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schencka
Random Thought re: Election
In my teaching, something that annoys me a bit is when people have misleadingly simple answers to complex problems. One of these is ascribing pretty much anything bad to saying, "It's how you're raised" or "It's what your parents taught you." Like, "Terrible phenomenon X is caused by bad parenting."

Now, Mitt Romney is known to be a successful businessman, but there's something lacking in his human angle, and it's not his empathy, as many are on record about him being a helpful person through his church. But when an "undecided" voter in the debate asked him about AK-47s and assault weapons, he got to talking about mass shooters and the like, and talked about "needing to keep families together" -- as if the angry white males came from broken homes, which then resulted in their mass shootings. 

If I remember correctly, in the cases of many of the angry white 20- or 30-something males who did mass shootings, their families were intact; I recall both parents grieving with the public on the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, and Denver/Aurora mass shootings. So, at that level, Romney is just completely wrong.

Romney, with a little pat answer, made the simplistic argument that sounds reasonable that I hear from new college students (and not advanced ones, I'll add) -- as if the structure of one's family, say, results in drug abuse, bad driving, and any bad thing out there. It's the typical "I don't want to think of the problem, so I will think of an 'answer' that will allow me to not actually think about the problem critically, so that I can just keep my wrong assumptions intact. The world's simple, see?"

To close read this little interchange shows where Romney really lacks. He's not well-rounded and does not seem to have a broad understanding of people -- what motivates us, how culture and community make and alter us, and how the same person makes both heroic, desperate, and even "evil" decisions. (Postmodern films often have such a character, like in Taxi Driver or even the racist character played by Matt Dillon in Crash.)

Romney made his career with a laser focus on where to cut costs and increase revenue. We've already elected an uncurious president for whom simple answers came in response to complex problems -- George W. Bush, who's still about as toxic as Nixon. Thoughtful Americans will cringe until their dying days at W.'s simpletonian utterances like "You're either with us or against us" or "Dead or alive."

This election, not only do we have the option to vote against a shapeshifting, easy-answer guy, we can also vote for a guy with a writer's mind who's lived the complex internal conflicts and odd hypocrisies which make us human, but also understands the complexity of people and of the world -- one Barry Obama. We talk about the economy and jobs, and foreign policy, and this that and the other, but let's not forget that this is the biggest difference between the candidates. One understands the human condition while the other does not.
 
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