What the Debates Should Really be About

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

To put it mildly, the presidential debates have been disappointing and irrelevant. I have to ask myself whether these debates are for who will be president of the United States, or for some contest for the truly talent-less. When candidates talk about building walls against neighbors and then trying to apply sanctions to “pay for the wall,” or comparing their family jewel size, it makes me wonder whether I am watching a poorly scripted version of the old TV show The Twilight Zone. Just as equally asinine is the debate about the Confederate flag and the largely Republican-controlled U.S. Congress trying to purge the Confederate flag from our cemeteries and from state capital buildings. This would make sense IF the Confederate States of America still existed. It would make sense if slavery still existed. Otherwise, the whole argument and legislation on dealing with the Confederate flag seems to be in my view irrelevant.

It seems that the debates not only do not deal with, in my view, the issues we should really be dealing with, but seem to ignore reality altogether. If I had any say in any of the debates, here are the five main issues I would be taking into consideration:

First: The national debt. This is a time bomb waiting to go off. We cannot as a nation let this keep on going. We will have to make tough, determined decisions that will affect the lives of tens of millions of Americans, and most likely not for the better. If we do not, the whole nation and economy could collapse.

Second: Our adversaries China, Russia and North Korea. They are building up their armed forces and testing American resolve all over the world. Even current U.S. President Barack Obama has “noticed” the rise of China and how it is not only threatening our allies in Asia but projecting its power well beyond that into the Pacific. Under these conditions, America needs all of the allies we can get (especially among the democracies in the world).

Third: The growing income inequality gap in the United States. We are now having far, far more have-nots than those with money. We have no more middle class, and too many Americans living in dirt poverty (15 percent of the whole population). This is connected in too many ways to the national debt, and if we are to help solve the national debt we have to help tens of millions of Americans be able to have better paying jobs and have job and income security so that more money can be put back into the economy.

Fourth: Stop outsourcing of American jobs and reform the immigration system. In many ways they go hand in hand. I am certainly not advocating that we allow everyone in, but the whole immigration system as it is now does not work and people with the knowledge and skills who could and should be allowed in are not. This must change. At the same time, the U.S. government MUST prevent corporations from being able to so easily outsource American jobs to Third World countries. We should be following the example of Germany, where the government has helped small and medium-sized businesses. Unlike the U.S. government, the German government does more than pay lip-service to trying to help its own people.

Fifth: Fighting terrorism. This is a problem America and most governments recognize. Solutions are not easy, but trying to balance safety concerns with protection of American freedoms should be paramount.

These five issues should really be front and center in the debates for the presidency. I am afraid though we will in the coming months be seeing more lamebrain arguments fit for 13 year old kids than adults.

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