Employees Being Coerced Into Voting For Romney
In a recently uncovered taped conference call to the conservative National Federation of Independent Businesses from June, Mitt Romney can be heard asking business bosses to “make it clear to their employees” what is in the best interest of their company, and thus what is best for their jobs in the future. CEOs around the country have, apparently, listened. Business bosses like the Koch brothers, who employ more than 45,000 people, to CEOs who employ only 1,000 people have sent coercive emails out to employees warning of the implications of an Obama re-election. These emails, though not directly threatening employees’ jobs (for the most part), certainly amount to political pressure and implicit coercion.
This coercion is not OK. These emails are a symptom of a larger problem of the richest Americans believing they do not have to play by the rules. And Mitt Romney is this problem incarnate. Many conservative defenders of these types of actions would rightly argue that these CEOs did nothing illegal in sending out these emails. Just like Mitt Romney did nothing illegal in keeping money in offshore accounts and tax havens to avoid paying what Congress had deemed his fair share. But just because something is not quite illegal, does not make it morally or ethically justifiable.
Mitt Romney’s seemingly infinite disregard for the rules and systems under which this country operates is astonishing. His political campaign, with its continuous flip-flopping on issues of abortion and tax plan shows not only a violation of the laws of mathematics, but a blatant disrespect for the American people who are trying to make an informed decision about the future path of this country. His decision to speak out in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Libya without all of the facts (thus undermining both the state department and the president of the United States) is a testament to this lack of respect. It is a well-worn quote that “we only have one president at a time for a reason,” and whether or not you agree with that president, you respect his role all the same. This is not to mention Romney’s countless violations of pre-arranged rules in Tuesday night’s debate.
So why does it matter?
Respect and character aren’t policy. Isn’t it all just a part of the political game? Shouldn’t Mitt Romney be able to say what he wants to about the administration’s foreign policy decisions and do what he wants with regards to his personal taxes? As an individual? Yes. As a candidate for the president of the United States? No. As an electorate, we have to hold our presidential candidates to a higher standard. Our leaders should embody the American values we cherish the most, from personal responsibility to tolerance and equality. They, more than anyone, should be held accountable to the rules. They, more than anyone, should believe that all the people in this country deserve an opportunity to thrive, not just 53 percent of them.
So when we go to the polls in November, let’s remember character, as well as policy. Because how our leaders deal with situations and the characteristics they value do matter. We need to know the type of person we are choosing to represent us, and trust them to act always to promote the general welfare of all Americans.
Anne Boring is a senior from Decatur, GA, majoring in history and minoring in political science.