to Fixing America: Election Day
Those of you who read my first installment of TCGTFA will remember that I said that politicians aren’t necessarily the answer, and that the burden of improving the country should rest on the people. I stand by that, but I also recognize that someone is going to be elected to these offices. Somebody is going to be setting the nation’s policy, so it behooves us all to make our voice heard and vote for leaders who we think will best serve our interests.
We also have the chance to approve legislation, providing us with an opportunity to cut out the middle man and set some policy ourselves.
I will start off by saying that I am a registered Democrat and my opinions tend to lean to the left. For any conservatives reading this, you’re going to probably take issue with some of what I have to say.
If the country had just voted for Al Gore in 2000, we’d all be in a much better place right now. Sorry, I forgot for a second that more people actually did vote for Gore in 2000, so let me rephrase that: If Gore had won more electoral votes in 2000, we’d all be in a better place right now.
But alas, W was elected to the Oval Office, and twelve years later, we’re still trying to recover.
I will admit that in 2008, I was actually hoping that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination for President. Once she failed, I moved my support to the man who actually did win the nomination: Barack Obama. As I hope you are aware, Obama won the election. Many people said that the election of Obama was a great moment in American history, as he was the first minority to be elected as President.
If you enjoy Transformers analogies, (and who doesn’t?) I’d say that Obama getting election was similar to when Hot Rod seized the Matrix and was transformed into Rodimus Prime. They were both glorious moments, but once the smoke cleared, the new leader was often negatively compared to a great leader from the past. (Bill Clinton and Optimus Prime)
It didn’t matter that things had actually started to go downhill while that great leader was in power. (Bush era problems started to take hold at the tail end of Clinton’s second term, and the Decepticons were able to conquer Cybertron while Optimus was still around)
Both Obama and Rodimus had a huge hole to dig out of, mostly because their immediate predecessors (Ultra Magnus and W) made such a mess of things, but people got impatient quickly when there wasn’t an instant turnaround. (Slow economic recovery, and in addition to the Decepticons, the Autobots also had to deal with the Quintessons!)
The Autobots were able to solve this problem by resurrecting Optimus Prime. Unfortunately, as much as many of us would like it to happen, the Constitution prevents Clinton from returning to the presidency.
I’d like to congratulate myself for that analogy that almost assuredly lost the attention of all but the nerdiest of my readers.
Despite the slower than hoped for recovery, I still believe that Obama is the better choice to get the country back into top shape over the next four years.
Many will claim that the economy is all that really matters. If people are doing well financially, then everything else simply falls into place. Even if the economy is all you consider, then shouldn’t we stick with Obama considering the seemingly positive direction in which the economy has been heading?
Obama’s opponents will point to the still large national debt. From what I can tell, the national debt is something that Republicans only like to worry about when they can use it as propaganda against a Democratic candidate. Most of their actions indicate that it isn’t really a huge concern for them otherwise.
The deficit is indeed still large, but it has slowly receded. In addition, unemployment rates are decreasing, and there has been an increase in jobs. I think these slow improvements are evidence that Obama’s plan is indeed working. If there had been a way for Obama to snap his fingers and set the economy right back in 2009, I’m sure he would have done it. But considering the massive recession that the country was mired in, it might have been unrealistic to expect an instant turnaround.
Some may have criticized Obama’s “big government” tendencies. Well, wasn’t the country in need of government intervention? Haven’t these policies helped to get things back on track? So why change direction now?
Mitt Romney’s supporters seem to think that because he was a successful businessman, he’ll be able to get the American economy in top shape. Yet, he doesn’t seem to have much of a plan besides tax cuts on the wealthy. Haven’t we tried that before?
I think it is also worthwhile to take a look beyond the economy. While I’ll admit that money is a major concern for everyone, I also don’t feel like it is the end all, be all when it comes to the issues facing America.
I am in favor of Obama’s health care reforms, and as the father of a daughter, it greatly concerns me what a Romney presidency would do for women’s rights. I would hate to see the country be set back in these areas just because the wealthy want to pay less in taxes.
Has Obama delivered the instant turnaround that many expected in 2008? No, but I don’t know if any president would have been able to provide that. Still, I think the country is better off than it was four years ago, and if we re-elect Obama, it will be even better four years from now.
Since Maryland is not a battleground state, we haven’t been the target of too many presidential ads. That void has been filled by the endless stream of advertisements regarding Question 7 on the Maryland ballot.
For those of you who do not live in Maryland or have tuned it all out, here’s a quick tutorial.
At first glance, the amount of attention this issue has received is staggering. Then you learn that the campaigns both for and against the measure are being funded by casino groups, one of which will likely profit greatly depending on how this vote turns out. Then it makes a lot more sense.
Support for Question 7 is being funded by MGM Casino group, who will most likely build a new casino at National Harbor if the measure passes.
The opposition is funded by Penn National Gaming who runs the casino at Charles Town Racetrack in West Virginia. If the measure passes, their business stands to take a massive hit.
At first, I thought that I would either vote against Question 7 or abstain, since the plan does indeed have some flaws, and I didn’t think it really mattered which casino group made more money. I then realized that part of the anti-7 group’s strategy was to actually induce voter fatigue, so I decided to take a closer look at the issue.
Supporters claim that the additional gambling money will be applied towards education, and by building a new casino, there will be more jobs. But as the opposition will tell you, the additional income doesn’t necessarily have to go towards education. And the new jobs that will be created won’t necessarily all be filled by Maryland residents.
On the other hand, the more money that comes into the Maryland economy, the more money that can be spent on education – or perhaps more accurately, the less money that will have to be redirected elsewhere from the education budget. And sure, some of the jobs might be filled by outsiders, but I’m sure many will be filled by Maryland residents. And regardless of who fills the position, isn’t it a good thing if more jobs are created?
Sure, regardless of how the vote goes, one of these casino groups is going to get a lot of money. But if my state can benefit from it rather than West Virginia, then I’m all in favor. I’m voting Yes on Question 7.
There are several other contests and questions on the ballot, but I don’t have the energy to go over all of them. I’m sure that wherever you live, you have other similarly important matters to decide. Regardless of your particular stance on the issues, I encourage you all to educate yourself as much as possible, and cast your vote.
Happy voting everyone!