What’s at Stake in the Presidential Election – Drugs, Gender and Prioritizing Our Values

After the debate Wednesday night, I expected the panelists in “What’s in Stake in the 2012 Election” to prioritize taxes above anything else. Interestingly, the panelists agreed that the most pressing issue of the 2012 election would be the War on Drugs and also agreed that it will probably never be mentioned during the election season. They noted that the war on drugs is a war on the poor, an ideological and economic battle, and that a lot of the country’s policies are centered on the issue of drug legalization.  It is a fascinating approach to “taxes”, as the legalization of drugs could promote greater taxes and would help tackle many economic woes within the United States.

Carol Tracy spoke about the gender gap in rights and voting.  She remarked that if “Title 7 were to appear before Congress now, it would not pass”.   For Title 7, along with other acts including the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women Act, our country has either stagnated or has fallen behind in our approach towards gender equality and women’s reproductive rights.  In her opinion, the radical remarks by the right wing, which wants to control women, could inspire women to vote for the opposition.

There is also a lack of focus on support for pregnant women and battered women; there are few, if any, known help lines for the more than 1000 women who call 911 for help with domestic violence.  Law and police have become the first response.

In light of all the issues, one audience member stated that she is not impressed by a candidate’s stance on same-sex marriage if there is a violent foreign policy (the panelists noted that Obama has detained more people than past cabinets).  The response was that in the current economic climate, politics are local.  Toorjo Ghose suggested that we look beyond the two party system to third party options, instead of choosing the lesser of two evils.

I was initially upset that he recommended voting for a third party.  The way our system has evolved, it seems very unlikely that a third party could ever take office.  However, a third party can actually influence which issues are discussed, candidate stances and assign greater priority to certain topics in the media.  As young voters in the class, I’d like us to think about the ranking our priorities and having to choose lesser of two evils. Many times, the candidates and media rank priorities for us.  This election, many people will probably vote for the candidate who best protects their wallet.

How can we aim to keep particular issues that we feel passionate about at the forefront of the debates (ex. According to the panelists, drugs will probably not be mentioned at all; as GSWS students, the gender gap)?  How will we determine which priorities we value most in the coming election (for the audience member, the stance on violence outweighed her concern about same-sex marriage)?

Links:

Title 7: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

Radical comments by Right Wing (video link below) : https://gsws002.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/womens-rights-and-the-2012-election/

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