Hoping someone new will make things better
Corinna Kreiler is a reporter and news editor for the Financial Times Deutschland in Hamburg, Germany. She was visiting Miami and the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami for Election 2012 as a fellow in the Transatlantic Media Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Here is her report:
It is early morning and only a few people are waiting to vote. The place is the town of Palmetto Bay, maybe 45 minutes south of downtown Miami.
Wendy Lacey is the mother of two young children. “I am really worried about the education of my kids,” she says. “The tuition for college is so high. I don’t know how we are going to afford that.”
That’s why, she said, she was voting for Mitt Romney. “[President Barack] Obama had four years in office and nothing changed,” Lacey said. “I hope Romney is going to get the edge.”
Carlos Callejas was standing in line right behind her. “Definitely,” he said. “Things are so bad right now for the middle class and Obama does not know how the economy works.”
The President had never been a businessman, Callejas said, and that may be why, in Callejas’ view, he strangled business with regulations and loaded down the middle class with taxes.
Wendy Lacey agreed. “My employer could hardly afford to hire me and now he has to pay for Obamacare,” she said. “That’s totally crazy. I am really worried about my job!”
Callejas nodded and said: “I don’t know what Romney has to offer but he will be a better president than Obama, that’s for sure.”
A girl behind them made a face. Kira Girber was wearing a green, Canes for Obama t-shirt. “I also care about education,” she said, “but I come to a completely different conclusion.”
Her parents could not afford to give her money for college, she said, and she had to pay for college on her own. It was a burden, she said, “and that is wrong.”
That was why, she said, she was voting for Obama. She said he cared about the middle class and students like her. “Romney has changed his mind all the time,” she said, “so I don’t believe anything he says.”
The political struggle was in plain sight on the street in front of the voting place.
A couple held up Romney-Ryan signs and waved the star-spangled banner. Drivers in passing cars honked their horns. Suddenly a huge bus, plastered with Obama posters, appeared. The driver stuck his head out a window and shouted, “Obama, Obama.” He pumped his horn. The bus was blocking the street. Cars stacked up behind it and drivers hit their horns. The engine of the bus revved and, as quickly as it had appeared, it was on its way.
The couple with the flags and the Romney-Ryan signs saw meaning in the Obama bus’s departure. They laughed, reached for the sky and banged one hand together in a celebratory high five.