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Talk about real issues

Election season is heating up, entering the phase of disturbing evening robocalls and vigorous back-and-forth negative advertising. Though the American voter should be accustomed to such antics by now, this is one mid-term election in which a more serious approach to the issues would be most welcome. This time, when you walk in to vote, remember which candidates took on the serious issues and maintained credibility while doing so.

Republicans have released their “Pledge to America,” giving Democrats the opportunity to pick apart their platform and highlight their own plans if elected. It is certainly true that the economy (despite our being told the Great Recession ended in June of 2009: Why didn’t we notice?), taxes, health care and unemployment are high on voters’ priority lists. However, it is disingenuous of politicians to behave as if their constituents are almost unaware or generally uncaring that the country is still embroiled in two conflicts in the Middle East.

It is untrue, and insulting to imply, that most Americans are untouched by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though this view is often pushed by media commentators and politicians alike. Even if they do not have personal relationships with soldiers who are or have been stationed overseas, the toll of human lives lost and of the wounded returning home touches many Americans. And, it is difficult to overestimate the effect the economic cost of the wars will have on future generations, as well as the current one. Americans are smart enough to notice these things.

The Obama administration is attempting to find a path to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which will surely help the environment in the Middle East if successful. But whether, down the road, this initiative is successful or not, those running for national office now need to clearly state their views on the ongoing conflicts and their plans on ways to deal with exiting, or continuing to fund, these wars. Voters should expect no less when their country has been in conflict for too many years, with too few results to support the same strategy continuing into the next decade.

If the job is not done yet, there needs to be a much better case made than those out there right now to justify the monumental sacrifices made every day by the nation’s servicemen and women, as well as the continuing financial drain of current policy, which is pulling the United States deeper and deeper into debt.

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