A few months ago I made a promise to stop posting anything political on Facebook until Election Day. Tonight, on the eve of the election, I have a few things to say, and I will be posting this message to Facebook first thing in the morning. I hope my Facebook friends, both liberal and conservative are willing to read, and possibly share what I am about to say.
1. I am voting for Barack Obama, and regardless of who wins, people in this nation should be okay with that, regardless of who they voted for. I am not an idiot for voting my conscience and political ideals, I am an American. More than that, I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am a history teacher in a public school. I served this nation in the U.S. Army, and I am a veteran of the First Gulf War. I challenge anyone to question my patriotism or devotion to the ideals of this nation because I voted for Barack Obama.
2. I read just now, how Billy Graham published a political statement where he urges Americans to vote for the candidate who espouses the idea of so-called traditional marriage and family values. With all due respect to the Reverend Billy Graham, I too, believe in God, but here I must differ with him on this issue, as with many others. Setting aside Graham's flip-flop regarding Mitt Romney and Mormons (of which I am), I disagree with his interpretation of God and Jesus. The Jesus I learned about in Sunday School in the Mormon faith was the Jesus of Love, the Jesus of Justice, the Jesus of Compassion. Marriage is a right duly granted to some in this nation, but not to others, and I think it's a gross injustice to allow something as highly subjective as the Bible determine for citizens of a nation which was founded on the principles of freedom, free from the constraints of religion, to define (and thereby deny) marriage. Either we are a nation interested in liberty, or we are not. Reverend Graham concluded his statement with praying we remain one nation under God, but that motto was only instituted during the Communist Scare of the 1950's. It was not any part of our official or original National vision. I personally pray and work for a nation which considers all citizens entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Either we believe our Constitution was written with the intent to change with the needs of its people, or we do not. Civil Union is not Marriage, and as long as marriage is denied to the people of this nation, then I cannot in good conscience take seriously any candidate who thinks denying marriage is okay.
3. The same goes for women's rights. When are we going to make it okay to be a woman in this nation? When are women going to be afforded the same respect and pay as men? With so many GOP men fumbling about God's Plan for Conception, Abortion, Legitimate Rape, Equal Pay, and Birth Control, it begs the question: When are we as a nation going to stop listening to men about these issues and listen to what women have to say? Any candidate, who feels the traditional role of family excludes women's input on the above issues cannot expect to receive my vote. Ever.
4. It's the Economy, Stupid. Like it or not, I am swayed by the left when it comes to the economic state of our nation. I admit my bias. I believe President Obama has done the near impossible. He literally helped to avoid another Great Depression. He continued the policies started by G.W. Bush (but actually got people to pay their loans back) and stopped the economic free-fall the U.S. had started. Think of this:
a) The unemployment promises he made were based on inaccurate numbers. we had the wrong numbers, which meant his estimates of what could be done were off. This wasn't anyone's fault---not even G.W. Bush's. However, the GOP, blindly following the TEA Party, seemed to blame it on President Obama.
b) Congress actually said in public (Lindsay Graham) their first priority was to deny President Obama a second term. Not jobs, not economic recovery. Just refusing to work with the President. The weight of that statement is simply staggering. The Republicans in these past two sessions have yet to propose a single jobs bill.
c) Congress happily raised the debt ceiling dozens of times for G.W. Bush, but suddenly stopped when it came to President Obama, projecting to the American Public that the Deficit and the debt ceiling were essentially the same thing. Way to exploit ignorance.
d) Mitt Romney has said many times his economic plan can get the U.S. Solvent in 8-10 years, attempting to map out a Paul Ryan presidency in the years to come. However, he blames President Obama for not fixing anything to his satisfaction with the above conditions and struggles which were very real in the past four years. This is basic hypocrisy.
e) In spite of all of these problems, President Obama's attempts have started to help create jobs and reduce unemployment. Solindra? I reject the premise. Of the 65 companies which benefited from the same money Solindra did (which subsequently failed), 92% are still in business and solvent. 92%. How do you like them apples?
5) Foreign Policy. There has been a lot of coverage of Ambassador Stevens, who was killed in Libya. That is problematic, and it is a true tragedy. My question is this: Where was the GOP outrage and cries for administration investigations for the dozens, yes dozens of consulate employees killed abroad under G.W. Bush's administration? The fact is because it is an election year, we are hearing the GOP attack President Obama for something which happened a lot more times while President G.W. Bush was in office. It is of course how the GOP plays the game. [sideline: The GOP also plays itself up to be the Military's greatest friend, but G.W. Bush routinely reduced military and veteran's benefits. Remember, I know because I am a veteran and I get letters telling me what my benefits are and are not on a regular basis.] So if I don't count that, I won't allow President Obama credit for Osama Bin Ladin. It was, after all, a national effort and he simply happened to be in the White House when it happened. So what can I say? President Obama restored our international integrity. Yes, he did. He soooooo did. A lot of nations and people of other nations like the U.S. again because President Obama does is not an arrogant shit-heel to them. He proves the U.S. can enforce it's foreign policy without being ass-hats.
6) Racism. Let's face it. Not all Republicans are racists and I would not even go as far to say a very large percentage of republicans are racists, but you have to admit those people who are racists in this, the 21st Century, align themselves with the Republican Party by in large (if they are not even more to the extreme right on the political spectrum) and that is simply disturbing. It says something very powerful about the Republican party for tolerating those people to be a part of their ranks. And let's not forget the TEA Party consists of Republicans or people who think the GOP is not doing enough for them. Why do I bring this up? Because of all the many signs which equated President Obama with Hitler,The Joker, and labeled him a foreign national. We simply have not moved as far as we need to, and I am not going to let this nation stagnate if I can at all help it.
So go ahead, those of you who disagree with me. Tell me my devotion is less or misguided simply because my politics are different. Challenge my patriotism because I am a liberal. Tell yourself I am not educated, or I have been duped if it makes you feel better. But if my politics frighten you so, then maybe the problem isn't with me. It would truly be unfortunate to lose friends over this, but if that is the price for my convictions, there's the door. Show yourself out.