National Opinion

June 15, 2012 • Editorial

Presidential campaign

Americans won’t vote for president for almost five months, but we already seem to be in the thick of the presidential campaign. Attack ads denigrating Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are rolling out on television and the web, fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in “super PAC” money unleashed by the 2010 Citizens United decision.

Most of these ads will generate far more heat than light. Many of them will have nothing to do with the important issues facing America, but will, implicitly or explicitly, question the candidates’ character, portraying them as out of the mainstream or somehow un-American.

We submit that neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama are extremists, and that both are well within the main currents of contemporary American political life. You may not like what [auth] they stand for, but both men sit in the middle of where their parties are today.

We reject any attempt to insinuate that Barack Obama or Mitt Romney are in any way “less American” than anyone else. They are not “the other”; each of them is one of us. In the wonderful diversity of ethnicity, religion, occupation and opinion that make up America, Mormon venture capitalists and community organizers with Kenyan fathers are as fully American as a Mayflower descendant.

Neither should we allow the mudslingers to influence us through guilt by association. You wouldn’t have to look hard to find someone who supports Obama or Romney and who holds an extreme opinion.

This election is not about contraceptive coverage or gay marriage or student loan rates. It’s about our economy. That should be the focus of the campaign, and the crux of the decision we make in November.

Guest Editorial

The Holland (Mich.) Sentinel

Distracted driving

They’re pretty easy to spot. They’re either going way too fast or way too slow.

We’re referring to drivers who are busy with their mobile devices while attempting to navigate the roadway.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called texting and talking on a cellular phone while driving a “national epidemic.”

He’s right.

Particularly vulnerable to problems are teens. First, they don’t have the experience behind the wheel to do anything other than drive. Adding a distraction such as texting or talking on a phone is a recipe for trouble. But in a government survey, 58 percent of high school seniors and 43 percent of high school juniors admitted they had texted or emailed while driving within the past month.

Some states, including Iowa, have passed laws that prohibit the texting practice. But that hasn’t stopped people from doing it.

Iowa law enforcement officers have written very few citations for texting while driving since the law went into effect last year.

It’s a genuine concern, especially for parents turning over the keys to the family car to a young driver. Sixteen percent of teen motor deaths can be attributed to distracted driving.

Messing with a mobile device while trying to navigate slippery roads is just asking for trouble.

Laws prohibiting the practice make sense, though enforcing them is hit and miss.

Common sense, though, is the best teacher.

Guest Editorial

The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa

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