Watters: Despite reservations, time for new change


Arabella Watters, Assistant Forum Editor

Before I mention what presidential candidate I will inevitably be endorsing, I need to say how much unadulterated excitement I have for this coming Tuesday. Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing this column for nearly a year now, chronicling the turbulent path that this election has followed. I’ve become a lot more politically accountable as a result. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m simply older, or that I’ve matured, but this is the first election in which I’ve really paid attention.

I’ve gained an unavoidable awareness from the past year that I’ve spent at Northwestern. I know people posit that our student body can be politically apathetic, but quite honestly, I haven’t met such a concentrated group of fiery, opinionated people in my life. Everyone has something to say and enough conviction in their opinions that you’d think they were running for president. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid having your own political opinions, and I’m excited to watch the election take place from this campus — a place where people just inherently care so much.

That being said, despite my enthusiasm about having the ability to contribute in this election, even if my absentee ballot voting for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in California will do next to nothing, I also have my own opinion about who I hope will win on Tuesday.

I wish that I could, without any scruples, say that I am 100 percent with Romney in his endeavors. I’m not, and I think that’s part of one of the problems with the two-party system. The inability of either party, especially the GOP, to produce a candidate who is actually likable is baffling. I’ve talked to friends who, despite giving their vote to Romney, are constantly horrified at how constantly he tends to screw up, an emphatic repetition of the phrase “it’s just not that hard to not be an idiot” echoing between us.

I should only be articulating my support for Romney instead of attacking his opponent (not that attacking one’s opponent isn’t a bit tired by this point in the election), but I think it’s interesting to observe that the same persona of self-assuredness and charisma which swayed me so much in favor of President Barack Obama in the  2008 election now just rubs me the wrong way. Politics rely almost entirely on perception. Although Obama’s public face is for all purposes the same, my perceptions have changed. I don’t think he’s been able to make a significant movement out of this stifling economic climate and that makes me see him as painfully self-righteous. In no way do I think Obama is responsible for the recession; I know he isn’t, but I resent the conviction that Obama puts behind his words when I feel like he has nothing to back up his statements.

That being said, it’s not as if I believe every word that comes out of Romney’s mouth. If I did, I’d be painfully ignorant. I do believe however, that elections are won on social issues, and fiscal issues govern presidencies. It’s a sad but true fact. However, it is also one of the reasons that I am voting for Romney, because I want the next presidency to be remembered as the four years that pulled us out of our economic slump. I think that despite all his flip-flopping and publicity inadequacies, having Romney in office will assure that the economy is the priority. Whether or not his plans will help us or hurt us is another story, but I’m willing to take the risk to avoid the alternative.

I know that I’ll get a lot of flack for saying this, but I am also voting for Romney because I just don’t believe that the government should be as powerful, or as responsible, as it is. We are a country of people living under a huge deficit and I don’t think that programs like Obamacare and welfare reform are helping us to cut our spending. I care about social issues very much; I just think that the only way we’ll really be able to prioritize them in the future is if we are on stable economic ground and that starts with alleviating some of the deficit.

I’m also a firm believer in supporting entrepreneurship. An innumerable amount of our jobs and capital come from large corporations and big scale job providers. I am not proposing that big earners shouldn’t pay equivalent taxes, but I think that the combination of providing too much leeway for wavering companies to fall back on and stifling large providers of jobs in our economy is just a set up for disaster.

There is, obviously, a plethora of issues to contend with and those don’t even come close to covering them. I also realize that Romney’s views aren’t even completely in line with all of mine, but they sure are a lot closer than Obama’s, and at this point, to me, that’s what matters the most.

Arabella Watters is a Medill sophomore. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, email a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].