Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why I am Voting For Barack Obama

Most of my friends and some of my family are Republicans.  But, I am an Independent voter. I always vote for the person, not the party. And I usually don’t share my politics with the world, because I hate the ensuing arguments. But this time, I think it’s important. I want you to know how I came to this decision. How much homework I really did.  I want you to know I have been fact checking for 4 years and that I have taken nothing anyone said at face value.

Last presidential election I did not vote for Barack Obama. I supported Rudy Guiliani. I voted for John McCain (by default) simply because I thought his experience in war and with foreign policy surpassed Barack Obama’s. The war on terror, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan were my big issues at the time. Bigger than the financial crisis looming on the horizon- bigger than anything.

When I watched Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in 2008, I cried. I imagined the pride the blacks across the country must have felt. I was proud of America too. For not letting race stand in the way. Well- some didn’t anyway.  

The hate grew. Over the course of the last 4 years, I have heard the vilest things come out of people’s mouths about the President, and those horrible words have actually pushed me into his corner. If you know me then you know having me as an ally is s good thing. I am loyal and true and I will back you up with everything I have. So here I am. Voting for Barack Obama in 2012.  And here is who you can thank for that.

The Birthers, The Tea Party, The Conspiracy Theorists, The Bigots, The Zealots, The Christian Coalition all of whom would turn back the clock and burn free-thinking people like me at the stake if they could. Some people are so ignorant (like Birther’s) they would believe lie after lie, even though the truth is right in front of them.

The issues are important to me. Chances are, at 60 years old, I will not be getting pregnant any time in the future. But if I did, I would want to be able to decide if I could terminate the pregnancy or not. My body- my decision. I have never wanted and certainly don’t want now- anyone telling me what I can do with my body or turning back the clock on civil rights, civil liberties, and basic compassion for people of all ethnic origins and sexual orientation.

I have always been an independent person. My mom used to say I was the first women’s libber she ever met. But, I was never really a women’s libber, I was always more concerned about my personal freedom and not too wrapped up in the needs of all. A Katie’s libber is what I was.

Now, I feel compelled to make a case for voting Democratic. Or voting anti hate.  That’s what I am doing. The hate has worn me down. The people that have taken on the hate rants have turned my stomach. The people that have called the President of the United States a nigger, a monkey, a socialist, a radical, un-American, anti-American, elitist and so on and so forth. They have made my mind up for me. I am now deaf to their hateful noise.

I was worried that Barack Obama didn’t have military or foreign relations experience in 2008. Now I know- he has gained both of those things 10 fold. While he never served in the military, he is willing to listen to those who do- and those who have. When he ramped up the troops in Afghanistan, it surprised me. That fact that he continues to look for better ways to deal with Arab nations and the far-reaching pockets of terrorism around the world can only be viewed as intelligent.

For everyone that calls Obama a socialist- let me ask you this. Do you collect Social Security? Do you collect Permanent Disability?  Have you ever collected Unemployment wages? Are you enrolled in Medicare or any other government based medical care? Then you are a socialist. Did you go to public school? Socialist. Enjoy public parks? Socialist. Socialism refers to State Ownership. A truly socialist state would be one where the government owns and operates the means of production.
Is it a bad thing to want to see old people or sick people taken care of?  It is a bad thing to want to help people help themselves?  The United States has always embraced social welfare. It is not a new concept that came in with Barack Obama.

I watched both conventions, and heard many of the speeches. I heard Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Ann. Romney, Julian Castro, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Barack Obama. I kept an open mind- though admittedly- it’s difficult when I already knew I was at odds with Republicans on some of the issues. Mitt had a small chance with me before he chose Ryan as a running mate- but the minute I learned what Ryan was about, (I had to read up because I didn’t know who he was)  my Katie’s Libber kicked in.

I liked Barack Obama’s speech; I didn’t feel manipulated by his words. It wasn’t over the top. It wasn’t full of pregnant pauses and coy looks. It was in my opinion humble and hopeful. And hope is a good thing. Without hope, we are nothing. Without education we are nothing in this global society, without the ability to stay healthy and productive- there is no hope. 

Also- It would be incredibly simplistic to say that the problems that plague the U.S. at this time could be cured in 4 years.  I have to agree with President Clinton on that one. And the way I see it by voting another new guy (with no experience) in we would face another 4 year learning curve.

Then of course, no one gives a speech like Bill Clinton. I know Republicans that wish he were running again. If I was short on hope before his speech- I was full up afterwards.

I don’t hate Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan or any politician really. There are some I dislike, but not enough to spend time writing about them. I actually do believe that most of the people that serve the nation in some capacity love their nation and do what they think is right. I respect that.

In the end - it’s the lack of hate and abundance of hope that has won me over to the Barack Obama camp. I just can’t see anything good coming from so much hate.  

I think it’s important to note that extremism on either side of the political spectrum is distasteful to me. Extremism creates more problems than it solves. It’s almost never based on facts- but instead emotion. Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore and their ilk, are conspiracy theory nuts who really don’t like America. They make mainstream democrats look bad. I wish they would go away- They are incredibly angry people- and they are angry about made up stuff, which is scary to me.

I’ve been called a bleeding heart liberal because I believe in things like affordable medical care, equal pay and equal rights for ALL. I never used to be- but maybe with age I have become more compassionate and lean towards liberalism. Maybe with age I have become less about my own interests and more about how to leave this world for future generations. Fairly recently I started really caring about recycling, the air we breathe, the fuel we use and all the things that might not change in my lifetime- but maybe I can help make better for future generations. Just recently, I started believing that there is a better way to solve problems then by going to war and blowing up our own kids and the sons and daughters of other countries, in name of freedom.

 I care about our troops more than I can say and those of you that know me know that is the truth. But I want them to have the very best chance to stay alive and in one piece. I want every effort made to avoid more military casualties. I have seen too many DOD releases in the past 11 years. Too many Gold Star Families and too many men and women have lost limbs, sight, hearing and mental capacities. For every wounded warrior success story, there are 50 more that have not done well, that may never be able to function in this world again. What good is freedom, if no one is left to exercise it?  

Just recently- I feel enlightened. Better late than never they say.  

Maybe your vote will cancel out my vote. (and visa versa) But I am voting for the future, for women and men of all sexual orientation, for all races, creeds and religions.  I am voting for education, I am voting generations to come. I’m voting for a better world. I am voting for hope and humanity.


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