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Is Mitt Romney Right?

September 23rd, 2012

If you’re a loyal visitor to Our Voice Counts, you know that we’ve already debated whether or not America is becoming a society of moochers.

Turns out, GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney shares some of our thoughts.

Although it’s probably not the way he would have preferred the information come out, a video of a Romney fundraiser has been the talk of much discussion over the past few days.  On it, Romney talks about the people whom he can never convince to vote for him over President Obama.  According to Romney:

“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.”

As of 2011, 46% of Americans paid no income taxes.  So, there are plenty of people who want to be PAID by the system — but aren’t willing to PAY INTO the system.  Romney mentions these people by saying:

“I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives…”

Even though the video was leaked without his knowledge, Romney has stood by his comments.

So, is he right?

Has America turned into a “me-first” society?  Are Americans simply looking for a handout?  Has it really been that long since John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,”?

Regardless of what you think about Mitt Romney’s political beliefs, is he right?  Is a huge portion of Americans dependent on the government?  What would our forefathers think about that?  More importantly, what do YOU think about that?

Have We Become a Bunch of Moochers?

September 10th, 2012

The famous (or infamous, depending on your personal views) “99%” movement says one of its main issues is economic inequality — specifically, that there’s a huge, unfair gap between the rich and poor in America.

But isn’t that really just a fancy way of saying that these protesters want to mooch off the rich?

So many of the political protests we see are about people wanting free stuff.  You see people protesting that banks should stop foreclosing on homes or that lenders should forgive student loan debts.  Some people want to take it a step further and say that public colleges should be free for anyone who wants to attend them.  Even recent changes to welfare laws give exemptions to people in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) — meaning that they don’t necessarily have to work in order to receive their benefits.

So, does that mean we’ve become a society of moochers?

Make no mistake, people receiving government handouts come in every shape and size, from both sides of the political aisle.  While Republican leaders are firmly against having the federal government pay for anything and everything (Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney even went so far as to say that all of our government programs “foster passivity and sloth”), many of their supporters are among the millions of Americans getting billions of dollars in federal aid.

But doesn’t this go against everything America stands for?  Aren’t we the country that was formed to get away from a big, overreaching government?  Doesn’t the American Dream mean building something of your own and prospering from it?

Or are we seeing a new American Dream in the works — one where everything is handed to you by someone else?

Protesting Everyone?

September 4th, 2012

If you turn on coverage of the Democratic National Convention this week, you’ll undoubtedly see protesters getting some air time.  In fact, so far, there are more DNC protestors than there were at the RNC last week — a major surprise to many a political pundit!

The DNC hasn’t even started yet, and Occupiers have more than 100 people living in their encampment.  Several hundred protestors marched through Charlotte’s business district on Sunday, spouting off views about everything from the war in Afghanistan to immigration.

It’s an interesting turn of events, considering that President Obama has always been vocal in his support of protests like these — especially when it comes to the Occupiers.  In fact, when the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began last year, the President said, “We understand their struggles, and we are on their side.”

So, why aren’t Occupiers on his side?

In fairness, the Occupiers are not fans of the GOP, either.  In fact, many protestors went straight from Tampa (and calling Mitt Romney the “king of the 1%ers”) to Charlotte.

So, why are they protesting EVERYONE?  What is it that they WANT?

That’s an answer that’s tough to get.

In fact, there seems to be as many opinions as there are protestors.  At best, the Occupiers send a mixed message — shown off most glaringly by their attacks on corporate greed, all while snapping pictures with their iPhones.

But that’s not all they’re against.  They also don’t like housing evictions, nuclear weapons, and the hopelessness of the nation’s unemployed workers.

The problem?

Without a solid, cohesive message, they’re confusing people more than encouraging them to join in.  And, by being against everyone on both sides of the political aisle, who do they think is going to solve their problems?

The Media and Politics — Why is the Line So Fuzzy?

September 4th, 2012

Open up any history book, and you’ll see what a big role Ben Franklin played in the earliest days of American politics.  Among his many accomplishments, Franklin spent time in the Pennsylvania Assembly, the Constitutional Convention, and the Continental Congress.

But did you know that Franklin was also a newspaper man?

He owned — and wrote articles for — the Pennsylvania Gazette.  He even drew America’s very first political cartoon — a snake carved up into pieces, with the words “Join, or Die” underneath it.  Each portion of the snake represented a Colony.  Its message was clear — stand together against British rule.

But what would we say if one of the current leaders in Washington owned, wrote for, and drew cartoons for a newspaper?  Would we argue that the politician’s views were getting in the way of news-telling?

Sadly, it’s not the politicians we have to worry about.  These days, it’s the reporters who seem to be getting in the way of news-telling!

Decades ago, TV stations and newspapers forbid reporters and anchors from even having political bumper stickers on their cars — much less sharing any political views on the air or in print.  Today, political opinions are flying around on every channel!

Just check out some of the headlines surrounding Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

From NBC News:

“Will Romney exploit the same ‘facts’ Ryan did in the biggest speech of his life?”

From the Associated Press:

“Romney’s deficit vow is shallow”

From the Washington Post:

“Romney’s rushed, muddled speech”

From Vanity Fair:

“Mitt Romney’s best-yet speech is (finally) heartfelt”

There are news outlet attacks on both sides of the aisle, and these are only some of the most recent examples.  But after seeing some of these latest headlines, you can’t help but wonder — when did sarcasm and personal attacks become news?  When did the author’s opinions become bigger than the story?  What happened to reporting the who, what, where, when, why — and leaving it at that?

What’s the Story Behind Third-Party Candidates?

August 29th, 2012

The U.S. has had a two-party political system for hundreds of years — ever since the Federalists and the Republicans started duking things out in 1791.

But every now and then, a third-party candidate comes along and shakes things up.

In 2012, Ron Paul certainly made a splash — even though the Libertarian technically ran as a Republican.  Now that he’s out of the race, Gary Johnson is trying to mount a campaign against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Before that, we had Ralph Nader in 2000.  And, of course, who could ever forget Ross Perot in 1992?

Historically, third-party candidates don’t get a ton of votes in Presidential elections, but they can do a lot to derail the other guys.

Just look at what Ross Perot did…

Even though he officially dropped out of the race in July of 1992, he clearly siphoned off votes that would have otherwise gone to George H.W. Bush in November.  But even more importantly, Perot spent his entire campaign drawing lots of attention to the national debt — something that incumbent Bush was responsible for.  So, when Bill Clinton came along and said tax increases were the only way to close the deficit, people were more willing to listen.

So, where did the idea of third-party candidates come from?

The names may change over the years (after all, America has seen everything from the Free Soil Party, to the Southern Democrat Party, to the Reform Party, to the Green Party, to the Libertarian Party), but the purpose is always the same — to focus on what they believe are the “right” issues and to make sure that these issues are dealt with properly.

What do you think?  Do these parties deserve more credit?  Do you think they could ever replace one of the “mainstream” parties?

 

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