The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 21, 2012

Pamela Hankins, guest columnist: Candidates have lost sight of what’s important

As a longtime centrist of sorts, I have always welcomed a provoking discussion of differing political opinions, especially those opinions that inherently define our bipartisan government.

But this constant political tug of war between the Democratic and Republican parties is getting absurd.

The presidential candidates, in their respective bids for the Oval Office and all its glittery generalities, have lost focus of what’s really important to America.

Lawmakers only seem to focus on crime when violence makes the news, but Congress can never pass the legislation that protects law-abiding citizens.

How can America tell Syria to stop its bloody violence against humanity when we can’t even control Chicago’s violent street gangs?

How can our nation effectively police other countries when it can’t control illegal immigration and violence bordering the southern states? Has Congress forgotten its reason for being?

This is why the upcoming presidential election is so crucial to our nation. Whether we vote for a president who believes health care is a priority or for a president who believes economics and job creation are priorities, one thing is certain: It will be a pivotal moment in America’s history.

Personally, I feel all three are priorities. Having only studied Economics 101, I believe if creating jobs was a priority, it would indeed revitalize our economy — the government could properly better afford so-called health care for all Americans.

No matter the outcome in November, it will determine the fall or rise of our socioeconomic way of life as we know it.

Every day the media reports growing tensions and threats between our country and countries like Syria, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Pakistan.

Both candidates are so busy squabbling over health care and jobs, apparently they don’t even acknowledge that our national security should also be a top priority.

A president’s first and foremost duty is to protect the citizens of this country.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are so busy with domestic issues, they have ignored the likelihood of being blindsided by the aforementioned adversaries. If ever we need politicians who are strong in making foreign policy, the time is now.

When a country is weakened economically and militarily, it is easy prey. And, by the way, what good are jobs and health care if we cannot even stand up to these big bullies who think they can destroy our great nation?

Pamela Hankins has lived in Joplin the past 36 years. She is a retired social welfare caseworker.

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