When I think about this presidential election, I worry more and more about what's really at stake: The rights of a woman to choose what she will and will not do to her body. Our financial instability. The young people we are leaving buried behind in an education system that will prevent them from competing in a global market. And the right of a person to love who they want and fight for the country they love. What keeps me up at night is the thought that our founding principles will be forgotten. That life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be overshadowed by self-interest and greed.
When choosing a president, I am looking for someone who is willing to take on the tough issues for our future - not just for the next four years, but the next 40. What keeps me up at night are the issues that may not show an immediate gain in focus groups and surveys. It's fixing Social Security, protecting our fragile environment and, most importantly, investing in education. These are not goals that can be achieved with one speech, one piece of legislation or even one term in office. We need a president who will stand up, not for the polls of today but for the history of tomorrow. Let's ensure that future generations get a good night's sleep.
What keeps me up at night is the wealth disparity in this country. My family and I fall in the middle-class category and in my adulthood I have seen that group shrink. According to CNN, the median household income in 2000 was $53,164, and 10 years later it had fallen to $49,445. And the poverty level is rising. Yet in just the last three years the top 1 percent of people have seen their income rise 11.6 percent. What scares me is that this trend will continue.
Charles L. Herndon III
Since 9/11, our leaders have placed undue emphasis on the common defense, growing annual military spending to over $700 billion (the most since World War II), more than 50 percent of discretionary government spending. With the Iraq and Afghan wars ending, it is time to reduce defense spending and use the resulting hundreds of billions of dollars in savings to fund the nondefense elements of our union. It worries me to think that during the next four years Mitt Romney (or a recalcitrant Congress under President Obama) will squander these savings and plow them back into a bloated military.
While watching the second debate, I was struck by Gov. Romney's disconnect for everyone else except those within his social bracket. He seemed to have little respect for the moderator (a woman), and none for the president. He avoided the question about equal pay for women. He brought up his religious belief, as if that qualifies him to represent me. The idea that he would attempt to run this country more on his God/church's moral values is frightening.
The impact of globalization on politics keeps me awake at night. Today, the development of an increasingly integrated global economy - marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets - is a reality. With globalization, it seems quite possible to create or eliminate jobs and opportunities both quickly and broadly, not only impacting standards of living, but legislative and financial priorities as well, here at home and abroad.
Are the politics of globalization a tension between the struggle for prosperity and the struggle to preserve community values? Does globalization have the power necessary to drive trade and innovation, which include the very basics of food, energy resources and jobs? Will voters think about this?
The recent massive shift from what the founders envisioned as the soul of the United States of America is what keeps me up at night, from a citizen-centric form of government towards a tyrannical central government.
I worry why success is frowned upon, why wealth is a bad thing and why government must make society more egalitarian. I affirm that we should help our fellow citizens who can't help themselves, but we no longer differentiate between people who can't and those who won't help themselves.
I'm worried that the standard of living my great-grandparents and grandparents created and my parents sustained for me will be forever diminished. I feel we cannot tax ourselves back into prosperity. That the government must get out of the way, not more involved in economic issues.
But what really keeps me up at night is a second term for President Obama. I'm not sure the republic will survive if he's re-elected and that the dream of the great men who created this exceptional country will be forever lost to the trash heap of history.
The Daily News People's Editorial Board is a group of nine citizens who meet every month to discuss and weigh in on the big issues facing the city and nation. Follow their work on philly.com/philly/blogs/peb