The Night Before the Election, My Republican Mom is on the Fence

I posted a question on Facebook the other day that read:

I’m feeling political today (can you tell?) Please POST HERE: Why you are FOR your candidate? With so much bashing of the “other guy,” I’m interested in what Romney and/or Obama has done or will do that makes you want them to take on the role as the leader of our country. Thanks! Opening up dialogue (from California to Alabama and in between). I think there are some folks on the fence that need to hear your voice.

To commemorate the 2012 election tomorrow, I’m going to post a response.

The following is from my mother, who has voted Republican her whole life.  Just so you know, we do not talk politics much in my family.  Some, but not much.  But here she is, showing up as one of the few responders to this question.  In fact, approximately 1% of my Facebook friends said something on the topic.  I suppose that is better than none, but it is surprising that people do not want to engage in dialogue, but they are perfectly fine sitting in front of the TV for hour upon hour watching the stuff.

Anyway, here’s her piece:  

First, thank you, daughter, for asking for thought-provoking and thought-providing dialogue. It’s time; time to cast our votes!
When formulating in my mind a response to your request to give reasons I will vote for either President Obama or Governor Romney, I am reminded again that all of our views are skewed and biased by who shared information (i.e. friend or foe, media, parents, etc.), what was shared (what information is  revealed and what information is concealed), where(our community, state, political rally, school, church),  when(timing matters), which (which media, for example),  and how (how information is presented is as important [or more so] than what is presented).  With that being said and with risk of being targeted from the left and the right, I am on the fence!  I will mention several issues to explain why I am unsure which candidate will take us down the “right”; health care, jobs, education, energy, and defense. Realizing that each of us presents our own biased (yes, biased) opinions and that we never really know the results of either path our country will take, I would like your feedback to help me and others make a somewhat informed decision. Does writing about and comparing our views help us not only to clarify our own but to understand others’ views if we are willing to try? 
Healthcare: Do I want health care available for all Americans whether poor or rich? Yes! But how all Americans can receive excellent health care feasibly has not been explained. Obama seems to want it to happen, but it seems to me that quality of and access to good medical care will be decreased though a seemingly socialist system that we simply can not afford.  Will our freedom to choose which doctors we see and under what circumstances be limited by government mandates?  How will Medicaid and Medicare be affected?  How will we pay for Obamacare? (I hate the fact that this important issue is about money again!). How can a government-run medical system be successful?  On the other hand, Romney has not convinced me that he wants to help all Americans receive health care.  I don’t understand his voucher system proposal at all.  It seems private insurance companies will benefit rather than patients.  I think private insurance companies already have too much power to (1) regulatefees that benefit them to the detriment of providers and clients and (2) to brainwashtheir clients into thinking providers are over charging when insurance companies are making the largest profit.   In summary, Obama’s plan seems to grant power to the federal government to make choices that I think should be made by individuals while Romney’s plan seems to give private insurance companies the power to benefit more than individuals in need.
Jobs   We are aware that jobs are not available to many people in this country who want to work.  Romney says he will help businesses supply jobs by not raising taxes so more people can be paid. Therefore, he predicts that his plan will supply jobs to Americans.  How does Obama plan to generate jobs?
Education:  Should the federal government (Obama) or state government (Romney) oversee our school system(s)?  It seems in K-12 education, true learning has taken a back seat to standardized testing.  For example, I helped a third grader to appreciate reading and learning by talking with her and listening to her read. When we met, she asked when she would be tested (she was already nervous about the test that would come). She found it difficult to understand that she would not be tested and that I knew nothing about nor cared about her levelof reading.  I cared about her learning to like to read and about her well-being. Which candidate will more likely actually try to see what is needed for individualsto learn rather than focusing on numbers? 
Post Secondary education is another story.  I like Obama’s idea to support community colleges so that more people can be educated for technical jobs.  What are some other ideas of candidates to improve post-secondary education, to lower tuition, and to create jobs for students when they graduate? 
Energy: Based on what I have heard, I believe Obama is going in the right direction with creating alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, etc.  However, has federal funding been spent efficiently in order to make the gradual change to alternative energy use?  I think Obama is considering future needs by making available technology accessible while I feel Romney is too focused on gas and coal. Romney is proposing the use of more coal. Why Coal?  I do not understand why he implies coal is better than other alternatives or is there another reason for his support.  If you have some ideas about the coal/gas issue, will you share? By the way, speaking of energy conservation and alternatives, I hope as Katie and others have suggested that we make a conscious individual effort to save energy by using bikes, our legs, energy-efficient cars, and public transportation.
Defense I believe we all want to feel safe and protected when threatened.  Romney proposes more defense spending; Obama proposes cutting defense spending.  As far as I know, neither has been explicit about why.  The defense topic involves many more issues than spending including safety, jobs lost and gained, provisions of veterans, efficient spending, political gain, proper training, support (financial, jobs, respect, medical) for veterans and many others.  Why does Romney think we need to increase spending? Does cutting spending as Obama proposes put us at risk by jeopardizing our safety?  If so, how does Obama plan to protect our country if defense spending is cut?  I was leaning toward Romney on this one until I heard a seemingly credible source discuss defense spending among other topics. 
Last Tuesday night, October 30, 2012 on NPR (National Public Radio), I heard Thomas Ricks, a military expert who is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security who covered the military for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal for many years, and was part of two teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for military coverage. Ricks is   author of a book about U.S. generals called Firing” the General” to Fight Better Wars. To access Ricks’ discussion go to
You can hear Ricks’s opinions about defense spending starting at 24:50 – 31:40 of the 39:15 minute segment. Ricks says the US military has more money than needed but the money is not spent effectively and he says when wars end (such as in Iraq), the need for spending goes down. Therefore, Ricks does not know why Ryan and Romney want to spend more on defenseRicks thinks we need to question military leadership in tactics and spending. I would like to know more about why Romney thinks we as Americans will benefit from more defense spending and why Obama thinks we can be protected and safe with less. 
In summary, (yay!), remember syllogisms? According to an online dictionary a syllogism is a logical argument involving three propositions: a formal deductive argument made up of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion. An example is, “All birds have feathers, penguins are birds, therefore penguins have feathers.” As you know, politicians present syllogisms hoping we will support them while avoiding explaining details.. For example, Romney implies, “Americans need energy sources, coal is an energy source, therefore Americans need coal”. Question the syllogisms. We need more information.  What are some syllogisms that come to your mind that the Romney campaign and the Obama campaign have used?  The writing process has provoked thinking and helped organize my thoughts. Nobody which way we vote in choosing which path our country will travel, it is impossible for anyone to know what will actually happen on either path. Thank you, Katie, for inspiring me to write. Voting is Tuesday!   
Laura Jane Rogers
Nov. 3, 2012
Me, Mama, Maryanna, and Beth circa 1980
THANK YOU, Mama, for writing!
And here’s my mom’s bio:
Laura Jane Poole Rogers
Doctoral Degree
Ph.D, Speech Communication, The University of Southern Mississippi
Master’s Degree
M.A. Communication, University of South Alabama
Bachelor’s Degree
B.A., Psychology, University of South Alabama
 Personal History
Grew up in Eutaw, Alabama in 1950s and 60s.  Attended the U of Alabama starting in 1970. Married David A. Rogers, DMD in 1972.  Four children;  Katherine, Elizabeth, Maryanna, and David; 1 granddaughter and two step granddaughters.  Lives in Mobile, AL where she teaches part time at the University of South Alabama.  


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