Current Events: Romney the Bully; Regulate the Banks
Hi everyone! It has been a fun week. There’s more news than I could fit in the full OED, but before I jump in, I have to mention: Obama and gay marriage. I know you have already heard, and I fully support SparkLife’s official stance on the issue (yay for editorial boards that take positions!) but I just want to add: most of my friends, and the people I’ve chatted with about this don’t seem to realize how incredibly momentous and historical this moment is. This is huge. Gargantuan. Massive. A turning point for a civil rights movement, the beginning of a change in the fundamentals of society. Take a moment to sit back and appreciate the history in the making. Now, on to this week’s news:
-JPMorgan, a big finance company, recently announced a two billion dollar loss. And once again, the debate is back on Wall St. I have to say, this is the kind of risky trading that caused a lot of this trouble, and the housing bubble, in the first place. To anyone in charge: regulate. Please? For me. I’ll love you for, like, ten days, and bake you my special s’mores brownies. Just tell these big companies that certain types of trading aren’t okay because they affect everyone. Small investors, people who are not using money as confetti, should be discouraged, and have more information, about investments that are unstable. Most importantly, when banks fail, taxpayers and the government carries the cost.
History can tell us about this too. A major way that the Great Depression was resolved was government involvement, through insurance on people’s bank accounts and limits on the amount of risk banks could take. This worked to end the panic. During the Gilded Age (minimal government involvement) there were panics about every six years. That’s a lot, folks. So once again I say: regulate.
-Reports have been made that in high school (well, at an upscale private school), Mitt Romney was a bully. He “mercilessly,” harassed other students for being gay and/or different. The story getting the most notice holds that he led a pack of boys in chasing, pinning down and shaving the head of a crying gay classmate. To be honest, I don’t know if something Romney did decades ago, as a teenager, can be held against him now. Yes, it is terrible. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the same person; that he doesn’t regret it or that he would be a bad president.
What really bothers me about this whole affair is the way Romney handled it. He said that sure, he had participated in “hijinks and pranks,” and maybe some went to far, but he’s a different guy now. Bullying is a huge problem that everyone, including Romney, is aware of. This was an opportunity for him to teach the nation about learning from mistakes, repentance, and bullying. This was an opportunity for powerful leadership, and Romney chose to equivocate and avoid taking responsibility. That’s the behavior I’m looking at, not what he did as a teenager.
-Y’all know about the soaring cost of college. I know I do. Well, there may be a new trend in higher education: online classes. Schools like MIT, Stanford, Princeton and UPenn have jumped on the internet bandwagon. These classes allow students top-rated educations without the price tag. I think we can expect debate to come on how much online learning can replace real, live college. But it could be the answer to the crippling bill that comes along with an education.
-Since we’re talking about gay rights, Bristol Palin (remember her? Sarah’s daughter?) weighed in, announcing that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, and that children ought to be raised by one mom and one dad. This is consistent with the conservative Republican viewpoint, which Romney follows. But. Bristol Palin has a child out of wedlock; she is a single mother. Personally, I have no problem with that, but she’s not exactly providing the ideal “one mom-one dad” environment for her child that she believes in. She has said that her child was conceived in a drunken haze... I’m sorry, but this is simply not consistent with her beliefs.
What do you think about this week's events?
Photo from Splash News.
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