Campus Voice: Candidates need to be transparent, too

The looming presidential election on Nov. 6 has been a contest of mudslinging and the avoidance of political rhetoric.

In putting the cantankerous campaigns aside, voters are left with a serious but little discussed point of contention: what does one’s vote say about America?

Though pushing past the mountainous terrain of the opposing smear campaigns can be a difficult if not laborious task, it does however render a key point undeniable.

We, as voters, have a clear and concise message for the direction of the Democratic Party and the incumbent Barack Obama, though he does waver on certain topics, such as same-sex marriage, in front of certain audiences, which is not an uncommon practice among politicians.

The American public has little to no understanding of the intended direction or platform of the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.

The ambiguity of the Romney campaign leaves much to be desired and truly begs the question of what a vote for the Republican Party means.

With Romney and his vice presidential cohort Paul Ryan doggedly avoiding every opportunity to expand on their vision for the next four years of America, the actions and merits of both nominees are all an expectant voter has to create a well informed decision on Nov. 6.

So then, the question becomes, what does a vote for the Republican Party and Mitt Romney truly mean?

It means that Americans can accept being blatantly lied to and being party to a system that has already proven to be inept. Both candidates have denied or attempted to separate themselves from previous work and past political decisions.

Most noteworthy is Paul Ryan avoiding admission to collaborating with Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) on legislation banning any instances of abortion including those attributed to the result of rape and incest.

He has also awkwardly denied his vote for legislation that reduces government spending on the military – legislation that was drafted by a bipartisan committee for which he was a member.

To add to their misguided denials, the pair have also been ambiguous as to what they will actually do if elected. Romney has stated that he will close tax loopholes thus preventing the wealthy, like himself, from avoiding paying taxes.

When pressed upon which loopholes he would be addressing the presidential nominee has been less than forthcoming, and this has been par for course for the entire campaign.

So as a voter we can now say that voting for the Republican Party is a vote for the unknown.

The only thing clear about the Romney platform is the antiquated ideas on which it is founded.

He believes, as Republicans before him have believed, that securing the prosperity of the upper class and wealthy will improve the economic standing of the country.

This fallacy has been proven historically, statistically and is logically unfounded.

This old way of thinking is not limited to economy as his view of women’s rights is religious biased and misogynistic. If elected Romney would attempt to push back the women’s rights movement by decades.

The most concerning aspect of the upcoming election is the Republican Party’s now nearly a decade long affiliation as the political party of the Church.

The platform of the party often runs hand in hand with those of the Christian persuasion – but even they must recognize the detrimental effects of a Romney presidency on their friends and family.

There have been whisperings that if elected Romney will abolish or alter many governmental support systems such as Medicare and unemployment insurance.

Nearly every American knows someone that would be affected by such sweeping changes.

So in November when standing in that little booth, take a moment to consider what your vote says about America and where you believe that America should be.

Should we as a country be moving forward or moving backward?

Commentary by Andrew Burden, senior from Slaughters, Ky.