Last Tuesday’s second presidential debate between Senators
Barack Obama and John McCain proved to be quite heated! Both candidates answered pre-selected
questions from undecided voters, and addressed concerns with health care,
foreign policy, and the economy. Even
though both Senators spent most of the debate tackling these large issues,
geography and geographic education snuck into their dialogue at times (or is
geography always an underlying theme in politics?)

Senator Obama placed America’s role in the global
economy into the hands of its educational system. When asked which issue he would prioritize
out of health care, energy, and entitlement reform, Senator Obama listed education instead of entitlement programs. He said, “We’ve got to deal with education so
that our young people are competitive in a global economy,” implying that
American education could use a dose of global perspective to heal its ailing
economy, and better-prepare its students to understand global connections.

Geography did not escape Senator McCain’s responses either. When
answering the final question of the night, Senator McCain commented, “The
challenges that we {as Americans} face are unprecedented. Americans are hurting
tonight in a way they have not in our generation.
There are challenges
around the world that are new and different and they will be different — we
will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know
where they are on the map…”

An understanding of our global world is necessary for future generations
to be successful in foreign policy and international economics. While geography was found in the second debate,
it was underneath piles of other issues. But, that’s what is both good and bad
about geography: it underlies many topics, but is often overshadowed and
understated. Let’s try to bring
geographic knowledge to the forefront in the next four years, and explicitly
connect geography to success in business, the economy, and foreign policy!

Didn’t catch the whole debate? Look here for a transcript, or check
out the numerous video clips online. Want
to infuse some of your own map-making skills into the presidential race? Click here for a fun game that has you
guessing at the state-by-state outcomes of this year’s race.

 Be sure to watch the final Presidential debate on Wednesday, October 15,
9pm EST, and check back with My Wonderful World for more analysis of the important
geographic issues.

Leave a Reply