All of the television channels in my home were set and some channels were set for recording. My friends and I agreed we would telephone each other only after the debate. I was glued to the television. President Obama was leading in the polls and Mitt Romney was positioned as the Champion of the 1% and King of Flip Flop.
Not long into the first debate of this presidential election season, I found myself screaming at the television. Screaming at our President “Say something! Don’t let him get away with that! Tell everyone what you have done!” It never happened. The President who has a solid record of achievement and real results did not deliver during the first debate. I was more than disappointed, I was angry. What happened? Why did he not highlight his accomplishments? Why did he not hold Mitt Romney accountable for the far right, racist, misogynistic, preferential class policies he has advocated over the entire course of this race? Our president, my president, did not do any of those things.
I am still a bit angry. Angry because we, avid supporters of the President, should not be in this place. Angry because he did not fight as we are all willing to fight for this country and him each day. But all is not loss. Although disappointed, I remain an avid supporter of President Barack Obama because of policies, practices, and principles of a President who has stood up for the middle class, for those who need a hand-up, for those who are disenfranchised, and for those who due to no fault of their own find themselves residents on these glorious shores.
My vote has not been swayed by the first presidential debate. Policies, practices, and principles matter. The media keep referring to “low information voters”. Trust me, that term is euphuism for uninformed, get-all-the-information-on-the-6:00-news-voters. Low information voters supposedly do not care enough to research the issues or probe the motives of politicians.
The most recent Pew Polls found Mitt Romney leading President Obama among likely voters, getting a 12% boost following the first presidential debate. Most incredible in the Pew findings is President Obama no longer has a significant lead among women voters. Obama and Romney are now tied. All of this follows the poor performance by Obama and an impressive performance by Romney in the first presidential debate. The key word is “performance”. Mitt Romney deserved an Oscar! Sadly, low information voters were impressed. In the absence of our President ripping the covers off the scam, what else can we expect?
Remember the importance of substance. Policies, practices, principles matter! Although in a lack-luster style, our President did shape meaningful content rich policy discussions during the debate. Real results should matter as we move closer to the election. Lets take women in American society. President Barack Obama has a strong track record championing issues that support the well being of women in a holistic way. It is no accident his first piece of legislation was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women on the Supreme Court, women in his administration, and health and wellness initiatives, which benefit women most directly, are hallmarks of his administration.
The media are now all over the notion that women care more about jobs than other “social” issues. This is supposedly driving the Pew findings. Are women now clueless about the connection between reproductive rights and economic well being? Have we now forgotten the two are intricately woven together? If a woman does not control her reproductive reality she cannot control her economic reality. The two are inextricably linked.
I am old enough to remember the kinds of questions employers would routinely ask women about their reproductive plans before either hiring or promoting them. I am old enough to remember when a woman started “showing” during pregnancy she had to leave work with little or no benefits until the baby was born. While today employer questions about a woman’s reproductive plans are considered out-of-bounds, the questions have not gone away.
I agree with most folk who watched the debate. Our president did not show up. He performed poorly and Mitt Romney lied for 90-minutes. It was indeed a performance. What we believe, what we stand for, what we vote for is bigger than a 90-minute debate. Bigger than even our great President Barack Obama. This election is about the beauty and wonder of our country – America!
A lack luster performance during a 90-minute debate must not take our eye off the real prize: America, land of the free and home of the brave where we the people rule! All of us probably know at least one low information voter. It is our civic duty to give them the facts about policies, practices, and principles that differentiate President Barak Obama and Mitt Romney.