Tonight we will see the heavily anticipated first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and his challenger, Willard “Mitt” Romney. To be honest, though I will be looking at the debate over a plate of hot wings and a shot of tequila, I’m not exactly sure of what I am looking for or expecting to see. I want to say that I am looking for specifics on policy but in the event that I don’t hear them will that change my vote? Probably not.
Am I hoping for President Obama to become openly agitated and say, “Let’s be clear” aka (“ain’t nobody got time for that”)? Yes, but only because it brings me a great deal of joy.
Am I hoping for Mitt “Foot in His Mouth” Romney to say that he could “buy two or three Barack Hussein Obamas” if he wanted to? Yes, but only because that will give me weeks of awesome material for my blog.
I expect the two candidates to look as presidential and as presidential-like as possible. Black suit/navy suit. Red tie with blue squares. Blue tie with black squares. Princess waves will abound to the audience. Flashy watches, Ferragamos, and black hair dye will be nowhere to be found as these two millionaires are common men. Salt and pepper hair will glisten under the stage lights.
Yet, despite the pageantry, will we learn any more about the choices we have in picking the direction of our country?
I’m going out on a limb to say that I hope so.
Like so many other campaign seasons, this election has been dubbed with the ominous title of the MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN RECENT HISTORY. With no looming threat of nuclear war, many who are fortunate enough to have not been impacted by the economy will ponder of the significance of paying attention to an otherwise one-man election (considering the relative self-combustion of the Republican Party and their candidate).
For me, there is no issue more important than the economy and no vehicle for change more important than education. As someone old enough to have lived through the crack 80s, the welfare reform 90s, the bling’ bling’ 2000s, and the mediocre second decade post-millennium, I understand that everything has a cycle so I no longer hold my breath for a quick fix to our country’s vast economic woes. However, what I am looking for is for someone (and I am praying that it is my candidate) to have the audacity to proactively plan for the long term economic improvement of our country, its workforce, and its children.
I believe there is no single factor more important to the fate our country than education.
The ramifications of a third world educational system have reached a fever pitch in many metropolitan cities where children will choose to gamble with their lives on a daily basis rather than go to school. The impact of an ill-trained workforce has been revealed as we examine the fact that there are 3.2 million unfilled job openings despite 12 million people being out of work. There is a dire mismatch between the skillset of our workforce and those being demanded by employers. This will only become more drastic as our country strives to remain competitive in a rapidly advancing global economy.
To recite platitudes and sound bites about the “jobs that will be created” in the green economy/sciences/healthcare/transportation and logistics without discussing a plan to train our young adults and children (the people who would realistically benefit from such jobs) of the skills needed to fill emerging opportunities in these sectors would simply be lip service. Any other proposition of a long term strategy to improve our economy would just be a short term solution.
So I’ll be watching and listening carefully…will you?
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[Image courtesy of rollingout.com]