I'm Voting for Obama- Here are my 10 Top Reasons Why

by - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alright, I am going to fill out my absentee ballot and send it in this week, so clearly my mind is made up. I know people are sick of hearing about it, but I think it actually really matters, so I am going to say what I think anyway. You can always read another post about goldendoodles elsewhere.

I know a lot of people assume that this election was a no brainer for me, but that is not the case. I, like most people, have had some major frustrations with how Obama handled the first four years of his pregnancy. I also thought Romney was an interesting choice for the GOP because if you looked at his long term record, he seemed pretty moderate (though most everyone does in comparison to some of his opponents in the primaries). Sadly, not nearly moderate enough for my super liberal self. Now that we have reached the actual voting part of the election, my mind is very well made up, and this is why:

1      Because of his respect for women’s right to make decisions about their own bodies, which Romney clearly lacks (along with his political party)-This one, for me, is a deal breaker. Though I haven't found all of Romney's various statements as damning as others have, I find the wind change of very harsh conservative against women's bodies deeply disturbing. I feel like the president and vice president are much more respectful of women from all walks of life. Though Romney and Ryan have begun to qualify that women in life threatening situations and in case of rape and incest should be allowed abortions, the crazy talk espoused by their party mates on this topic (such as you can't get pregnant from rape or that a woman's life has never been threatened by their pregnancy) makes me unlikely to ever support their party. I NEVER want to see just how far the Republican party would push this issue if they could, and (more on this later) I do not understand a political party that claims to want the government's hands off of as much as possible, yet wants a literal death grip on women's most private choices. I am proud that the Democrats are so much more supportive and respectful of women, and despite their reputation for being meddling, more consistently protect the rights of women.

 I think Joe Biden clinched it for me, when in response to Ryan's claim that "science" meant that a fetus's rights trump the choice of the mother, he said: “y religion defines who I am. And I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And it has particularly informed my social doctrine. Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to abortion, I accept my church's position that life begins at conception. That's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and--I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that women can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. And the Supreme Court--I'm not going to interfere with that. ” (I love this quote).

If you are a woman planning to vote for Romney, even if you are a very conservative woman, I might take another look. The Republican party really is taking a stand against women right now in a very ugly way (especially through their rhetorics of rape, which are truly disgusting). Romney is supporting some of these people, and you really have to ask what kind of man would let a woman die before letting her abort her baby or who would think she deserved to be punished for being raped. It is not right. This is also a party who works against equal pay, fights passionately to deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions (so if you are a married woman- and can't get WIC- and have a child with a heart problem or another problem, your child may not get care). These issues may seem far away from you, but I guarantee they are not as far as they seem. Women deserve respect, and by voting for a man who doesn't respect women who are anything but stay at home moms, you are agreeing that we do not deserve respect. 

2 Because of he (and his party’s) respect and push for LGBTQ rights- This is in the same line of thinking- I am encouraged that the DNC put gay marriage on the agenda, because it should already be legalized.  Though I was discouraged that there wasn't more progress on this in the last 4 years, this is an area where I am hopeful, because the repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell" was huge, and they seem open to moving this forward even more in the future. This is not some small subcultural issue to me- inequality effects everyone. I wish there was a candidate more driven to give the LGBTQ community the rights they should already have, but I certainly would never vote for one who wants to take us steps backward.

3 Because I do not believe in top down economic models- I do not believe that giving the already exorbitantly privileged more privileges will somehow benefit everyone.You can't just go back to some 50's model of fiscal hierarchy and have it work- we are in late capitalism, where the majority of the population is more valuable as consumer than as laborer. People want to streamline labor and broaden consumer appeal, so assuming larger companies offer more jobs is just flawed logic. Also, I find it troubling that Romney sees public discourse and entertainment as expendable(PBS, NPR, Big Bird, etc) when it is one of our only truly successful exports in the world. I also do not believe that treating the US as a corporation that can be easily swayed by other corporations is an effective model. People who have stepped on everyone else to get to the top have an absolute responsibility to help the people who are at the bottom. This is about punishment, it is just about responsibility.

Because I still am not clear on what Romney’s plan is- This is not a simple recitation- I have genuinely checked out his website, read as much as I could of his quotes and texts, and I really do not see how the math adds up. I agree that there has to be some cuttable government spending, but I don't see expanding the military and cutting everything else as being a viable option, and I don't understand how else you make it work. It reminds me so much of the pork barrel spending conversations in the last election, where there was a running fixation on a tiny percentage of the budget and a lack of large-scale vision.
  Because I believe everyone should have access to healthcare- That's it. Socialized medicine, no matter what you hear, is not the beginning of the apocalypse. Everyone should be able to get the help they need, no matter what their walk of life or pre-existing conditions are.

6 Because I do not trust Romney’s character-  It is never clear which of his opinions is the one we should trust, as it seems they are always changing. What I see is a man who is absolutely desperate to win, and his opinions shift based on who is asking and what he thinks it is that people want to hear. You can see it in his approach to abortion, on gay rights, on international affairs, and on women's access to contraceptives. You can read just how much his stances have bounced around over the years here-http://www.ontheissues.org/mitt_romney.htm. That, to me, is just to shifty to be an effective president.
7 Because the voucher system is crazy- As my dad has clearly articulated, Obama has done no favors to public education, and I think this is one of the places where government is truly failing. At the same time, this is another sphere where Romney clearly lacks for me. Both men put improving education as a top priority, but Romney is focusing on the (pretty conservative and VERY privileged) topic of school choice. Romney endorses the use of vouchers, where public schools have to pay for students to go to exclusive and homogenous private schools. And where Obama is discussing ways of giving states more control around No Child Left Behind, Romney wants to pretty much stick to the George Bush model (my dream candidate would also throw that sucker out). If you want a clear, non-partisan delineation of their views on education, you can find it here- http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/obama-and-romney-on-the-issues-education/2012/10/05/2e0554ce-0f1b-11e2-bd1a-b868e65d57eb_story.html Nobody looks great on this issue, but Romney's support of vouchers, which are destructive to small and struggling school districts (so a good chunk of them), gives Obama the win in this arena as well.

Because I think things have been accomplished, and I believe another 4 years would move us in a better direction- I do believe this. I don't blame everything on George W, but I do think he left a good amount of mess, and some of the things people put on Obama (gas prices being one) were really in the downward slope before he got there. I do think that given another four years, Obama could keep moving things in a positive direction.

 9.   Because I am very suspicious of what the Republican party stands for at this point in history-Can someone explain it to me? There is fiscal conservatism, except not really. And rather than wanting to keep government out of as much of people's lives as possible, except that they are absolutely obsessed with maintaining and gaining control over women's bodies. I know the Republican party is bouncing between old school Republicans, who were focused on this fiscal conservatism and government distance, and the Tea Party members and fundamentalists who make up the majority of their voting base. They are deeply committed to their protestant (??) thinking, but are now rallying around a Mormon and a Catholic. They want to reach the rural poor while mostly taking care of that 1% and the corporate rich. These two parts don't totally make sense together, and it makes the Republicans so difficult to read. I think the party might be headed for a crisis, and it just makes their party line incomprehensible.

10.       Because I am a Christian and believe that we are all stewards of this world- Oh yeah, deal with it people. I am a Christian and a liberal, and I think they do make sense together. I feel like the message the Obama campaign is sending about being responsible to (and caring for) your fellow man fits more clearly with what I understand my faith to be about. That helping others is more important that getting to the top of that hierarchy. As our First Lady said:

"When you walk through that door of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you."

 I can't help but keep thinking of that video of Mitt Romney talking about the 47% of Americans who he sees as entitled and undeserving. But as Christians, aren't we supposed to recognize that we are ALL undeserving? And to honor the grace we've been given, we should continually strive to give grace as well? That we should want to take care of the health of our Planet, our country, and our neighbors (with love, not judgement), because that is what God charged us to do? I know this is idealistic, but it is better to at least start from that place than the place where you are openly resentful of people who have not been as lucky as he has. I don't often talk about my faith in these situations, but I want to make it clear that to me, my political affiliations are driven by my religion, not despite of it. I want to vote for the man who I believe feels this charge as well, who is driven to use his power to help the people who need his help.

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