Caley Donovan-The last presidential debate: a glimpse at what is wrong with the United States

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The Last Presidential Debate- A glimpse at what is wrong with the United States

Listening to the Presidential Debate, I was impossibly disappointed. I had hoped, perhaps naively, to hear two well-educated, globally aware candidates debate foreign possibly. Instead, I was inundated with irrelevant, often unfounded rhetoric. I learned little about either beyond their desperation to pander to voters. Throughout it, the theme of “America is the best, and the savior of all” was predominant. THAT is exactly what is wrong with the United States today.
An aura of excessive pride was predominant, as was condescension. I was hugely dismayed by Mitt Romney’s early statement that the key to a peaceful world was “to get the Muslim world to be able to reject extremism on its own.” Does he really mean to insinuate that Islamic world, as a whole, embraces or passively accepts extremism. Well, since he doesn’t seem to know, I’ll tell you- it’s not true. Anyone who has payed attention to Pakistan recently can see that the majority of the civilians are moderate, rational people. They are rising up against the few bring violence in the name of religion. The majority of the Islamic World is comprised of moderate, peace loving people just like me or you. I know, I’ve met many of them. That Mitt Romney would look down and lay blame upon an entire religion for the very fringe extremists is a terrible injustice. It’s this heavy handed blame and ignorance that is the problem of America today.
The debate, as with the others, was littered with over simplifications and gaping holes in policy. I hope I wasn’t the only one who cringed when Romney said “my strategy’s pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys.” No. This isn’t a comic book, Mr. Romney, and you certainly aren’t Superman. Nothing in life is can be broken down to black and white, and goodness knows, solutions to world problems are not simple. I cannot stand attempts to paint America as “good guys” and our enemies as “bad guys.” We are not “good.” America has done much wrong- torture, civilian casualties, support of oppressive regimes. The problem with America today is that nothing is that simple, and we try to make it be.
The candidates both spent much of the time bragging about, and planning to, kill, extra-judicially, enemies. Did it strike anyone else strange that this was considered one of the greatest accomplishments? Since when is killing someone something to aspire to? In one of the drone strikes targeting Al-Qaeda leaders, the 16 year old American citizen son of one leader was killed. This is a problem. Has the right to a trial been waived? Can the military now kill civilians on a whim? The fact the killing is seen as a cause for celebration is the problem of America today.
I’ve really begun to worry that neither candidate knows much about foreign policy. Mitt Romney said that he would indict Ahmadinejad on charges of genocide. No. Just no. Does he know what genocide is? You can indict Omar al-Bashir for ordering systematic scorched earth policy, rape, and mass murder in the Darfur region. You cannot indict Ahmadinejad for TALKING about wanting an end to the Israeli regime. A misdirection of priorities in our view of the world is a problem of America today.
The last, most general critique I have for the debate is this- the debate was not really about foreign policy. Rather than address real foreign policy issues, the candidates kept bringing it back to domestic policy and the economy. It seems, they don’t care about the state of the rest of the world- our money is more important. The only way, they seem to suggest, the world is important is the way it directly affects us, and especially our economy. That’s just wrong. This single-minded, nationalistic focus is the problem of America today.
Until this debate, I was feeling hesitantly optimistic that the country might be ok. Now, though, I’m rather dissapointed in both candidates. I’m not confident I can trust either to be a good voice of the USA to the rest of the world. Right now, we desperately need to make friends. Romney says Iran is the greatest threat to America, Obama says terrorism; I say it’s our condescending, self-centered attitude.

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