What's The Deal With Eastwood's Empty Chair? [Election 2012]

By now you’ve probably heard/laughed at/joked about Clint Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair on Thursday at the Republican National Convention (if you haven’t, it’s posted below!). Trust me, I was right there with you. After all, he’s just an old, rambling man, right?
This is what I initially believed, but I quickly realized something important. While Eastwood’s speech did very much seem like a senile rant, it’s illustrative of what a significant percentage of our country is feeling: disillusionment with Barack Obama.
I, for one, got swept up in the hope and promise of the Obama campaign in 2008. While I may not have been old enough to vote, I likely would have marked my ballot for Obama. I felt empowered by his campaign for hope and much-needed change in our country.
The election of Barack Obama represented a major change in our country that I was incredibly excited about. Not only was he the first black president, but he also made politics “cool” for my generation. It felt like everyone my age was getting involved and actually cared, for once, about the fate of our country.
While much of the country still feels this way about Barack Obama, I have to admit my faith in him has diminished significantly. The feeling of hope has faded in the shadow of a $16 trillion debt and an 8.3% unemployment rate.
Sure, Obama may still be just as “cool” as he was four years ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s fit to be president for another four years. Are we better off than we were four years ago? I certainly don’t think so, but we all have varying opinions. I believe we need someone who can bring our amazing country out of debt and instill faith in the American people again. We deserve that, don’t we?
For those of you that disagree with me, here’s what I have to say: in 2008, Barack Obama gave of a long list of promises (see them here), the biggest promise being change for our country. But what is he promising now four years later? I don’t see him making promises but I certainly do see him making excuses and blaming other people.
What I’m trying to say is this: sure, Clint Eastwood could have gotten his point across in a more respectful, less senile way, but we should look at his speech to an empty chair as a representation of what a lot of Americans are feeling at this time. Instead of cracking jokes, let us, if even for a moment, think about the reasons why he may have said what he said.
Tuesday, The Hill released a poll stating that 54% of voters do not believe Obama deserves to be re-elected based on his job performance.
In January of 2009, the unemployment rate was at 7.6%, .7% lower than it currently is after four years of the Obama administration. Bush–who certainly was not considered fiscally responsible–left Obama with a $10.626 trillion debt, $5 trillion less than our current budget deficit.
The Hill’s poll doesn’t just represent the views of adults either. In fact, over 40% of young adults support Romney, a percentage that is unsurprising when you consider the fact that 50% of college students cannot find work after they graduate.
Keeping these facts in mind, Clint Eastwood’s speech can be taken less as a joke and more as a representation of the opinions of many Americans.
Eastwood brought up the idea of the government as an employee of the American people. If our employees are not doing their job, we should fire them. I never really thought about the election in this way, but I think it’s an interesting way to think about who to vote for. Here’s the golden question: Does our employee, Barack Obama, deserve to be rehired or should we replace him?
Although Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair has been criticized as disrespectful, because invisible Obama couldn’t defend himself, the points Eastwood touched on certainly are not far off from the disillusioned feelings of half of our country.
Disagree with anything I have to say? Tell me your opinion in the comments!
Ashley is a sophomore majoring in International Affairs with a minor in English. Each week, Ashley will be discussing current events involving the upcoming presidential election. Check in every week to find out what’s going on in the election world and read one college girl’s opinion on the issues!

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