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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Economy Obscures Other Issues

    According to the latest CNN.com poll, 58 percent of voters ranked the economy as the most important issue when they will decide who to vote for for president.

    Indeed, Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as the mainstream media, have put economic concerns at the top of their agendas. In all three debates, the same question was asked about their plans to solve the country’s financial woes, and each answer sounded suspiciously like the last. Both men laid out their blueprints and explained their ideology, but this allowed little time for discussion about other topics that might have dominated a debate even only a few months ago.

    The need for energy independence, national security, and healthcare all came up; however, these exchanges always related back to the key point of how it affects our pockets. There were some infrequently mentioned issues, however, that I think should have been given much more attention. What about immigration reform? I do not recall the candidates sparring over immigration in the debates — an issue related to the economy and national security as well.

    Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. After all, why should the main concern not be the main focus of debates and stump speeches? America is the richest country in the world after all, shouldn’t we be most worried about what we most prize and possesses, our wealth?

    Of course we should be worried, but I also think we need to take a close look at what we really care about as Americans. If only 7 percent of polled Americans are willing to rank issues such as illegal immigration, abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control or stem cell research above the economy, then how much do these issues really matter to the average American?

    These issues matter, but the panic related to the economy shows the true values of the everyday average American. Perhaps if the economy was thriving and the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, then a majority would rank abortion rights as the most important issue. I suspect, however, that most other Westernized and or industrialized countries share a similar concern about strictly financial matters when economic times turn tough.

    We are motivated by monetary gain and the only thing we focus more on than gaining money is how to avoid losing it. When our bank accounts go awry, all other issues plummet to the bottom of our watch list. Maybe this is the result of years of capitalist gaining and training, our enjoyment and fulfillment of the benefits of the free market and democratic system, but whatever the reason, at the end of the day we care about our money and much less about social and philosophical ideologies than we claim we do.

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