A Personal Reaction to the First Presidential Debate of 2012

The first of three Presidential debates occurred last night. I set them to record from an over-the-air broadcast by my local Public Broadcasting System channel. Oh, I get NBC, ABC and CBS channels too, as well as CW, Fox, Ion and a small plethora of odd others, several of whom were also carrying the debate. But there’s something more honest, less phony, or dare I say, more trustworthy about listening to news and debates without the backdrop of Coke commercials, wise financial institution sales pitches, and being instructed which car would bring me the most happiness.

It’s early morning for me right now at 1:10pm. I’m awake with just over 6 hours of very restful sleep. This essay is in a small deviation in my morning routine which starts with the brewing of coffee. I then sit down at a computer and examine the day’s effect on my stock portfolios. Currently, I’m very pleased with the National Bank of Greece. I bought it when everyone was saying it would collapse. But it’s one of the oldest financial institutions in the world, and Greek people are more than a little impressive. And I trust the Europeans to do what’s best for their people, in the end. They’re a smart bunch, broadly educated, aware of history – and this brings wisdom.

To be fair, I also bought Bank of America stock, when it tumbled to the floor in value, abandoned by all the other financial institutions. I think they wanted it dead. But it came back, started to rise a great deal, and on the late April crest, I sold my interest, only to buy it back, and more, in a few weeks after the first great swell had past. It’s now back to its late April value again. And you know what? I’ll be an Bank of America owner for the long haul now.

I have to tell you, my favorite ownership is a company called Orbital Sciences. I mean, it’s space! I can’t own Space-X because it’s privately held, and Orbital Sciences has far more experience than Space-X anyway. They’ll both be shuttling cargo to and from the International Space Station, and Orbital Sciences works on a great deal more.

Oh, right, the Presidential debate. Well, first, you should know I’m not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. I’m not a Libertarian or a Socialist either. I’ve been accused of being each of them. I’m not exactly impressed by group thinking, like a herd of so much cattle. Nor am I impressed by rebellious thinking, simply for the sake of being different. Intelligence is what matters. Informed intelligence. And even greater than that, wisdom. Wisdom never clings to a set of beliefs. Wisdom is always open, fluid, and bound upon its best course toward Truth.

This morning I have purposefully avoided reading anything about the debates. I do not want anything I write here to be influenced by other people’s interpretations, or any organization’s agenda. I want my reaction to be as purely my own as it can be.

I was surprised by President Obama’s largely passive stance last night. I was not surprised by Mitt Romney’s aggressive one. As the CEO of a large, multinational organization, particularly one dealing in venture capital where you buy and sell businesses, you can expect firmly rooted and well-contrived stances. You can expect to see a position taken, pushed through and sold. That’s what he does. And he does it well.

Anyone who has ever dealt with the personalities who own and run large companies has a good insight into the professional character of Mitt Romney. Once you decide what you want, you gather your resources, you strategize a main plan of attack with a few minor contingencies, then plant your feet firmly and ram your agenda through.

The question I was left with after watching the debate was, what is Mitt Romney’s agenda, other than to become the next President of the United States? The only hard facts he used were numbers used to attack President Obama, while providing no substantial alternative of his own – and some of the numbers he used were used deceptively and manipulatively, such as the amount of money taken out of Medicare by President Obama (which Mitt Romney would never do, he claims).

I understand the tactics. This was pure sales. And aggressive sales at that. I even respect it, to a degree. The thing is, when you’re a business man, and you’re doing aggressive sales, there is always something in it for you. You’re not selling solely for the benefit of the people buying. And it comes down to, with Mitt Romney, will it be a win-win scenario, with all American people included?

I would like to believe so. That man could sell a lot, and get a lot done. But I’m not at all convinced it would be for the best. Beyond the sales tactics, I heard no details. And I don’t buy hardware without first looking over the technical specifications.

The thing is, I might well be better off financially under Mitt Romney – particularly if he keeps capital gains taxes low. But the thing is, I know that this country’s wealth is completely jammed up in just a few pockets. It needs to be shaken loose to get the economy flowing again. This is the only way the economy can start flowing again, unless you go printing more money, which I’m sure neither candidate considers a good idea. Lowering taxes on rich people does nothing except make them happier.

I am not happy with President Obama. Financially, I’m doing great. The corporate sector of America is making record profits since he came to office. I am not happy with President Obama because he is using automated drones to bomb people in other countries. He is prosecuting government whistle-blowers worse than anyone else. He has killed American citizens abroad without any trial or even charges. And he’s pushing for expanded domestic surveillance. Even though all of this was done by, and started by his predecessors, I cannot vote for him and retain a clear conscience. I strongly doubt Mitt Romney would be better and suspect he would be worse, considering his sabre-rattling and obscene increase in our tax dollars feeding the military-industrial complex. Interestingly, even though Mitt Romney wants to increase military spending, he wants to decrease the Veterans Administration. That’s pretty telling – care about the military machine, but not really so much about the troops.

I have little doubt that Mitt Romney really is just planning another hit-and-run like Dick Cheney. With the wars, during the Bush term, you can watch Halliburton stock rise up to new heights starting, pretty much, on the day Dick took office. It continued rising all through Cheney’s term, even while nearly all other stocks tanked during the resulting financial crisis and Great Recession. And then, Halliburton leaves the United States, relocating its headquarters to an Arabic country in the Middle East.

The hard truth is, you small little business owners and cutesy property owners, who think you know business, and who believe people like that – other business people – will look out for your best interest… Well, maybe you don’t know business as well as you think you do. They will look out for themselves, and their own, well before anyone else.

Mitt Romney’s business is taking over an organization and harvesting it for its money and/or assets. That’s what he does. I have no reason to believe he has any different intentions with the United States itself. His presentation was long on tactic, short on substance. It was obviously well-planned and polished, and aggressively rammed through.

You can see this most poignantly in the candidates’ closing remarks, where Mitt Romney looks at the camera like the perfectly-oiled sales machines and methodically ticks off the attack points, with the couple vague promises about something he’ll do. In contrast, President Obama forms his words and thoughts on the spot, which made him appear a little stammering in comparison to such polish.

The interesting thing is, I’m not sure that isn’t a good thing. The American people have been sold so many things. We know the lingo, the sure postures, and true believability of vacuous words. We know when we’re being sold something, as opposed to seeing someone struggle to do something. Unfortunately, one is simply less effective while the other can be dangerous.

I will not vote for Mitt Romney. He looked at the moderator of the debate and told him he would put him out of a job. Jim Lehrer is one of the most respected, and one of the last, of the old school newsmen left. He reeks of integrity, through and through. Because of public funding, Mr. Lehrer is free of commercial concerns, allowing his journalism to remain as unbiased as possible. To my mind, this is where Mitt Romney fails, in a way so profound and substantial, that there is no doubt about his incompetence as a leader of the United States, or any nation on this Earth: Mitt Romney does not realize that Truth is colored by money.

Actually, I think Mitt Romney does know that truth is colored by money, and he relies on it. Just like good science, good journalism cannot have strings attached to the money sources. When you rely on other people for money – other people with their own agendas – it’s in your best interest to make those people happy. This can quickly color truth, in science and journalism (and just about anything else) – and it does. If we are to progress as a species any further, our concerns cannot be just financial. Truth must always come before finance – because without Truth, we’re at the mercy of those who control what we can know to be true. Mitt Romney is either too stupid to know this, or he is too eager to exploit it. Either way, this is the critical flaw for me.

I don’t want to see another hit-and-run raid performed on the United States. This has been Mitt Romney’s business for quite some time. For as much as Republicans say they are financially conservative, they’re the ones I swear are trying to bankrupt the government. What’s happened to them? I really doubt I’ll be voting for President Obama, either. He has not lived up to his promises, and has offered no detailed explanation why. His administration is also behaving unethically. I believe Mitt Romney’s administration would behave even more unethically.

Left with a choice between to the two, I would have to choose President Obama. However, despite what money buys you as truth, there are more than two political parties. And right now, am voting for neither one of them.