There are two major issues on which republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and I agree. The first is that under no circumstances should we reduce or decrease our military (and as I type this all of my intensely liberal friends and my husband holler at me for this opinion) and the second is that we have to – we absolutely MUST – reduce our deficit, specifically our debt to China. This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in putting Americans back to work or advancing the middle class – rather, this is to point out that there are two important issues where I agree with him and yet I will still be voting to re-elect President Obama.
These are rather major issues, and in the grand scheme of our country today they should at least be factored into my decision making, but they are quickly tempered by Romney’s pro-coal stance and refusal to distance himself from the incredibly archaic anti-woman speech his co-horts pollute the airwaves with.
But let’s look at this another way. Here is an approximation of a conversation S. and I had recently.
S: I voted Republican once. I probably won’t ever again, but I did once.
Me: When? When in all the world did you vote for a republican?
S: Dole versus Clinton. I mean, I just didn’t trust Clinton at the time. Would you trust him with our daughter, if she were sixteen and alone in a room with him?
Me: Of course not! But if she joined the Peace Corps and was kidnapped in some war-torn country and in danger I would inherently trust him to save her and bring her home through diplomacy. That is what I want from my President.
S: Well, that’s a good point (to be fair I’m not sure he realizes he conceded this argument – it was right before game 4 of the Tigers sweeping the Yankees to head to the World Series).
My truth is this: I have a deep and abiding faith in the Democratic party and what it is capable of achieving and I have tremendous hope and confidence that our country can get to a balanced budget and a growing economy without completely sacrificing programs that help the poor, art programs in schools or access to good health insurance.
No matter how hard they try (and let’s face it, they don’t try very hard), the Republican party is unable to convince me that it could be a party that represents my interests. I mean, yes, our national debt freaks me out and I want to see it addressed ASAP but I also have worries for this world – major and significant worries.
In no particular order, I am worried about climate change, gun violence, my right to make my own decisions about my body, equal pay for women in the work force, access to food stamps for those who need them, the number of children living in poverty, the number of people living in poverty, I am worried about acts of terror,de-regulation of the coal industry, the rising cost of food and how much college tuition will cost by the time E is ready for higher education.
As concerned as I am about these issues, though, I recognize what a luxury it is to even spend time thinking about these things. S. and I are actually some of the few who can claim to be better off than they were four years ago – perhaps not substantially better but our housing value went up, as did our salaries. We aren’t in what I consider a position of comfort, yet – we’ve earned just enough to be able to cover the disasters we’ve been dealt but we haven’t been able to get ahead financially – but we are what I think of as ok. We will all be comfortably warm and well-fed this winter – not dripping jewels and European vacations or anything but we will be ok.
What a privilege, to be able to say that. What luck. So I don’t see it as my job to vote for the person who will improve my own personal socio-economic profile (because, frankly, that would probably be Romney) – it is my job to vote for the person who I believe cares for our country as a whole, and who believes that just because you are poor, or a woman, or God-forbid, a poor woman, or a child, or elderly, or sick – you still matter. You will not be left behind in the name of job creation or economic growth. You are a person, a person who matters, and you will be taken into account as we continue to fix the mess we find ourselves in.
There is so much talk of what terrible shape our country is in right now. Job and economic growth are slow, more women and children are living in poverty than in last couple of decades, we are an obese nation that can’t feed its poor…if you listen to the political pundits right now you wouldn’t be wrong to despair over the state of our nation.
And yet, through all of that negativity, I know there is good – so much good. And President Obama has us on a path that is improving. Sure, it’s slow, and sure, he’s not addressing all of our pet issues all of the time (I personally really struggled with his willingness to sacrifice the Great Lakes for the good of the shipping industry). But he was handed a disaster of a country four years ago and he is slowly and steadily improving it. Oh, he may not be show-y like Romney – he might not promise jobs and money in your pocket right away but then again, President Bush did that. Look where it those tax breaks got us.
Those of us that can afford to pay signficant taxes, should. But we we should do so for a President who is going to utilize the money to help the country as a whole, and not just a privileged few. That’s why I’m voting for President Obama, and you should, too.