Monday, October 15, 2012

Why I support President Obama

Obama2I really need to stop apologizing at the start of every entry for not updating sooner. It’s the new normal. I’ve been pretty absorbed with polls and articles about the election, but I’m also on the verge of burnout, so I’ve been trying to balance it with some general reading, quiet time, and fun things like Notre Dame games. I find myself growing increasingly disillusioned with news channels and journalists (other than my real-life journalist friends, who seem to have their shit together more than many of the national journalists!), and I find myself withdrawing from much of it other than the political blogs that I read. But we’re getting close to the d√©nouement, aren’t we? And I am delighted to get to use the word ‘d√©nouement.’

Anyway, I thought that as part of my advocacy, I’d lay out exactly why I supported Obama in ‘08 and why I am still supporting him in this election. In no particular order....

  • I am a woman. I truly believe that Obama accepts women as equals and supports our right to equal pay for equal work. The very first piece of legislation he signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which promised exactly that. He also supports our right to choose, our right to affordable health care (more about that in a moment), and our right to control when or if we become a parent.
  • I am a scientist. President Obama has launched a campaign to promote STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for America’s youth, encouraging kids to get into these fields in order that we can continue to compete globally. He is probably the most science-friendly President we’ve had in a while, and I believe that these areas are where our future lies. I also love and support arts and music education, but I think an extra emphasis on science education is sorely needed.
  • I am a former health care worker. President Obama was able to do what has been needed for some time: pass comprehensive health care reform. Millions more Americans will now be able to get health insurance, and preventive care will be a part of that. Electronic medical records will result in less duplication of tests, and outcome-based payments will start to move us towards a focus on wellness and outcomes rather than inefficient fee-for-service payments. Is it perfect? No. (Personally, I’d like to see single payer insurance, such as Medicare for all.) But it is a very good start, and we can continue to build on it. Joe Biden was right. This was a big fucking deal.
  • I care about the less fortunate. Unlike President Obama’s opponent, I don’t feel that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax are lazy moochers who feel entitled to government handouts. I believe the majority of them are hard workers who are doing their best to provide for themselves and their families, but need some help from the rest of us. The sad truth is that it is almost impossible to support a family of...say four...on minimum wage. I do not begrudge them the help from our government, or paying taxes for that purpose; that is part of its mission, to promote the common good. This is probably the greatest difference between the two candidates and the two major parties: a “we’re in this together” attitude vs. a “you’re on your own” attitude. I want to see ALL Americans succeed and grow prosperous, and I believe that President Obama shares that wish. I do not sense that from his opponent.
  • I want to stop waging war. I know it is sometimes necessary. But I want a President who pursues diplomacy first and considers military involvement a last resort. I want a President who considers all the options (such as monetary sanctions), and doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to conflicts around the world, one who understands that war is not to be worshipped or glorified; it has real costs, both human and financial. A President who, in his or her youth, didn’t protest in favor of a war, even as they were avoiding it themselves. President Obama has increased benefits to veterans and their families, including increased money for college tuition, an increase for the VA budget, and tax breaks for firms that hire veterans.
  • I want to see an increase in jobs. President Obama has a plan to invest in infrastructure, education, and clean energy. All these things will create jobs. The most important driver of job creation is demand; consumer confidence is up, housing starts are up, and continuing the middle class tax cuts (as the President wants to do) will allow the biggest group of consumers to continue to drive that demand.
  • I believe in equal rights for all Americans. I was heartened when President Obama came out (so to speak) in support of marriage equality. Sure, ol’ smilin’ Joe might have forced his hand a little sooner than Obama was prepared for...but that was a good thing. The Democratic Party then added marriage equality to its platform, so it was a win-win situation. It’s high time we stopped treating a portion of our citizens as less than other citizens. It’s not right, and the Obama administration is on the right side of history on this one.

I originally became a supporter of Barack Obama when I read his book The Audacity of Hope. I felt that he had a reasonable and cogent vision of how best to guide our country. I still feel that way. I believe he will continue to govern for every American, not just the rich ones, and not just his own supporters. I see nothing wrong with asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a few percentage points more in income taxes and lose a few loopholes that allow them to game the tax system. I see everything wrong with giving the wealthiest Americans more tax breaks and asking the middle class to take on more of the tax burden. Prosperity for all doesn’t come from letting rich people keep more of their money. They are not the job creators. The middle class, which purchases the vast majority of goods in this country and creates the demand for those goods, are the real job creators. I feel that President Obama understands this.

You might have noticed that I didn’t delve into personal traits. I could have...I like our President’s rational, cool demeanor. It’s obvious that he loves his wife and daughters very much, and that’s great. I love it that he loves basketball. But I don’t base my voting decisions on such things. I base them on policy, and I mostly agree with Obama’s policies. It always made me laugh when I’d get emails from online friends saying, “Did you read this about Obama?? Do you agree with this?!?”, knowing that it was something that I wouldn’t agree with. Since when does any politician embody everything we want? There will always be things I don’t agree with, but I am supportive of the majority of his policies and the decisions he has made in his first term.

You might also notice that I did not rail against the President’s opponent. I’ll save that for upcoming entries. I want to make it clear that I am not voting against the opposition; I am voting for President Obama. We are going in the right direction, on the right path to recovery, and America needs four more years.

Oh yeah...and THIS:

Obama Rainbow Unicorn