At the conclusion of the second part of this series I asked a question I’ve repeated on many occasions: What kind of a nation are we? What kind of a nation will we be?

Others wonder the same. We ought to consider a heart-felt answer to those inquiries as we vote today.

You can add today’s commentary to your musings about other important considerations in casting your vote. I’m offering some observations/quotes worth noting … and pondering further.

I’ll reserve most of my comments for other times. For now, the narrative offered via these independent yet interrelated quotes are sufficient on their own.

Mitt Romney told a lie Friday, scaring Ohio’s Jeep workers with a claim that Jeep is shutting down US manufacturing and moving it to China. Now he is doubling down on this lie with a new ad. He is calculating that the lies will scare enough poorly-informed people to vote his way, never mind the truth. And we could see a president elected based on just lying….
The things Mitt Romney says can just astonish you. Romney shows a wondrous perfection of the ability to smile and just say whatever needs to be said at the moment to make the sale.
This time he tries to scare Ohioans by saying Jeep is leaving the country and taking all its jobs with it (when it is really expanding into other countries) and then promises to ‘fight for every American job.’ He says this even as Bain Capital’s Sensata is closing their factory here and sending all its jobs to China — adding even more money to Romney’s huge fortune….
If we elect a president based on a campaign of flat-out lies, deception and misdirection what kind of country will we have as a result? [1]

[See Robert Reich’s take on the lies here].

It is no secret that political candidates are capable of doing awful things when they are reach the desperate final days of an election campaign.
But trying to scare American workers into believing that a government initiative that saved their industry was some sort of secret scheme to shutter major plants and offshore jobs is more than just creepy. It’s economic fear-mongering of a sort that is destructive to the spirit of communities and to the very future of the republic as an industrial force….
George Romney’s ne’re-do-well son, a very different sort of businessman who devoted his career to taking apart American companies and offshoring jobs, is trying to resurrect his presidential candidacy with a big lie.
And the lie is about Jeeps….
Jeep’s parent company, Chrysler, rushed to clarify that Romney was completely, totally, incredibly wrong.…
What was Romney’s response.
Up the ad buy.
Expand the big lie so that it is now enormous.
The deception has become such a serious issue that, on Tuesday, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne felt compelled to clarify what is becoming an international controversy.
‘Chrysler Group’s production plans for the Jeep brand have become the focus of public debate. I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,’ wrote Marchionne….
Yet, Mitt Romney’s campaign is still running the ad.
Still lying. [2]

Lying is a form of abuse. It is a form of battering. It shows incredible disrespect to the people you expect to believe your lies. People who are lied to repeatedly lose their sense of what truth is, their grounding and their faith. They can become cynical, and no longer even able to trust those they should trust.
Lying to a country harms the country. Policies based on lies lead to disasters. A population that has been primed to believe things that are not true is a population that can be herded into outrageous actions. Look at the damage done when the country discovered that Nixon was dishonest — to this day people cannot believe in their government. Look at the damage done when people realized that Bush lied us into the Iraq war. If Romney is elected based on a campaign of lies, what will be left of us? What is left us us already, that he could rise so far?
What does Romney’s campaign of lies say about our country — and US? This is a question we all need to discuss honestly. Can we? [3]

Echoing those thoughts is an op-ed by Bob Cuddy:

[A]fter the events of the past several weeks, especially the second presidential debate, two things are as clear as clear can be about Romney.
First, he’s a bully.
Second, he’s a relentless and spectacular liar….
As to the lying, it’s true that ‘they (politicians) all do it.’ But Romney takes dissembling to new horizons. He’s almost light-hearted in the open way he changes his tune. He cheerfully admits that he said something different last week, and doesn’t seem to care that everyone can see it.
Romney and his camp own up to his lies as though they were an unimportant and necessary cost of doing business.

Mitt Romney kept quiet last week when the subject was rape and God’s will. He remained silent the week before when the news was all about Illinois factory workers pleading with him to stop his alma mater Bain Capital from offshoring their jobs.
At no time this year did Mitt denounce Republican employers who threatened their workers if President Obama is re-elected or condemn repeated Republican legislative attempts to suppress Democratic votes.
Throughout the campaign, Mitt Romney confronted numerous George Washington moments — opportunities to establish an aura of honor. It takes moxie to tell fellow Republicans that voter suppression is un-American. Only a guy with strongly held principles would stand up to the firm he founded and insist they stop the morally bankrupt practice of offshoring jobs from profit-making American factories. At every turn, Romney chose the ignoble path. He kept his mouth shut rather than speak up for what’s right. [4]

I hope we close this campaign by reminding voters that the values of the 47% video and the Republican convention are not just Romney’s values, but his party’s values, and that putting them in charge of the country would be a disaster. [5]

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner, and with a rather impressive CV and more than a passing knowledge about economics and fiscal policy, offered this in a recent interview for Salon with Andrew Leonard:

The budget cuts that Romney/Ryan propose will certainly slow growth. If the European downturn continues that could tip us into a recession. The cuts certainly won’t provide the kind of stimulus that Obama’s jobs bill, for instance, pushes. Romney’s plan is based on magic: Just because he gets elected, the economy is supposed to take off. There is no evidence that anything like that would happen. Quite the contrary — I think the opposite would happen. The business community would see the cutbacks coming and that would itself cause a slowdown in the economy.
So that’s the macroeconomy. Secondly, the Romney/Ryan budget promises to spend more on the military while cutting taxes and cutting the deficit, and that means only one thing. If you look at the arithmetic, it means less investment in infrastructure, R&D, education … it just can’t add up any other way. And that means we’ll be growing more slowly in the future.
The irony is that these two things — lower growth now and lower growth in the future — means that our debt-to-GDP ratio won’t improve, it will get worse….
If Romney wins, we will become a more divided society, a more unfair society. And that in turn will bring greater inequality, and will also undermine our growth.

And finally, from The Atlantic’s right-leaning/libertarian-ish/definitely-not-a-fan-of-and-not-voting-for Obama (or Romney) Conor Friedersdorf:

[Romney] supports policies that are an affront to the Constitution, can’t possibly make good on his domestic agenda, and has terrible foreign policy judgment….
For months, he has attacked the incumbent. He would have us believe that he is more attuned to American values and prudent enough to understand the importance of limiting federal power. He speaks as if he holds the values of the founders in high esteem, extolling the Constitution and portraying himself as a principled champion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
What a joke….
In his capacity as a husband and father, Romney seems to be a man of integrity. As a politician and elected official, he has repeatedly shown himself willing to lie without a hint of shame or remorse. He has a well-deserved reputation for flip-flopping in a particularly off-putting way, insisting not only on his new position, but that it is what he’s fervently believed all along….
As Romney tells it, he’ll cut tax rates 20 percent, repeal the estate tax, refrain from raising taxes on the middle class, refrain from cuts to Medicare, spend more on the military, possibly wage a war against Iran, and reduce the deficit. Doing all he’s promised is mathematically impossible. The conservative media can pretend that Romney isn’t awful on all the issues I’ve mentioned.
I won’t. [6]

Neither should any of us. It’s our future, too, after all.

We don’t have a perfect President. Many have honest, fact-based, and/or legitimate philosophical differences with him. He has disappointed many, and failed to live up to (perhaps too high) expectations in any number of instances.

We have many challenges ahead. We can try the “every man for himself/get the government the hell away from me [except for bedroom matters, of course]” approach, or we can act as a community and as a nation that has a clear vision about where we are heading … together. Each candidate has made it clear which mission is his.

Those who hold to the notion that American “rugged individualism” was the model for successes past and ought to be the same model for the ever-changing future will soon enough find themselves in a world of trouble. Too many challenges on too many fronts affecting too many people in too many ways will leave those hoping for a government-free, no tax or regulation, you are on your own, Leave-It-To-Beaver world suffering needlessly.

That’s not to say that government is/ought to be the problem-solver of first resort all the time. But given the climate and energy problems looming on the horizon [facts still suck], notions that individuals will be better served without an involved government, fair taxation, needed regulations, and at least some reasonable measure of “liberal government” is as delusional as the birther argument.

That’s the choice we face, and all the spin in the world won’t change the fundamental issue for us all: Who benefits more? Who loses more? Not just today and next week, but the future—all of it.

Asking those questions matters. Finding the truth amid the pandering and misdirection and misrepresentations and irrelevancies is not easy. Make the effort, or don’t. That’s our choice, and by our votes will we make clear whether we cast aside reality and head merrily along to the cliff because the words soothe and lip-service to “values” is enough, or take a half-step back right now and play out the two scenarios awaiting us before we decide on which policies and actions will actually matter most to most of us. After is too late.

Are we a nation catering to the 1%, or at least 99% of us? On your own, or all together?

Understand the policies and the likely outcomes based on the facts, and then vote as if your well-being matters. It does.

NOTE: I’ll be back next Monday.

* My Photo: Long Beach sunrise, Rockport MA, 08.12.11


[1]; The Latest Lie: Romney Doubles Down On Friday’s Lie by Dave Johnson – 10.29.12
[2]; Yes, Romney’s a Liar, but This Is Getting Ridiculous by John Nichols – 10.30.12
[3]; What Does Romney’s Campaign Of Lies Say About Our Country? by Dave Johnson – 10.30.12
[4]; Romney Willing to Win Without Honor by Leo Gerard – 10.30.12
[5]; Obama’s Closing Week Should Highlight His Economic Plan, Romney’s Elitism and the GOP’s Obstructionism by Mike Lux – 10.29.12
[6]; Why I Refuse to Vote for Mitt Romney by Conor Friedersdorf – 10.31.12