Make your vote in 2012 based on values, not parties

When you look at the evolution of the Republican platform, there are three issues conservatives are very passionate about: foreign policy/national security, individual liberty and freedom and the national deficit. However, the policies Mitt Romney and Republicans are suggesting are completely hypocritical and contradictory to what they say the party stands for.

For decades now, Republicans have made the government’s involvement in foreign policy a major priority. Republicans argue that President Obama’s cuts to military spending have threatened the safety of the country, making us more vulnerable to attacks.

The reality is throwing money at the problem cannot improve the security of our nation. The only way to enhance our national security is to continue the transparent, strategic and diplomatic approach President Obama has taken so far in his presidency. Republicans will contest that Obama has failed to display leadership as the Chief Diplomat as well as Commander-in-Chief, but when you look at the facts, the exact opposite is true.

When President Obama took office he displayed decisive leadership by refocusing our national security priorities. As a result, “more of al-Qaeda’s senior leadership has been eliminated in the last three years than at any time since Sept. 11, 2001,” which is stated on the Obama campaign website.

Most notably, the death of the group’s leader Osama bin Laden, has been a clear indicator that Barack Obama is committed to meeting the challenge of dismantling al-Qaeda. This is a clear contrast to Mitt Romney, who commented on the subject of capturing Osama bin Laden in a 2007 interview with the Associated Press by saying, “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

When President Obama ended the war in Iraq and welcomed home the last troops, Mitt Romney said it was “tragic” and responded to the withdrawal of troops from Iraq as an “astonishing failure.” If you’re someone who considers themselves to be a conservative, the facts would suggest that you would want a leader and president like Barack Obama, who has experience and great success in the area of national security. But because of the partisan atmosphere that’s present, many “conservatives” will ignore these facts and vote against Barack Obama, even if it’s contradictory to their own values.

Another issue, which conservatives say they’re genuinely passionate about, is individual freedom and liberty. If Republicans were really serious about preserving individual freedom and liberty, they wouldn’t attempt to manipulate the federal government’s powers to interfere in extremely personal issues, like defining the definition of marriage to prevent gay and lesbian couples from solidifying their love — just like every straight couple has the privilege of doing.

If Republicans were serious about preserving individual freedom and liberty, they wouldn’t allow the federal government and state governments to micromanage a woman’s body, or tell a woman what kind of decisions she can and can’t make regarding her own reproductive health.

If Republicans actually valued individual freedom and liberty they would stop using the power of government to attempt to send America back to the past, when women weren’t allowed to make their own choices regarding their reproductive health, like abortion or when women didn’t have the Lilly Ledbetter Act to help prevent against pay discrimination based on sex. However, most conservatives won’t base their vote according to each candidate’s values or the factual information; instead they’ll base their vote off of “their” party’s negative and false depictions of Barack Obama.

Republicans have accused President Obama of reckless spending and blame him for a large part of our national deficit. Conservatives take a strong stand on cutting government spending and decreasing the size of government… except for when it has to do with the interests they represent, such as wealthy individuals and military spending.

Mitt Romney is quick to criticize the $787 billion President Obama allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which resulted in saving millions of jobs. However, what Mitt Romney won’t be quick to criticize is his own promises for a $2 trillion increase to military spending and a $250,000 tax cut for millionaires and billionaires without a plan to pay for the spending, implying that middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up and drastic cuts will be made to critical government programs.

So come Nov. 6, while you’re in the voting booth, ask yourself this question: Are you putting your own values before your political party’s agenda?

A.J. Foltz is a freshman political science major. His column appears every other Tuesday in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.