Why I Am Voting For Barack Obama In 2012

In 2008 I was one of the believers. I was in a conservative Christian setting, sitting quasi-literally in a bubble on top of a conservative mountain. In that time I was just discovering political activism. I was living on top of a mountain while literally gazing down on poverty from the privilege of my status. But I was a Christian! I believed in love. Here was a man who was using language of change, hope, and taking care of one another. While I resided in a conservative stronghold I held onto hope that I was supporting a paradigm shift from a pull-yourself-up-by-your-boots-with-God’s-blessing to a mutually supportive society that took care of one another. Hell, I was only one of about 1,600 votes cast in my country for Obama, yet I cheered alone in the streets from the heights of my mountain when he was elected and change had come. Not only had a person of color been elected to the White House, but the margin of victory was large enough to dare to dream that America might unite behind a new day.

His Presidency began in a tumultuous time.  The unjust war in Iraq and systematic deregulation of the financial industry had resulted in a country in debt and in rapid economic decline. President Obama did what I think any reasonable person would do: He stabilized the country by bailing out the banks. While I adamantly object to Wall Street’s bailout on moral principles, I understand his reason d’être. If my only economic council were Hank Paulson, Lloyd Blankfein, Ben Bernanke, and Larry Summers, I would get greedy council too. The pressure of the economic collapse of an empire is too much for any person to bear, let alone in the first month of your Presidency.  I disagree, but I understand.

I also hear a lot about the President’s promises. Mitt Romney laughs that Obama promised to slow the tide of the oceans. He was going to regulate Wall Street. He was to pass financial reform. He was going to end the war in Iraq. He was going to pursue alternative forms of energy. He was going to reform healthcare. He was going to hunt down Al-Qaeda. He was going to pursue peaceful negotiations in international affairs. He was going to be the voice of the people in Washington. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for that rhetoric. But what did he accomplish?

I am not so blind as to not see the good that some of the President’s decisions have resulted in. He bailed out the auto industry and saved a couple of million jobs. American cars are now competitive on a global stage again. He killed Bin Laden. What more do you need to say about that? He also passed healthcare reform that got coverage for millions of Americans who did not have access to healthcare. However, (and this is a big however) I also know that Wall Street still runs amuck and gambles away the futures of hardworking people to build a financial empire on the backs of the poor. I also know that the President’s drone policy has resulted in the assassination of an American citizen and a host of foreign civilians. And I also know that the bill that passed as “Healthcare Reform” was nothing more than a giveaway to insurance companies.  I am not so ignorant to think that one man can systematically restructure government in four years. Chauvinist capitalist philosophy has pervaded government for timeless generations. Why should this one time be any different? But insofar as a person can lead a government as hotheaded, divisive, and immature as ours, the President has done a pretty good job. However, this middle class talk must give way to a holistic approach to a sustainable world free of war and slavery that benefits all 100% of the global population. However, until that time I must stand with working families.

While President Obama is not the ideal candidate—far from it IMHO—he is not Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a chameleon. He has been running for President so long that he has forgotten what his values are.  One minute Romney is a tax-cutting-voucherize-Medicare-deregulate-Wall-Street kind of guy and the next he is a moderate. Then there is Paul Ryan. I have watched this man in the Congress for many years now and he has always been a heavy-right leaning small government conservative. The accusations are true. They do want to turn Medicare into a voucher system. They do want to give a 20% tax cut to the rich while cutting general assistance funding for the poor. Take one read through Ryan’s budget proposal. These two men are idealogues. They represent an establishment that can be both pro-life and pro-war; cut taxes and pay for an empire; and at the same time be pious and reckless. These people would rather bankrupt a family with medical bills than provide them affordable access to healthcare. They would turn our schools systems into cash cows of the profit-driven machine. They would invade a country if it meant better business.

The Republican establishment has veered far off the road of small government and freedom of choice philosophies into neo-religious fundamentalists insistent on shaping America in its image. I cannot stand by and let people who think in such a closed-minded and arrogant manner to impose their will on the people of this country. The American idea is audacious. It begs the question: what is impossible? We invented electricity, gave humans the gift of flight, and built a virtual world. We can aspire to great things, and we cannot be held captive in the economic bonds that a Romney-Ryan Presidency would impose on us. We cannot feed the hungry, educate our children, take care of our sick and elderly, and invent the next step in human evolution if we are stuck being conformed into an image of a country from the Middle Ages where a few nobles and lords profit on the backs and work of the poor and lower classes. We must think bigger. What is our next Man On The Moon project? Can we put a woman on Mars? Can we create a food grid capable of providing every person on planet Earth with food to eat? Can everyone have the opportunity to live in peace?

Such audacity cannot come from an Administration bent on cutting the scale of human achievement for the profit and betterment of a few.  It must come from a truly inspired people. We do not have such a capable candidate like that in this election. It is no secret that 2012 Obama is not 2008 Obama. He is not inspired, but he is sensible. He may have a shady war, hypocritical finance policy, and watered down reforms, but I think if we are loud enough he will listen.  Romney would not. This election is not about who is in office; it is choosing the grounds on which we will fight the war. We can either expend our energy rallying and protesting the austerity policies of a conservative agenda or we could spend that time pushing a potentially inspired man—we have seen it before—into more radical reforms. And if he doesn’t answer, then we take it upon ourselves to make change happen. But we can start on the level ground of incompetent government instead of a profit-driven-bought-off-autocratic-war-profiteering-elite class of the wealthy who have no idea what it is like to live in real America.

2012 Barack Obama is not the perfect candidate for President. I would have preferred someone more socially minded who would a) guarantee housing, food, and gainful employment through (b) tax raises on the 1%, (c) ending the military-and-prison-industrial complex, (d) ending the drug wars, and (e) propagating programs that would aim at empowering the poor instead of burdening them with the debt of reckless government spending, but until that day I am going to stand with the working families who stand to lose something in this election.  I am going to vote for a likely President who will appoint wise and prudent Judges to the Supreme Court who could decide the fate of the futures of my children. The only people that stand to gain from a Romney Presidency are the richest among us. Everybody else will be burdened with the debt of war and gambling.

A viable third party would be fantastic. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala have made an excellent example of a campaign well-messaged, but Democrats and Republicans have drowned their voices in the avalanche of superPAC money. Until one of those justice-seeking people has a chance at the Oval Office we need to put a President into office that will be less of an obstacle to true economic and social justice. That is our work. Our current government has proved that it does not have the tenacity or fortitude to lead a nation of dreamers. Even the People’s candidate failed to implement systematic change. But the fight must go on, and I think we have a responsibility to set up the board before we launch our assault. Let us set off up the path of least resistance on our way to the promised land.

On November 6th I am going to vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States. I will cast this ballot not with a sense of approval or endorsement, but in solidarity with those working families who stand to lose their futures under a Romney-Ryan administration. Rest assured this vote does not signal surrender. On the contrary, it constitutes a declaration of accountability. Those who stand to gain from the casting of this ballot undertake a responsibility to lead this country forward in a way that is fair, equitable, and just. If any of those who stand to gain from this ballot do not act responsibly with the direction of our country, We, the People, will be holding them personally responsible.