Before you hit the booth, know the truth

By Tim Drugan-Eppich

Collegian File Photo

I often engage in discussions with my peers about the upcoming election because I see it as holding extraordinary weight for our future.  What I find troubling is the fact that at least half of my colleagues say, “Oh, I don’t care; I’m not really into politics.”

We are college students. We are young adults who are at an age to get involved and we can start to have an impact on our world. And, instead? We are a group of people who do not care.  Let me give you a reason to care.

A Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket has promised $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years.  Now, although on the surface it seems good that the debt is being reduced, let’s take a look at where those cuts are going to be made.  None of them would be made to the Pentagon.  In fact, the amount of money going to the Pentagon would be increased; more money than the Pentagon does not need and says it does not need.  Romney and Ryan also say that there will be no cuts to Medicare for those over the age of 55.  So where is this money coming from?

Perhaps the most depressing area that the Romney/Ryan ticket will be cutting funding for is the School Lunch and Breakfast Program.  This program provides free meals to children with families in need and helps to feed around 31 million children each day. The Romney/Ryan ticket will cut $96 billion from the program over the next 10 years, leaving many American children hungry, according to an article from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Another program that will be greatly influenced would be the Head Start Program.  This program gives children the tools they need to succeed such as consumable products, family assistance and educational services. In the article from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, it said, “On the Romney-Ryan economic plan, more than 139,000 kids would be kicked off of Head Start.”

The result of children being kicked out of Head Start and losing their free meals could end up being more expensive than the cuts would provide right now.  If these children graduate high school and move on to college, they could be honest, tax paying workers.  But in many cases, when children are left without the tools to succeed, it becomes easier for them to get drawn away from the educational track that many better-off Americans enjoy.

As college students, we should keep in mind that currently there is a $2,500 tax credit that parents can take for college expenses each year to assist their children over four years.  That’s $10,000.  Ryan has not made a commitment to keep that credit.  In other words, if Romney is elected and a Republican Congress gets in and Ryan pushes his budget plan, that tax benefit may go away.

Voters should also know what Romney’s view on gay marriage is. He has been quoted as saying, “I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender.”  How can this still be an argument?  As comedian Louis C.K. says: “You don’t have to go to the wedding. So why does it matter?”

Women should be especially wary of this election.  The next president elected will likely replace two judges on the Supreme Court.  This is significant because Romney and Ryan, if elected, would try to overturn Roe v. Wade.  This would make abortion illegal except in cases of incest, rape or life of the mother.  The fact that these men do not think that women should have the right to make their own decisions suggests a deep-seated misogynistic ideology in their platform.  This is the same ideology that contributes to women being paid less than men in the same occupational position and not being as respected in the workplace.  Joe Biden practices Catholicism and would not have abortion present in his personal life, but stated at the debate: “I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that – women – they can’t control their body.”

At the end of the day, no matter what anyone else tries to push onto you, it is only you in that voting booth.  All I suggest is that you make sure you know what you are voting for.  Know the facts.  Too many people vote because of charisma and what kind of person a candidate appears to be.  In order for this country to be successful, voters need to fully comprehend all of the issues, solutions and possible outcomes if the people they are voting for get elected.  Do not just vote for who your parents are voting for.  It is time for you to make up your own mind.  Stop being someone who does not care.  Get involved and vote as a fully informed citizen.

Tim Drugan-Eppich is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]