Making the case: Peter Stanton, family history centre director at the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints on Stonechurch Road in Hamilton.
As told to Flannery Dean:
Number one, the debt is unbelievable in the US. I can't blame Obama for the whole thing, but I don't think he's managed it properly. I think Romney has a business head on his shoulders. For example, he brought the (Salt Lake City Winter) Olympics from a deficit to making money.
As far as [his relationship] to Canada, I'm a Latter-Day Saint, I know the beliefs he has. We're going to benefit from his leadership.
He's honest in all his dealings. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be a member of good standing in the church.
As a family man, he has six sons and all the grandkids and daughters-in-law that go with that. On family issues, he's top-notch. He takes care of his family. You can broaden that to residents of the U.S. — that's his big family.
No question he would be heavily involved with the Canadian government. There would be a great rapport with Canada. He is an easygoing individual and would get along with Harper or anyone who is in that position.
Making the case: Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, there is widespread concern in the American mainstream press about how it will affect the upcoming presidential elections. The implication being that a natural disaster may undermine the electoral process and distort what for many is the most significant expression of democracy in American politics. Unfortunately, the problems facing the upcoming election speak less to the effects of a natural disaster than to a more serious political crisis regarding the viability of the electoral process as the ultimate measure of democratic paraticipation.
The first is that such elections actually provide a choice for the American public. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the choice is between Mitt Romney who is the titular head of a highly motivated and angry Republican Party that is now largely controlled by a range of extremists that include ultra-conservative advocates of market fundamentalism and extreme religious zealots along with a mix of right-wing billionaires, all of whom are intent on destroying any vestige of the welfare state while, suppressing gay rights and enacting voter suppression laws. And all of whom Romney and his handlers pander to even if it means constantly altering their positions on a range of issues.
On the other hand, Barack Obama is a conservative centrist who has repeatedly compromised his liberal policies on domestic issues while legitimating a range of foreign and domestic policies that have shredded civil liberties, expanded the permanent warfare state, and increased the domestic reach of the punitive surveillance state.
The second assumption that undermines the electoral process and the coming election as the highest expression of American democracy is that the process is now entirely controlled and corrupted by the power of big money. Under such circumstances, politics dissolves into pathology as those who are able to dominate politics and policy-making do so largely because of their disproportionate control of the nation’s income and wealth and the benefits they gain from the systemic reproduction of an iniquitous social order. In other words, electoral politics is rigged and any notion of liberal politics that is willing to invest in such ritualistic pageantry adds to the current dysfunctional nature of American society while reinforcing a profound failure of political imagination.
The issue is no longer how to work within the current electoral system but how to dismantle it and construct a new political landscape and vision of democracy in which people can recognize themselves, a vision that connects with and speaks to the American publicÕs desires, dreams, and hopes. The American public needs a new conversation about democracy, equality, and the redistribution of wealth and power. And we need to explore how such a discourse can offer the conditions for critical visions, modes of governance, and policy making. In this instance, the debate on electoral politics is only one part of a much needed conversation of what a democracy looks like and what it takes to make it more than a commodity for sale to the highest bidder.
Yet, with that said Obama is the lesser of two evils for Hamilton and Canada in general. There have been some vestiges of progressivism in his policies, which includes passing healthcare insurance, saving the auto industry, and adding new regulatory protections for consumers. He is less of a Hawk than Romney on militarism, racism, and materialism, as Cornel West points out, but he deserves support in light of what the choices are in this election. At a different time under less urgent circumstances, the conversation would focus on what it takes to fulfil promises of a democracy not to vote for the lesser of two evils for the presidency of the United States.