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Both Presidential Candidates Missed the Mark

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Bob Schieffer once said, “American politics used to be an amateur sport. But somewhere along the way, we handed over to professionals all the things people used to do for free.” That is what America witnessed tonight in our final Presidential debate: two professional politicians of the modern era that could seemingly only come to disagreements when they shrewdly shifted the topics of discussion away from foreign policy and towards domestic policy time and time again Monday evening.

When did our country take the turn towards deciding on a leader that has the best plan for fixing others’ issues as opposed to fixing our own problems here at home? Why are we debating over China’s currency manipulation while our very own Federal Reserve manipulates our own currency on a daily basis? Our professional politicians should try answering those questions before they continue to spoon feed us fallacies along the lines of the Egyptian Revolution being a success despite the military having never given up power in what was little more than a military coup.

Both candidates agreed on Iranian sanctions tonight – our media will probably praise them for agreeing on something. Sanctions are intended to force a government to cooperate with international law by most often limiting a country through trade limitations. The largest impactsof these sanctions are often felt by the innocent and lower class citizens of these countries, not by their wealthy leaders. The Economist recently reported that sanctions on Iran have caused “pervasive unemployment, inflation, medicine shortages, and even food riots.” Instilling human suffering on a people from a country whose leadership already does not care about its citizens is not a policy we should support from our President and “leader of the free world.”

Drone warfare was a subject last night that our two candidates agreed on as well. President Obama clearly spoke out against pre-emptive strikes involving our soldiers – that’s a good thing, but on the other hand, he has clearly been in full support of drone warfare since in office. Yet despite somehow finding that impossible balance between being the peace candidate and outdoing former President Bush on military spending, Obama got the full support of Mitt Romney on this subject. “We should use any and all means necessary to take out our enemies,” Romney said. He then went on to classify Pakistan as “technically an ally.” Unfortunately, we also technically violate their sovereignty on a daily basis with our drone attacks.

President Obama even admitted tonight to “ignoring” Pakistan’s sovereignty when on the topic of Osama bin Laden, and that carries over to our drone strikes as well. According to a cooperative study done by Stanford and NYU entitled “Living Under Drones,” the citizens of Pakistan have begun to develop psychological disorders and anti-American sentiments due to these daily attacks. Are we supposed to support human suffering dished out from a military control room here at home?

If tonight was supposed to be about swaying undecided voters, both candidates missed the mark. The Romney campaign had a clear opportunity to even slightly differ from the invasive Obama policies in the middle-east but instead fully backed them along with continuing to needlessly poke at Russia, pushing away any fringe moderates and libertarians that may have been swayed towards Romney after the first two debates.

Unfortunately the Obama camp didn’t fare any better. When prompted on whether or not President Obama set a vision for why he should have four more years, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger simply said “No.” And she’s right. Obama did use the old Ron Paul line of “we spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined,” but he’s about three years and three nation-building projects late with that one.

The days of amateur American politics are long gone, and many third party voters will continue to get pushed away from voting booths after scripted displays such as the one we saw tonight. “The lesser of two evils is still evil,” they will continue to say.

Our two candidates agree on too much that is too bad, and that is what will sink one of them and all of us come November.

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