With Nov. 6 days away, Election Day became the subject of the most recent Dissent in America teach-in.
Roughly forty people were in attendance at Anderson Hall on Oct. 26, at the teach-in, which was set up in a question and answer format, rather than a debate, so audience members would be able to ask questions about issues that they were interested in.
Temple University College Republicans Chairman Erik Jacobs and Temple College Democrats President Dylan Morpurgo began the teach-in by opening the floor for questions from the audience.
The audience, based on questions, was mostly interested in the issues of women’s rights, college funding, global warming and illegal immigration.
In response to a question on Republican candidate Gov. Mitt Romney’s stance on women’s rights regarding health care, Jacobs answered, “He is pro-life, but is open to exceptions including pregnancies resulting from rape, incest and pregnancies that put the mother’s life at risk. Gov. Romney plans to take birth control off of insurance policies, since he’s pro-life.”
Jacobs response was met with mixed reactions, most of which were outrage from women in the audience who expressed concerns with the government’s role in regulating women’s health care.
The question prompted a debate between women in the audience whose views differed on health care.
President Barack Obama’s recently installed Fair Pay Act was also the center of discussion for part of the teach-in.
Morpurgo explained: “The Fair Pay Act was enacted so that women get the same pay as men in the same positions.”
The audience seemed satisfied with this answer, until Jacobs added” “Yes, that is what the Fair Pay Act does, but actions speak louder than words.”
When asked what the president plans to do about college funding, Morpurgo said that Obama plans to reduce college tuition by 50 percent in the next 10 years and has already increased Pell Grant funding and maintained Stafford loans. Jacobs rebutted that the Republican candidate wants to get less involved with education.
“Gov. Romney plans on getting the federal government out of education, which means he plans on ending the federal government’s involvement with student loans,” Jacobs said.
When the subject shifted to global warming, Morpurgo said Obama plans to focus on green energy.
“Obama believes in global warming and he doesn’t laugh it off as being nonsense,” Morpurgo said. “He is taking action to get rid of America’s dependence on foreign oil and is looking into renewable energy sources.”
In contrast, Jacobs said more evidence is needed before global warming can be taken seriously.
“Gov. Romney wants to empower natural gas and clean coal as energy sources. He doesn’t believe in global warming since he believes that more evidence is needed,” Jacobs said. “In my opinion, green energy companies should be sent to the free market and see how they do.”
The teach-in’s final subject centered on each candidate’s approach to illegal immigration. Morpurgo said he agrees with Obama’s stance on immigration.
“I belive that if [immigrants] are very sick, they should be treated at the hospital, regardless of whether they are here legally or illegally,” Morpugo said. “Obama has also increased numbers in deportation of illegal immigrants, but he is not inhumane to them. He recognizes that they are people too.”
Jacobs responded to Morpurgo and said that, while Obama has increased deportation, illegal immigration is still a problem in the country.
“Sure, he’s increased the numbers in deportation, but there are still 12 [million] to 20 million illegal aliens still here,” Jacobs said. “I agree with Gov. Romney that we should enforce our laws in regards to illegal aliens, they’re breaking the law by being here and shouldn’t be allowed to continue to be here as free riders.”
Members from TCD and TUCR had planned a debate for Tuesday, Oct. 30; he event was canceled due to the hurricane.
Mary Kate Allison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.