Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The REAL Presidential Debate

After three debates between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, I've realized one thing... I seriously could've been watching something else. I already knew before I changed from ESPN to MSNBC, I'd get nothing but 90 minutes of sketchy statistics, broken promises, and empty rhetoric. I watched anyway, holding on to hope, I guess.

Actually, I watched the debates to see if a few key issues would be discussed: immigration, union rights, women's health, student debt, and green jobs... especially green jobs. Obviously, I knew the economy and certain elements of foreign policy would be discussed. Romney would get his chance to bomb on the Prez for how bad the economy was/is and the Prez would get his chance to flex his muscles for "taking out" Gadaffi and bin Laden. That's cool and I'm not saying they aren't important but those have always been major obstacles of our country, along with social security and health care, two issues that will never be solved in my lifetime.

Now there was a brief mention by Romney about Green jobs during one of the debates. But his question was drowned out and wasn't heard from again... unless it took place when I went to the fridge to get another beer. I really wanted to hear that question answered, though. This was an issue very personal to me, as I was in a 16-week program in that industry in 2010. Everything from sustainable building practices and applications, plumbing, resume writing, etc. was discussed. And I was extremely happy upon completing the program. Not only did I receive a certificate in Convergent Energy, I found out I had the highest grades in my class, receiving a total of 14 A's and five B's. This came as a complete surprise to me because I was nowhere near the smartest person in the class. That distinction probably went to either Mary Greenhill or Robert Morton. Whenever I didn't know an answer, I asked them... sometimes even before I asked one of our instructors.

Anyway, I was looking forward to finding gainful employment in this particular field after doing so well. 29 months later... NOTHING! What happened to all the jobs in this field that were supposed to be available? The goal was 80,000 jobs by the year 2013. The current administration budgeted $500 million in taxpayer dollars... but so far, barely over 50,000 people have been trained for these jobs and roughly 8,000 of them received a job in the industry. And the funny thing about that is many of those jobs aren't even new jobs that were actually created. Many of them were re-classified. Loose example: If you were a science teacher that talked about wind turbines and solar panels in your lecture, you were now considered as having a "Green job". BULLSHIT! Numbers might not lie but they can certainly be very misleading, at times. And only the "positive" numbers are revealed by the canidates when its beneficial to their campaign. Just tell the truth, regardless of what party you represent.

By no means am I writing this to determine who I'm voting for. No stupid debate will determine who I vote for, or even if I vote at all. My main concern is whether or not future generations will get the fair share they deserve. Unless something is done to preserve the present, they won't. I understand that alternative energy programs are expensive and require lots of research. That's one thing that has kept me patient. But this is an area that we can really communicate with other countries to expand foreign policy and instill confidence at home, simultaneously. Foreign policy shouldn't always mean overthrowing an evil dictator. How about talking to Denmark, who receives 30% of their energy from wind? Or Germany, whose in control of 1/3 of the world's solar capacity? Or Switzerland, where in some cities cars aren't even allowed. Or Iceland, where over 80% of its energy sources is pure hydrogen and geothermal power.

Indeed, some of these changes will be viewed with skepticism and probably flat out rejection if they were strongly considered in the United States. However, more discussions and forums need to take place. Otherwise, this country will continue to lag behind others in education and technology... and I'm not talkin' about Beats by Dre headphones and sophisticated cell phones. This is way more serious.

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