It’s election time and the presidential candidates are facing off in a series of debates which are supposed to inform us voters what they stand for. But listen close and you’ll hear what the candidates are saying – absolutely nothing! Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney go back and forth about their supposed policies to fix the economy, balance the budget, and make things better for ordinary Americans. But what’s missing is any talk about the real problems – jobs, housing, the environment, or the wars.
Of course Obama and Romney both talk about jobs. Obama talked about how his policies have created jobs. But in reality, jobs have been cut by millions in the last four years, and where new jobs have been created, these have been minimum wage, part time or temporary jobs. And Romney has nothing to say about this except that if we want jobs, we have to help the rich get richer. Neither candidate will say the truth – that jobs are being destroyed and wages are being slashed across the board.
Neither Obama or Romney has anything to say about the number of foreclosures which have thrown millions of people out of their homes. Since 2007 alone there have been twelve million home foreclosures. Of course Obama will not talk about his response to this crisis. He negotiated a deal to protect the banks from prosecution by states’ attorneys or homeowners. And as for Romney, there’s no question he supports the right of the banks to throw people out on the street. He has said the foreclosures are necessary and nothing should be done. According to Romney, “the markets will fix it”. There are six vacant housing units for every homeless person in the United States. The simple solution is to provide housing for people. But the candidates won’t mention that.
Neither candidate dared to talk about the environment. This year we’ve seen massive floods and fires. And most scientists agree, these catastrophic weather events are just the beginning unless we limit the production and use of greenhouse gas-producing oil and coal.
But why would either Obama or Romney talk about this? The Obama administration has re-written the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to permit offshore drilling. Obama has also authorized drilling in government protected lands on the East Coast, in Alaska, and off the coast of Florida. And of course, Romney has nothing to say except “drill baby, drill”.
Everywhere in the U.S. we’ve seen attacks on workers’ unions. But neither candidate wants to say anything about this. Obama has done nothing to defend workers’ rights. Most recently when Chicago teachers went on strike against attacks on their wages and working conditions, Obama said nothing. The attacks on the Chicago teachers were engineered by secretary of education Arne Duncan and mayor Rahm Emanuel. Both had been members of Obama’s administration. Of course Romney spoke out in support of the attacks.
What have the candidates talked about since the debate? Romney accuses Obama of not involving the United States enough in the affairs of the world. In fact the Obama administration not only continued the wars against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama extended U.S. military actions, launching attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, carrying out targeted assassinations, and most recently participating in the N.A.T.O. bombing campaign in Libya. If Romney wants war and interventions, then in fact he and Obama should be shaking hands in agreement.
The fact is that this election is nothing but a distraction. Both candidates and both parties represent the exact same interests. Both candidates support the corporations who are laying off workers and attacking unions. Both candidates support the banks who engineered the economic crisis, and are now throwing people out of their homes. And both candidates put forward policies to pillage the natural resources of the planet, destroy the environment, and wage devastating wars. No wonder neither candidate will ever talk about the real issues. They agree on every single point. If Obama and Romney told the truth, they’d have nothing to say.