Why I am voting for Obama

Recently, my brother posted on Facebook, asking, “Romney or Obama?  I don’t follow politics that closely, so your thoughts are welcome.”

As a general rule, I don’t post on Facebook about my political leanings, but because this blog isn’t connected to my Facebook feed in any way, I’m posting the entirety of the text that I sent him.

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I’ll try to be as clear and concise as well as rational as I can via qwerty keyboard. It makes it hard to text these thoughts, but I’m sending them because you are important to me. Your question was Obama or Romney.

While i feel Romney may have some attributes that make him a generally decent guy, I believe his mission would be detrimental to our country. For starters, he wants to cut social programs, accusing the 47% of, “not taking responsibility for their lives.”  While there are some people who shouldn’t be on welfare, and abuse the system for their own personal gains, there are those who need those programs to survive. I am one of those people.

I work hard, and put in very long hours, but without the government assistance provided, i would not be here today. The subsidies provided helps it so I can have health insurance by funding state-wide programs to help insure those who may have preexisting conditions, that are not covered by traditional insurance. With that insurance, I am then able to afford medication for my chronic illness, which is literally saving my life.

By cutting funding to those programs, I would have no other recourse or option. I would be forced to choose whether I purchase food and pay my rent, or buy my medicine, as the medication costs along are well over $1,700 per month off of insurance. That is a choice I have made in the past, sacrificing food so that I could live. It is a choice I am not willing to make again.

Second, the party – the Republican party – have made it very clear that they are against abortion. Why this is still an issue in America is beyond me, as it was decided by Roe v. Wade. However, it is something that comes up every two-to-four years and apparently needs to be addressed.

What I find so hypocritical as well as misogynistic is that if men were the ones who carried babies to full term and were faced with the decision on having an abortion, this issue would have been decided a long time ago. As a man, I do not have that privilege of carrying a baby to full term. While I may not agree that abortion is humane or necessary, and once again, a few rotten apples choose to abuse the system for lack of responsibility, they can be sometimes medically necessarily, emotionally necessary in the case of rape, and perhaps humiliating when a woman decides she must have one. I know several people who have had to make the difficult choice, after being raped, of whether or not to have an abortion or not. I could never and would never want to be in their shoes, and thank goodness for that. Because the idea that you had to terminate a living growing thing inside your body is a weighty issue, but should ONLY be decided by the woman in question and her doctor. Not by a bunch of bureaucrats in a room with no skin in the game.

Thirdly, Obama came out as saying he supports gay marriage. As a gay man, I am not afforded the rights that other citizens of this country receive. Being gay was not a choice, it was something that I was born as. There have been numerous times over my lifespan where I wished I was a straight heterosexual male, but to deny who I am at my fundamental being would be a detriment to my family, but ultimately to myself. Life would have been exceptionally easier had I been straight, but the fact is, I am gay. I have always been gay, and always will be. And the idea that the man representing me, a minority but still a part of this nation and its populace, believes that I should have the ability to express my love for another man as Obama does is empowering and lets me know that someone out there gets it.

Even his own political views have changed with regard to the gay, lesbian, and transgendered community. But those views changed based on personal experience, and he was willing to go on record to support a smaller minority of this country who still are denied visitation rights, who are denied the right to marry whom they choose, and the right to simply be in this country. Romney himself, over the course of his political career, has continued to pander to whomever will give him the largest sum of money. And it becomes very clear to me that Romney is simply about the almighty dollar.

What’s so fundamentally discouraging about this principle is that Romney has not shown any humanity, any compassion, nor an ounce of dignity in his quest for the presidency…only that he wants it really, really bad but isn’t willing to recognize what it represents.

Obama is not perfect. There are a lot of things he has done that I don’t necessarily agree with, but the fact that he is our president is something I take very seriously. He has shown his mettle numerous ways, as well as seeing through to completion and saving us from the Republican philosophy of trickle-down economics, which has never worked. Wall Street is a great example. It simply doesn’t work. He inherited a mess, and has worked hard to continue to right this ship. But like any ship that has suddenly found itself moored in the precarious shores of destruction, it will take a lot of money to repair those holes.

The spending was necessary. And the viewpoint that it could be fixed in four years is something that perhaps the President shot his mouth off on. But the fact is, Obama has saved us from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, helped to save the auto industry, which Mitt Romney opposed (and advocated for failing, thereby leaving millions and millions of people without employment, and having to go to the government for assistance), and we have seen job loss stagnation and then job growth meaning that things were getting better. Whereas before, the employment rate was continuing to hemorrhage under the policies of George Bush, and would have continued to do so unless something had been done to correct them.

I don’t believe I will ever be incredibly wealthy. I simply want the opportunity to live my life, as a middle class American, but with the freedoms and rights guaranteed to me under our constitution. All men are created equal. And as such we should have those same rights.

Both candidates are millionaires, but Romney believes his money makes him better than me, you, our children, or anyone else who isn’t in the upper echelon of wealth. Romney hasn’t had to struggle a day in his life. He was born with the proverbial spoon in his mouth.

Obama gets it. His family struggled. He rose through the ranks and is now a top earner in our country, the 1 percent, if you will, but he has been there. He understands what it is like to live the American dream, to rise from nothing to become the most powerful man in the world. He is the living example of what this country, its ideals, and the opportunity afforded to every single American, regardless of sex, creed, or color.

Under George Bush, the ship that is our country had taken on more water through his failed policies that it was necessary to spend to repair the damage and the holes to prevent even more underwater. Obama has done that.

He may be painted as a do-nothing president, but that is an outright lie. He has championed for the people from the first day in office, signing the Equal Pay for Women act, as well as working to reform our education system. And he finished the job that Bush couldn’t do, by getting bin Laden.

Much like a house, if you maintain it all along, repairs will be less expensive to fix. Our health care system, our education system, all of those needed fixing but were ignored under a Bush presidency, and would be under a Romney presidency. His policies and viewpoints are almost ideological to George W. Bush’s, but yet the Republican party is trying to pull the wool over the American people’s eyes by not even invoking their previous candidate/president in their own political convention, simply relying on the statement that Obama is wrong.

To leave things to the finality that they got to under Bush required almost a major overhaul….much like finding asbestos in the walls of a house. Things needed to be gutted and rebuilt. Similarly, we needed to spend money in order to get out of this mess that we’re in. This is a point that the president has failed on, and did not get the message out earlier. Yes, things were going to be expensive. But they were for the good of the country, to rebuild our foundation so we could move forward and upward.

I have never seen so much vitriol and hatred directed towards the leader of our country, but as he himself pointed out, this is something that even he understands. It is our freedom of speech. People can call him a Muslim, people can call him a socialist, people can compare him to Hitler, but the fact remains, Obama stands up for that right. THAT inalienable right guaranteed to us by our constitution of these United States.

Our country was founded on the principles of freedom, of separation of church and state, as well as the liberties to form a more perfect union.

Perfection is a lofty goal but it is something that I believe we should continue to strive for, and that includes all people. Every single person. From the elderly, to each child, to gays, straights, black, white, Muslim, Christian, Jew — it doesn’t matter. To form a more perfect union. Not THE perfect union, but a more perfect union.

The word union means togetherness. Exclusion, denial is simply the antithesis of the foundation of this country.

And my final point. One of my most prized possessions is a letter from Fred Rogers, from Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Mister Rogers Neighborhood was a program that was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of Arts. His program, along with Sesame Street, the Electric Company, and countless others, allowed me to use my imagination, to think outside the box, to be an artist and live a fulfilling life pursuing music, pursuing dreams, and re-imagining the way our world is so often viewed, in black and white numbers.

The composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim said it best, to make a hat where there never was a hat. Or to dive into a world of pure imagination, as Willy Wonka sang. While it seems trivial and trite, these are important points, as out of this imagination comes things that we would never have thought possible. Space travel. Cell phones. The internet. Basic computers. Things we take for granted now, but were once only the dreams of people who had lofty ideas. The fact remains they had the ideas, and without the support of artists and the nurturing of their humanity, some of these things would eventually get here, but not with the rapidity that we saw under the nourishment of the National Endowment of the Arts, and other like-minded organizations like PBS.

Life is not black or white, but filled with so many colors that to not have those colors in my palette is saddening. And idea that children would be denied the opportunity to see things slightly askew and askance from the norm is equally as sad.

I value my imagination. I value Melody’s artistic skill, I value my son’s ability to escape into fantasy, and I value my niece’s ability to draw. To deny them an opportunity to explore that side of their personality, to see what their potential could truly be if they were given the chance to explore, to dream, to create may be denying the world the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Pablo Picasso, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep. The list goes on and on.

What makes us human is our humanity….there’s a reason the arts are considered uniquely human. To compose a piece of music that makes one cry with sadness or joy, to express oneself in a way that also satirically looks at how we value things, such as Andy Warhol’s soup cans, that allows even horrible films like “Transformers” to be made, is what makes us human. Our expression, our soul, our humanity.

I am not a perfect human being, but by pursuing my dreams and the goals I am working towards that happiness. After all would we even be here if our founding fathers didn’t have the courage to dream of a better loves for themselves and their kin?

I share these thoughts with you only because this is a very personal election to me. While the average citizen may not see the immediate repercussions of what would happen under a Romney presidency, there are very real consequences, there are very scary consequences, and they are very frightening.

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Posted on October 14, 2012, in Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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