The top five TV political reporters have asked the presidential candidates 2938 questions so far. One would hope that the topics covered reflect a wide array of the issues important to the future of America. Three of those questions have been about unidentified flying objects. Given the large number of questions, a few light-hearted questions raised by a revelation about one of the candidate's experience with UFOs might be excused. But what is the excuse for the number of questions about global warming being only one more? That's right, only four questions have been asked about an issue that many would agree is one of the most important issues that will be faced by the next president.
The war in Iraq and terrorism are two high-profile issues that have rightly garnered a great deal of attention this presidential election. But even those who doubt the predictions of scientists can hardly claim that care of the environment is not a vital issue to address in the next four years, for what we do in the short term will clearly affect the long term. The issue of global poverty is another example of a sleeping giant issue. Today, every three seconds a child will die from extreme poverty - either because they don't have enough food, don't have access to clean water, or have been stricken by an entirely treatable condition like diarrhea, measles or malaria. Aside from a moral mandate to act, since it is clearly within the power of the United States to end this crisis, enlightened self-interest would lead us to end extreme poverty before it becomes the motivation from more desperate acts of terrorism.
One moral issue that the candidates have been pressed on is health care. Each of the major candidates has a plan to address the delivery of health care in this country. Unfortunately, for the most part the issue has been addressed only as it effects individual Americans' budgets. The real question of whether profit has any ethical justification in health care, or anyplace in Human Services for that matter, is not on the table. Any health care insurance company trying to make a profit must minimize paying settlements to do so. How can that delivery model benefit anyone but the stockholders? The bottom like is that the bottom line seems to be considered more vital that the preservation of life.
The media has a vested interest in tension and conflict, thus any animated emotions from candidates will steal attention away from the issues. Thankfully, there is enough information available from each of the campaigns through their local offices and the Internet that there is no reason for any voter being uninformed. Here in Massachusetts we will be part of “Super Tuesday” on February 5 when we go to the polls. While those registered in a political party can only vote in that party's primary, unenrolled voters will have the choice of taking a Republican, Democratic, or Green-Rainbow ballot. Don't give away your power by staying home. Get informed and get out and vote.