Things we hope to see in the next four years:
1. More attention paid to services that matter most to young students, such as promoting access to contraception, keeping interest rates on student loans low and funding sciences and liberal arts in universities. Can we all agree affordable education is important?
2. Increased or, at the very least, continued funding for public news services that support PBS, NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the blanket group that provides competitive grants to these nonprofit outlets.
3. Greater support to college veterans dealing with the psychological and physical aftermaths of war. ASU does an excellent job supplying veterans with access to counseling and education services, epitomized by the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. This support needs to be extended to universities and community colleges throughout the country.
4. A de-emphasis on religion in public life. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was held under a religious microscope for his Mormon faith and after September’s “Muslim rage,” we can only hope religion becomes as non-political as possible.
5. A cohesive, united federal statement on immigration that’s a little more thoughtful than a glorified “stay out!” wall. Although The Dream Act has yet to make its way through Congress, President Barack Obama has been able to ensure access to higher-level education for young illegal immigrants. The country should move on from this first step toward comprehensive reform to evaluating wage requirements and working conditions for migrant workers.
Things we don’t want to see in the next four years:
1. Politicians who waste valuable time by entertaining the reversal of Roe v. Wade and politicians who needlessly complicate definitions of rape. Politicians who obscure definitions of “rape” do so to accommodate their unfavorable views on women’s issues. Rape is rape; isn’t there an economy to fix?
2. The debate surrounding the semantics and politics of global warming. Whether it’s called “global warming” or “climate change,” it’s clear that a greater emphasis must be put on alternative energy. The demand for fuel, American or otherwise, won’t decrease anytime soon. It’s in our best interest to end reliance on finite sources of energy and to develop creative solutions to the energy problem. American-made jobs in research and manufacturing will be fondly welcomed.
3. Economic discussions that debate whether the U.S. economy is impacted by China or Europe. The U.S. is one part of a global economic machine that is necessarily tied to other world economies. We must move beyond merely stating that European economies affect the American economy, which does nothing to further improve any parts of the closed system.
4. The rhetoric that stigmatizes illegal immigrants. There’s no question that immigration reform must happen, but it must be done compassionately by making sure all residents — documented or not — are treated as humans, not as “aliens” who deserve to be shoved back to their countries of origin.
4. The “states’ rights versus federal rights” issue. It’s the classic push-and-shove discourse that drives partisan conflicts. It’s overplayed and is no longer an effective rhetorical tool in the greater political dialogue. Using it as an argumentative tool is not only useless, but annoying. Oh, and by the way — the great state rights vs. federal rights issue was settled in 1865.
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