For weeks I’ve grappled with this post about President Obama and why he has my vote, as others have written. And now here it is, Election Day.
This is the time I guess.
I had originally started to write a point-by-point, fully researched post about policy and successes with links to reputable sources and unbiased polls. Then I realized, I’m preaching to the choir here. Most of my readers, or at least my commenters, are fairly progressive. And if you’re not, I know I’m not going to change your mind. That’s okay.
If this post isn’t for you, feel free to skip to the next one in your reader; come back here in a few days when I’m writing about another trip to another continent. We can bond again next week over funny kid stories or PR fails or our love for our families. But today, I have to write what’s in my heart.
I tell my daughters–as with religion and football and friends who are allowed to stay up until midnight for some reason–that lots of people believe different things. It doesn’t make them bad. There’s not always a good guy and a bad guy. There may be a good guy and a more good guy. Or sometimes, they may be a good guy and a guy who’s lost his way.
That’s how I feel about Obama and Romney.
I can go on about policy comparison and analysis of their proposal (or uh, lack thereof) and blah blah blah. But I think my feelings can be summed up with some very small, clear recent actions that speak to what’s in a person’s heart. And what’s in a person’s heart has always been important to me.
I watched Obama last week during Hurricane Sandy, calling every governor of every state in the track of the storm, starting with those most at risk–regardless of party affiliation. He behaved in the spirit of Presidents Clinton and Bush I in the wake of Katrina who joined together to help fellow human beings.
I watched Romney only make calls to the two Republican governors.
I watched Obama put off campaigning, be where he needed to be, stay in constant touch with FEMA and local governments, and firmly and clearly express, whatever you need we will find a way to make it happen.
I watched Romney fake empathy by staging a rally at which his team purchased supplies from Wal-Mart then passed them off as donations from supporters, which he “accepted” graciously in front of cameras.
Real help was needed, and he couldn’t rise to the occasion. His first instinct wasn’t to help; it was to look like he was helping. And it horrified me.
A good guy and a guy who’s lost his way.
I feel like those descriptions have been apt throughout the last four years, and certainly throughout this campaign. When I look at Romney’s 47% BS, the pandering to the Tea Party, the flip-flopping on every single policy like a beached mackerel–maybe he’s a good guy somewhere deep in there. I will be honest, there’s a lot that that makes me think he’s not. A lot. But I will give him the benefit of the doubt in thinking, he wants to win an election, and in doing so, he’s lost his compass.
I want my girls to grow up thinking of their President as a good guy. A man who believes in reaching across the aisle, even if that aisle won’t reach back. I want them to have faith in our leaders, because maybe they’ll be among them one day.
But more importantly, I want my daughters to know that their rights as girls and eventually, women, are valued by our President. I want them to know their bodies are not under government (or geez, employer) control. I want them to know that the President cares about the food they eat and the air they breathe. That he cares about children and their health, wherever they live. That he wants to help those people and not profit off them. That it’s perfectly fine that their friend Quincy has two loving mommies, and that they’re entitled to the same rights that we are.
I want them to grow up believing that all people matter. And I think only one candidate shares that view.
In fact this year, I’m starting to think that only one party holds that view.
The Democratic Party is far from perfect. There are a whole lot of things I’d like to change. But when I look at what the Republican Party leadership has become (and I stress its leadership; not all Republicans), I can hardly believe this is America. It too, has lost its way.
When voter disenfranchisement becomes a matter of election tactic, we have a big freaking problem.
And it’s here. For God’s sake, you’re going to make old ladies in Florida wait in line for 7 hours as a voting deterrent tactic? It’s immoral.
I’m so proud that yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo ruled that voters can vote at any poling place, so that those displaced by the hurricane can still vote even if they can’t get to their own districts.
And PS, Staten Island always goes red.
We should be making sure more people can vote. Not fewer. Not just White people. Not just rich people.
The same way we should be making sure more people have decent incomes. More people have jobs. More people can get reasonable home loans. More people can have health insurance. More people can marry who they love and raise productive, healthy children. More people can go to college without being saddled with 20 years of debt.
I like where this country is headed right now. I like that I can travel abroad once again and not have to pretend I’m Canadian for fear of my safety. I like the benefits I’ve seen to my small business. And I like that my President has a big heart–for all people, not just those like him.
And yes, I’m way better off today than I was four years ago. I say that as a small business owner, as a primary earner for my family, as a mother, and as someone who almost had my power shut off for non-payment.
My President has my vote again.
If you’re in a fightin’ mood, I’m happy to point you to any number of sites that will be happy to have your page views. Respectful comments only, as always.