Opinion | Voters should examine election issues closely, resist pandering of candidates
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
Unless a Miami University student has been intentionally avoiding the media, walking around with earplugs in, and if he or she is a first-year that skipped convocation, he or she knows that Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan is a Miami Alumnus. After graduating with the Miami class of 1992, Ryan went on to earn his Masters Degree from American University and has spent his professional life in politics.
A friend recently asked an upperclassman Romney supporter why he should choose the Romney/Ryan ticket. He was met in all seriousness with the answer, “Because he went to Miami!”
Now, Miami is a fine university, which produces well-educated individuals, but somehow, I don’t think that the student who was trying to persuade my friend to vote for the Republican ticket was trying to convince him that Ryan is particularly intelligent. No, I believe she was appealing to his sense of school spirit and assumed loyalty to all things Miami.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with liking Paul Ryan personally because of his alumnus status, I find it tremendously concerning that anyone would choose a president based on his VP’S affiliation with his or her school. The president of the United States is often referred to as “the leader of the free world” and while that title may be a bit indulgent, the power it implies is more or less accurate. The man who wins the 2012 election will have an enormous amount of influence over not only the perception of the United States to the rest of the world, but over the next four years of American policy decisions.
According to The Miami Student online poll, 50 percent of the 708 respondents believe that Romney’s choice of Ryan as a running mate will enable the Grand Old Party to take back the White House.
But what are the reasons behind this confidence? Are Miami students basing their assumptions on the observation that many of their friends and classmates are Romney/Ryan (or, just Ryan) supporters? If so, is Miami student support of the Republican ticket based on the pair’s political promise or just Ryan’s alma mater?
It is natural, perhaps even instinctual, for us as members of the Miami community to wish Ryan well, a fact he pandered to when he visited campus on Aug. 17 and told us he likes his Skyline Chili “5 way” and made jokes about not being good enough to make the hockey team.
Frankly, I don’t care how Ryan likes his Skyline or how athletic he is. I also don’t care what his favorite color is or whether he’s a Coke or Pepsi man. I won’t choose to vote for him just because he’s a member of my faith or an alumnus of my school. What I will do is continue to pay attention to what he and Romney have to say about what they will do for our country, how they will do it and why they believe it will work.
Congressman Ryan has done some noteworthy things in his years in the house, including drafting a more balanced budget and serving on the House Budget committee. Romney has finally boiled his 59-point economic plan to five reasonable steps to get the U.S. back on track, and his personal success with money speaks to his business acumen.
Though my social politics are slightly more aligned with President Obama’s, to quote Republican congressional candidate Mia Love, “We are not better off than we were four years ago, and no rhetoric, bumper sticker or campaign ad can change that.” As I feel the integrity of our economy is the most important thing to preserve at this point in our history, my vote will most likely go to Romney.
Mine is only one of many opinions, however, and we Americans must remember that the decision we make in about nine weeks will have a monumental impact on the future of our country. We must examine the respective political plans with scrutiny, choose the pair who will best represent our interests and disregard either’s affiliation with our favorite school, state, or fraternity.
Miami students who genuinely believe that President Obama and Vice President Biden are the best choice for the next four years: you have no reason to feel guilty or disloyal. Fellow students who feel Romney and Congressman Ryan are the best fit for the job: please don’t undermine the rest of us who have good reasons to support them by making it seem like the pair’s greatest merit is Ryan having graduated from Miami.
While love for our great university is certainly a good thing, I encourage my fellow Miamians to give their vote for president the scrutiny it deserves.