Mitt Romney recently selected Paul Ryan as his running mate in the 2012 Presidential election—and I’m so glad. Both sides of the political spectrum are applauding the move. Conservatives love it because Ryan is a true conservative, takes a stand on tough issues, and communicates them clearly and forcefully. Liberals are delighted because they see Ryan as a radical right-winger who will scare off independents and moderates with his infamous budget proposal. But the reason I love the pick is because it shifts the paradigm of the election. Where it was going to be a referendum on Obama’s first year in office—he’s terrible so choose me—it’s now going to be a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how the country should be governed.
The intellectual atmosphere of the election could potentially be elevated. Don’t get me wrong, the mudslinging will continue and it will get nasty, but with that will come honest policy debate. People who haven’t closed their minds and dug in their heels can stand to learn a lot. The role of government in society is ultimately what politics is at its core. We will get to see this play out live on the stage. Each side is putting in all their chips and believes they are right. Each side believes they can convince the American people that their vision is the path to prosperity. Neither side is backing down. I’m excited to learn a lot. I don’t act like I have it all figured out like your standard ideologue. I’m ready to hear the arguments, follow the logic, listen to the anecdotes, and continue forming my political opinions. This election has the potential to be a great educational tool, one that provides a stark contrast and really makes you question why you believe what you believe.