Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Singles Are 93 Million Votes Strong: Who Cares?

Here it is again--Election Day. I hope that you all have registered to vote and will be turning out at the polls en masse to raise your voices for the singles community. But if you're wondering who is raising a voice for us, you're not alone.

We've been a hot topic in Gallup polls, CNN headlines, and, yes, movies. But as singles advocate Dr. Bella DePaulo noted before the primaries and again a few days ago, this hasn't translated into more than a cursory nod from the candidates, not even from Barack Obama, the choice of 60% of single voters.

I'm going to pick on Obama for a minute simply because he is the favored candidate among the majority of singles. If you visit his web site and view the drop-down menu under "People," you will see 23 special-interest demographics. One of them must be "Singles," right? Nope. There are "Arab Americans," "Rural Americans," even "Sportsmen." But no "Singles."

Now point your mouse to "Issues" and select "Civil Rights." I quote: "Obama and Biden will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails women’s and racial minorities' ability to challenge pay discrimination. They will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression." Where are the words "or marital status"? Nowhere to be found.

How about "Economy"? Surely this is a subject of consequence to singles...But no. The headline reads, "Barack Obama will provide a tax cut for working families." In fairness to him, the following paragraph clarifies that individuals will also be eligible for a tax break. But then why not make the headline more inclusive, replacing "working families" with "workers"?

Hop over to "Healthcare," an issue that disproportionately affects single people. It starts out the right way, referring to what Obama will do for "all Americans," but once he's talking numbers, it's all about families again: "The Obama plan will lower health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family..." Nice to know, but what about for a typical individual? Do we not exist until we have a spouse and kids?

Given this singlism, it's no wonder that Obama's campaign devotes an entire section to "Family" but none to "Singles."

Again, I'm picking on Obama because he's the candidate who's supposed to support the underdogs of this country. A glance at McCain's site will prove that he's just as family-focused, but then, that's a core value of the Republican platform, so it should come as no surprise. And I'm not contending that neither of the candidates should support families; the family unit has always been central to human life, though a smaller, more constricted unit has replaced the historical norm in the U.S. However, we singles represent an enormous swath of the population and should also be recognized as an important constituent group with needs and concerns of our own.

Despite that singles still have a long way to go on the road to equality, I still urge you to make your statement at the polls today. Singletude has already endorsed a candidate, the one whose policies I believe will help singles the most, even if they're not specifically intended to do so. Here's how the candidates stack up on major issues that affect singles:



Civil Rights

Obama--Will work to end employment discrimination, though nothing is specifically promised for singles.

McCain--Civil rights? What's that?


Economy

Obama--Proposes a tax cut of $500 per individual and reinstatement of higher taxes on those earning more than $250,000. Wants to dispense with taxes for 10 million low-income Americans and seniors who take home less than $50,000 a year. Will tax record oil company profits and redistribute them to consumers. Vows to pump $50 billion into job growth and health, education, housing, and heating. Will reform the mortgage industry to prevent another housing bubble and subsequent crisis. Supports "fair trade," not free trade, which has shipped millions of American jobs overseas, unions, an increased minimum wage, and tax relief for small businesses and start-ups. Suggests flexible work schedules, although he also wants to expand more specifically family-friendly (presumably "marrieds-friendly") programs. Wants to invest in green, clean energy jobs.

McCain--Vows to somehow strengthen the dollar, for which he apparently has a magic, secret formula. Does not propose tax cuts for the middle class unless you have dependents. Does propose even more tax relief for high-income earners and corporations but not specifically for small businesses or start-ups. Wants the American public to essentially bail out delinquent homeowners. Supports even further deregulation of free trade, which has shipped millions of American jobs overseas. Suggests flexible work schedules, although he also wants to expand more specifically family-friendly (presumably "marrieds-friendly") programs. Wants to invest in green, clean energy jobs but also in traditional, "dirty" fuels and dangerous nuclear power. Will work for various tax breaks on gasoline but will lower the priority on ethanol.


Health Care

Obama--Promises to institute a national health care plan for the uninsured. (Those who are already insured can opt to keep their current insurance.) The health care plan is called "affordable," and tax credits towards its purchase or purchase of an approved private plan are guaranteed to those who need them, although we are not given any concrete numbers. Intends to fund the plan by streamlining bureaucracy in the health care system, increasing preventive care, and allowing the Bush tax cuts for the upper class to expire. Supports the elimination of many current insurance practices that disadvantage consumers such as preexisting condition exclusions, premium inflation, blockage of generic and overseas drug distributors, denial of mental health coverage, and much more. Wants to make health care more affordable for employers.

McCain--Promises a heath care tax credit of $2,500 per individual. However, this is not enough to cover the cost of insurance for the average person over 45 as well as for residents of 13 states in which the average policy costs at least $500 more. Will encourage consumers to buy insurance across state lines, but critics argue that this will lead to a monopoly of cheap, low-quality policies. Hopes to make insurance more "portable," which some claim will abolish the employer-based system. Agrees with some but not all of Obama's industry reforms.


The Iraq War

Obama--Claims he will immediately phase out our presence in Iraq.

McCain--Prepared to hunker down in Iraq for the long haul. Promises "victory."


Poverty

Obama--Committed to improving the job outlook for low-income Americans (including "perks" that really shouldn't be perks like sick leave and retirement plans) and investing in affordable housing.

McCain--Poverty? What's that?


Women

Obama--Encourages research on women's health issues, tougher laws prohibiting violence against women, female entrepreneurship, and accessible birth control.

McCain--Women? What're they?


Anti-singles Action

McCain would also take actions that would actually work against singles, such as strengthening the institution of marriage to "preserve the traditional family," which smart singles who have read their history books will know is anything but traditional. As usual, I will repeat that I have no objection whatsoever against marriage and, in fact, think it's a healthy, admirable commitment. What I object to is how our government rewards marriage at the expense of singles.



If any of you are still undecided, I hope the above comparison has helped to persuade you in one direction or the other depending on which issues are important to you as a single. Change won't happen overnight, but if we speak up for ourselves louder and louder at every election, someone is bound to hear.


Do you think that singles are largely ignored by politicians? If so, do you have any examples of this? Which candidate do you think is more supportive of issues that singles value?


Fun Link of the Day


Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have a rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a Singletude Q&A or your rant or rave in a Singletude Sound-off!

9 comments:

bobbyboy said...

Great post as usual Else!

I don't usually discuss politics on blogs or forums, I find it fruitless.

I will say however that if I didn't do my job, I would get fired and it wouldn't take 4 years to happen either. Bush/Mcain and others didn't do their jobs well, so now is my time to fire them.

I'm an independent, but haven't seen a strength of cohesion amount independents as a whole-a third party.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe Barack said he would withdraw the troops in Iraq responsibly as opposed to "Claims he will immediately phase out our presence in Iraq."

Either way, this time I Baracked the vote :)

Christina said...

Have you considered writing to Obama regarding singles issues, in particular his diversity list? You articulate the gap well. Worth a shot, eh?
--CC (http://onely.org)

Clever Elsie said...

Bobby: Although I'm not registered Independent, my sympathies also usually lie with alternative candidates. However, I always recommend voting for a third party at the local or state level and for one of the major two at the national level because, as it is now, the GOP and the Dems have a stronghold on the presidential race. I think if we can disrupt that stronghold at the grassroots level, we have a better chance of gradually weaving other parties into the fabric of our current federal system. But right now, a third-party vote in the presidential election is, unfortunately, wasted.

I believe Barack said he would withdraw the troops in Iraq responsibly as opposed to "Claims he will immediately phase out our presence in Iraq."

I actually pulled that statement from his own web site, but I don't think it conflicts with a responsible withdrawal. :)

Glad to hear you voted! Looks like America agreed with your choice!

Christina: Thanks for stopping by! That's a great idea! I wonder if I might persuade some other singles to join me in signing it. Actually, if anyone is interested in this, let me know!

bobbyboy said...

Good points Elsie :)

I'm a registered Dem because that's what my Mom told me to register at 18 years old lol. I do however vote for who I think is the best candidates that really work for the people as a whole.

I am very open to an independent party and think the country needs one. If you come across any that have a really good platform (broad and inclusive), please let me know :)

Victoria Gothic said...

Well, I can't vote this time around, but if given the opportunity, I would have voted for Obama.

Clever Elsie said...

Bobby: I think this link describes just about every political party existent in the U.S.! If you don't like any of those, you could always run for office yourself. ;)

Victoria: You just reminded me of how I was in the same position when I was your age--17 in a presidential election year. It drove me crazy! Luckily, you get a second chance to vote for Obama next time. ;)

bobbyboy said...

Thanks so much Elsie :)

At a quick glance I'm familiar with all of them. A combination of a few of them could be ideal. This is why, for the most part, I vote individuals and not party (Except this election).

"If you don't like any of those, you could always run for office yourself. ;)"

The major parties have made this almost impossible, just ask R. Nader. Although, I would make a good candidate :)

Clever Elsie said...

The major parties have made this almost impossible, just ask R. Nader.

Well, see, that's why I recommend supporting third parties at the grassroots level rather than attempting to revamp our two-party system during a presidential election. The Big Two have a stranglehold on the presidential race, but third parties who run for local or state office do sometimes get elected. I hope we can increase their number because these are the men and women who may one day run for the senate or even the presidency. If we can get the American public used to third-party politicians as mayors, state legislators, and governors, it won't seem like such a leap of faith to vote them into federal positions. Or, at least, that's my hope!

bobbyboy said...

Right on Elsie, right on!

Elsie for Pres :)