In one week the Republican Party faithful will gather in Tampa, Florida to nominate Mitt Romney, to run against President Barack Obama, for President of the United States. Undoubtedly, the Republicans will tout their patriotism and love for America, while at the same time conspiring to cut the safety-net from under American Middle/Working Classes. As my grandmother used to say “actions speak louder than words”-and the actions I’m witnessing from Mitt Romney are truly shameful for a man who aspires to be President of United States.
One example of how out of touch Mr. Romney is with everyday people was illustrated during a primary debate when he turned to one of his opponents, extended his hand and challenged him to a $10,000 bet. He appeared to be totally insensitive to the fact that most Americans didn’t have thousands of dollars readily available for spontaneous bets. Apparently, Mr. Romney didn’t know-or care that hundreds of thousands of Americans were surviving the worse financial recession in decades, were losing homes and going through tough times. Mr. Romney’s efforts were embarrassing and shameful-even to Republicans, as he tried to portray himself as an average guy and a “betting man.” Instead he revealed a lack of sensitivity to viewers like me.
It is also a shame that Mitt Romney refuses to release more than two years of his tax returns. His refusal denies American voters proof regarding his tax rates, business dealings and finances. Why should we take his word about what he has paid in taxes in past years? I believe the American people have a right to know about the financial history of an individual running for President of the United States. What tax breaks has he enjoyed? Who are his business partners and where is his money off-shored? What is his tax rate compared to other Americans? It’s not that I begrudge Mitt Romney his wealth-it’s just that I believe voters have the right to have a full picture of a person who wants to lead America. Demanding to see Mitt Romney’s tax returns is not “small- minded”–it is a much more appropriate request than the never-ending demands to see President Obama’s birth certificate, which has been provided time and again.
Last week, Mitt Romney performed another great act of shame by choosing Paul Ryan as his choice for Vice Presidential running mate. Pundits have called this selection a “game changer” and I agree. Paul Ryan, is a darling of the Tea Party and a self- proclaimed Ideologue who doesn’t know or care about the devastating impact of the budget cuts he has proposed. Ryan is a young man with no business experience, no foreign policy experience and no idea what it is like to be poor or living on the edge with unemployment, a foreclosed home, or a sick child with no health coverage. Mr. Ryan is
part of the problem in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of Congress for 14 years-the same time period when the U.S. Congress has received the lowest approval ratings in history. It’s embarrassing-albeit shameful, that Mitt Romney would choose a young man who represents the inability of the U.S. Congress to engage in bi-partisan compromise to pass and enact legislation that moves the USA forward–not backwards.
Mitt Romney wants to use Paul Ryan’s financial skills to sell a Republican budget that puts far too much weight on the backs of the American Middle/Working Class, and the poor. The budget Mitt Romney is promoting asks for no shared sacrifice from all segments of the American public. He wants to give the wealthy additional tax cuts, while making deep budget cuts in safety net programs that keep the poorest amongst us from falling through the cracks. Enlarging the population of Americans who live in poverty doesn’t strengthen national security or the economy-it weakens both. For example, Mitt Romney’s proposed budget would impact thousands of impoverished elderly who rely on Medicaid to cover nursing homes; penalizes people under 55 years old by radically changing Medicare and Social Security; cuts free school lunches for thousands of children and would eliminate thousands of families from eligibility for food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children, Food and Nutrition program (WIC). Plus, Mr. Romney wants to tie Medicare and Social Security to Wall Street. Wouldn’t it be awful if the same results occurred that we’ve seen in recent years in the Wall Street banking fiasco, mortgage crisis and unpredictable stock market?
If Mitt Romney had a conscience he would be ashamed of himself. He is the architect of a campaign that prescribes an insensitive, cold-blooded approach to the American people. The type of leadership displayed by the Romney/Ryan ticket is a cause for shame not celebration-and Mitt Romney is the architect of this shame. As a citizen activist and active member of Black Women for Obama for Change, I call on Mitt Romney to reconsider his harsh views and let the voters see a more compassionate and caring side of his personality and leadership style. Let’s not make this campaign an exercise in shame. The American people deserve more.