Washington, D.C., is seriously messed up. Politicians behave like children; between filibustering and name-calling, they hardly have time to get any governing done. And when they do, many politicians fight to devolve our civil rights and to put the interests of corporations and the wealthy first. If we, the people of Massachusetts and the students of Massachusetts, don’t send a representative to Washington who will make a difference, we are hurting ourselves and perpetuating a problem that’s hurting all Americans. That’s why we have to vote for Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate from Massachusetts in the 2012 Senate election. We have to make sure that Massachusetts becomes a part of the solution toward which President Barack Obama and many other Democrats are working.
A critical issue at stake for students at the College in the senate election is the affordability of a college education. American universities are leaders in education, innovation, research and price. When I tell people from the UK, France, Mexico or dozens of other countries that my school costs over $50,000 a year and that many of my peers who attend private institutions will graduate with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, they are rightfully shocked. How can a first-world country make higher education such an aristocracy?
Warren is an advocate for students. She promises to fight to improve college affordability and comprehensively reform the higher education system to fit our nation, the land of opportunity. Her opponent, Scott Brown, a current Republican senator from Massachusetts, on the other hand, did not support the Democrats’ motion to expand a program keeping student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent (rather than 2007 levels of 6.8 percent) this year.
Now, for a hot issue across the country and definitely one that Williams students should care about: women’s health and liberties. Warren will fight for women; she refuses to see America as a country where women’s rights can be systematically devolved to levels from 1955. She is a supporter of a woman’s right to choose and the Affordable Care Act, which covers contraception and preventative care costs for all women. Brown is also a supporter of a woman’s right to choose, but he only supports a woman’s right to choose in conjunction with strong parental consent laws, laws that require parental permission for young women to receive abortion procedures. I can’t help but think of a hypothetical 17-year-old girl whose conservative mother will not allow her to get an abortion and who subsequently will have to give up her dreams and become a teenage mother because of such laws. So, spare me, Scott Brown. That girl should be able to look forward to college or to becoming an independent adult, and that shouldn’t be threatened by her parents’ ideals.
Further, Brown was a co-sponsor of the aggressive Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer, not only religious groups, to opt out of any coverage requirements – not just contraception requirements – of the Affordable Care Act.
As for the most important issue for most Americans, the economy, Warren pledges to be an advocate for the middle class. Warren has promised to fight to restructure our tax system by cutting out loopholes and tax breaks for hedge funds and oil and gas companies. She will help move the nation toward Clinton-era tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, making sure all Americans pay their fair share. She’ll work on behalf of small businesses, the biggest employers in America, to simplify regulations and level the playing field for them by cutting tax breaks for big business and subsidies for big oil and gas companies. Brown, on the other hand, wants to return to the outdated ideals of the Bush era by lowering taxes for the wealthiest Americans and deregulating big businesses that selfishly put the average American last.
There you go. There you have it. Those are our candidates. Who do you think will bring your voice to Washington? Check out Warren and Brown’s next debate on Oct. 1, and make sure to register to vote – especially now that the College has made it easy through its partnership with TurboVote.
Carmen Linero ’16 is from Harrison, N.Y. She lives in West.