Last night’s presidential debate was disappointing, to say the least. I’m sad to say that by the end of it, I was most excited about the Big Bird gifs and other jokes that were bound to appear (actually, I saw the first Big Bird gif before the debate even ended) because no one said much of anything we didn’t already know.
Discussions on Twitter and Facebook revolved around not only Big Bird, but also about comparing Jim Lehrer to a high school substitute teacher, who won the debate and speculations of why Obama didn’t bring up Romney’s 47 percent remark. While it’s interesting to consider which candidate put on a better show last night, that isn’t what I care about. In fact, the things I care about most went almost completely untouched last night.
- Skilled Labor. There was a huge opening for this topic at the beginning of the debate, when the candidates discussed job creation. I think Romney muttered “skilled work” one time before moving on to more important things like firing Big Bird and how his Obama stole his health care ideas. This is frustrating because we have such great opportunity in our skilled labor forces. Unfortunately, the industry is suffering in our down economy. But with a little nudge, these important jobs could provide work for many Americans. I’m really surprised Romney didn’t elaborate on it, considering Mike Rowe is backing Governor Romney in the race. [CORRECTION: Unfortunately, I was misinformed. Rowe is not campaigning for Romney. Rather, he is promoting his own PR campaign regarding the Skills Gap. While this doesn’t change that I want to hear Romney’s point-of-view regarding skilled labor, I want you to have the facts. My apologies for the misinformation.]
- Women’s Health. Another huge opening here that neither candidate took. This is particularly frustrating because it addresses questions a lot of women have right now regarding each candidate’s proposed health plan. What will RomneyCare or ObamaCare mean for birth control coverage? What about my check-ups? Breast cancer? Ovarian or cervical cancer? And, of course, the big ol’ elephant: abortion. While I realize Medicaid and Medicare are important to discuss when we talk about health care, I also think the candidates need to keep their young voters in mind. Young single women are the swing voters this year; remember that, Obama and Romney.
- Internet Freedom. Remember SOPA and how it was very close to passing? That scared the shit out of me. Although intellectual property should definitely be protected, it shouldn’t be at the risk of online freedom. I want to know what each candidate will do to look out for Internet freedom and intellectual property.
- Cyber Security. Admittedly, I hadn’t even considered this until Mashable included it on a list of tech topics to look for in the debate. But it’s true: cyber security is a big deal. It’s an important issue to consider as an individual, a company or a government. We know how Obama will react to online privacy invasions such as CISPA, but Romney has been rather quiet about the whole thing. I’d love to know what he plans to do to keep governmental information secure while protecting individual Americans’ security and privacy (or if he has such plans).
- NASA. We have a good idea how Obama feels about space exploration, but we haven’t heard much (if anything) from Romney. If he wins the election, will we see some (or, better yet, all) of our space exploration programs re-implemented? Though it isn’t a top priority, I still want to know. This is an area in which the U.S. has excelled for years. I don’t want to see it diminish in a mere four.
I’m trying to not give up hope on these fellas yet. The next presidential debate (on October 16) will give undecided voters a chance to ask questions about both foreign and domestic policies. I really, really hope some of these topics come up then–and that Americans (and the candidates) will start taking the election seriously.
Photo via Mashable.