Americans have lost the meaning of what this country really is.
America is more than an accounting sheet. America is more than the sum of its GDP, its total tax collections or its total outlays.
America is a family. America is a home. America is a place that we love. America is a place to which we give our loyalty, our allegiance and our devotion.
However, Washington has forgotten for far too long that it owes its loyalty, its allegiance and its devotion to the citizens of this country who call it home.
Washington does not serve the interests of people living overseas or corporations headquartered all across the globe.
Washington owes its loyalty to the real flesh-and-blood citizens who together create this body of politics, this nation, this home — all of which is represented by the flag of the United States of America.
Finally, I believe a good portion of the voters in America are mad enough to express this, but we need to ensure we are expressing this by nominating the right candidate. That cannot be done without research and paying attention to the rhetoric and the issues of the past years and not just what candidates say during the election cycle.
There are two issues in this upcoming election that have garnered an alarmingly small amount of media attention but have a huge impact on the future of our country. However, most importantly, it is going to have a huge impact on us as students.
The first is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a free trade agreement that has been agreed to but is not yet signed into law. The other is the I-squared bill, which triples the number of H-1B visas, used to employ workers in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related field.
The text of TPP is a 5,554 page document, which is by definition anti-democratic. It is a free trade agreement, which, if signed, will give every country in this partnership the same bargaining power in negotiating trade deals. Malaysia, one vote, Vietnam, one vote, Peru, one vote — the list goes on and on until we get to the United States of America.
And yes, America gets one vote, too.
This partnership, in which America holds 40 percent of the total GDP, gives the president of the United States the same bargaining power and vote as the Sultan of Brunei. This deal does not serve the interest of the citizens whom the Republican establishment misrepresented as they were voting to authorize the fast tracking of TPP.
But the real impact would be, according a Tufts University study, an estimated 448,000 jobs lost and the sharp reduction in U.S. worker wages.
The I-squared bill, co-sponsored and authored by Marco Rubio, is equally devastating for those about to enter the workforce. Rubio will tell you the purpose of the bill is to triple the number of visas to help American companies hire foreigners with specialized skills, mainly in science and technology, for positions for which American workers with those abilities cannot be found.
However, that is simply not the case. In fact, according to census data, three out of four Americans don’t actually hold a job within a STEM-related field, because there simply are not enough jobs.
This bill was not brought forward by Marco Rubio with the best interest of the American people. It was introduced for corporations so that they can increase the competition of jobs, therefore lowering wages. The corporations’ owners, like Mark Zuckerberg, are now, by coincidence, the same ones giving a lot of money to Rubio’s campaign.
So as you go to the polls on Tuesday, I ask all of you to ask yourself how you feel about somebody who is willing to give these corporations everything they want without keeping the interest of the American people in mind.
These two issues are going to have a huge impact on us as college students when we graduate, and I believe it separates many on just the TPP issue alone. I hope you will consider this when going to the polls.
Breakdown of where the presidential candidates stand on TPP:
Ted Cruz: Originally voted for the fast tracking of the TPP, but reversed his vote after reconsidering.
Donald Trump: Said, “I have strongly and consistently opposed the TPP.”
Marco Rubio: Voted for the fast tracking of the TPP.
Ben Carson: Said he would be open to considering TPP.
John Kasich: Supported the TPP, saying it is “critical for economic alliances.”
Bernie Sanders: Voted against TPP.
Hillary Clinton: Supported TPP as secretary of state, but said she no longer supports it.
Where Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District candidates stand on TPP:
Martha Roby: Voted for the fast tracking of the TPP.
Becky Gerritson: Said she is opposed to the TPP, and would not have voted to fast-track it.