I’m a Democrat. I’ve been one since I had even the slightest grasp on politics. I didn’t know the label, I just knew what felt right to me. I am for women’s rights, I’m against the death penalty, I’m for helping the poor and generally against war. I’m hardly an extremist and as I age, I am increasingly economically conservative. Also of note, I don’t watch MSNBC or agree with everything said by any given Democrat. And I do my own research on issues, as all voters should.
And on November 6th, I will cast a vote for Barack Obama. And here’s why.
1. Healthcare Reform. If there were no other items on the table, this one would be enough. I have a pre-existing condition. I am a healthcare provider. I have gotten to see from both sides of the table, how very broken our healthcare system is. Do I believe this reform is perfect? Absolutely not. But it is a good first step and it is far superior to the extremely flawed Medicare voucher system proposed by Romney/Ryan. Because of Barack Obama, if my husband loses his job, I can still purchase health insurance. Because of Barack Obama, my child can get and keep insurance if he is ever found to have a condition that would otherwise make him ineligible. President Obama said he would get us healthcare reform and he did. And I am a staunch supporter of Obamacare.
2. Women’s Rights. I need to be clear here- I am personally pro-life. I could not, especially now that I’m a mother, have an abortion unless my life was at risk or my child’s life would be horrific. It’s just not something I could do and I’m beyond thrilled I’ve never had to face that decision. But, just because it is against my personal beliefs doesn’t mean that those beliefs should dictate what any other woman does. I firmly believe that women should have freedom over their bodies and that includes the right to choose whether they carry a child if pregnant. I do not like abortion. I do not want anyone to have one. But I do not believe in legislating what anyone else can do with their body. Mitt Romney has off and on said he would support a measure that would outlaw abortion except in the case of rape or the health of the mother. In a perfect world I agree with Mitt on this, but in this world, one where if we outlaw abortion, people are still going to get them, just less safely, I am politically pro-choice. And sorry, but the antidote to abortion isn’t abstinence only sex education. It’s affordable, accessible birth control and education. Another reason why I support President Obama.
3. I believe Barack Obama has the middle class in mind. I honestly do not think the same can be said for Mitt Romney. I think that what one says when they think no one is listening is the best way to learn what they really think. Mitt Romney’s 47% comment was a major moment for me. I’m in that 47%. We don’t make enough to pay income taxes, but we have taken personal responsibility. We pay other taxes, we work and we contribute to society. I believe that those who have fallen on hard times need our assistance, not our criticism, and I stand strongly in support of government assistance. I believe that it’s shameful for someone who wants to lead this country to store millions of dollars in overseas bank accounts so that they don’t have to pay as many taxes. I cannot even pretend to believe that someone who makes great use of tax loopholes has any intention of closing them. I am part of the 47% and Mitt Romney doesn’t understand who we are, let alone what we need from our president.
Now, notably missing here is the economic recovery and that’s for two reasons.
First, I do not pretend to understand economic issues well enough to feel like I can have a strong opinion on this. I’m a science person, not an economist. I understand supply and demand and a few curves here and there, but that’s where it ends. The bankruptcy of General Motors is so entirely confusing to me that when they start to argue about it, my eyes just completely glaze over until they’ve moved on.
Second, because I’m not foolish enough to believe that the economy will be fixed by one man. The president is a figurehead. He is not the most powerful person in politics because we have a system of checks and balances and a Congress that is more motivated to screw over their counterparts than to do anything productive. I think that the ability to turn around the economy falls much more into the hands of the legislative branch of government and while I have little hope that they’ll work together, I hope that if Obama is re-elected, at least Congressman like Boehner and McConnell can focus on their job instead of on making Obama a one term president, as they said was their main objective two years ago.
I’ve been accused lately of being a sheep, of not knowing the issues, of blindly following my party. None of those are true statements, though I’m too tired to try to prove that to anyone. I have followed this election as closely as my life has permitted and I am confident that my needs, my views and my family are best served with Barack Obama as president for four more years. And that is why I will be voting for him next month. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, I hope that you’ll go out and exercise your ability to vote for who you feel is the best candidate.
Change cannot happen if we refuse to act, this is our opportunity to lead our country in the direction we believe it needs to go. I’m voting to move forward and I hope you’ll cast your vote too.