The Common Good

What Was Really Said at the Debate?

Last night millions of Americans watched the first Presidential debate of the 2012 election season. During the 90-minute debate, there were significant policy discussions about a range of issues, deep disagreements between the two candidates, and even a threat to Big Bird’s job security. Yet despite all the arguing there was much left unsaid by President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

The poverty rate remains the highest it has been in nearly 40 years, but there was little discussion on how to address it. Immigration wasn’t mentioned. Inner-city violence was completely ignored. Both candidates DID have plenty to say about the “middle class” and the issues polls reveal are politically potent to this portion of the electorate. We heard a lot about protecting the financial security of these voters but the silence around protecting those whom Jesus deemed “the least of these” is deafening.

My message for the candidates is simple and clear. During these last weeks of the campaign, talk explicitly and specifically about the way your politics will affect the poor and the hungry. 

Let us know how you’ll welcome (or not welcome) the visitor in our midst. These may not be the issues that poll the best but they are incredibly important to the future of our country.


Knox Robinson is a semester intern at Sojourners. He’s currently a senior at LaGrange College, where he’s majoring in Sociology and Political Science

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