Why I’m Voting for President Obama by Lois
As Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast this past week, the best choice for President became obvious. President Obama unhesitatingly crossed party lines to work closely with the non-Democratic mayor of New York and governor of New Jersey (both of whom have given him a big thumbs up), while Mitt Romney promised not to campaign out of sensitivity to the tragedy – and then set up a photo opportunity in the swing state of Ohio under the guise of disaster relief. His actions were so inauthentic and counter-productive – just like those of his running mate, Paul Ryan, who talked his way into a closed soup kitchen and washed an already clean pot for a photo op – that the Red Cross asked him to stop (just as the soup kitchen asked Ryan to leave).
Romney has repeatedly dismissed the idea of climate change, going so far as to make jokes about it. He has called federal disaster relief “immoral,” and vowed to get rid of FEMA. When asked, during the hurricane, if he still believed all that, he refused to answer the question – 14 times. He still hasn’t answered it because he knows his answer is wrong for the country and could cost him votes.
Yet the race is still considered close.
People who are planning to vote for Romney explain it’s only because of the economy. If that’s true, they would be voting for Obama, especially since Romney has admitted to not caring about the financial needs of 47% of our country. The experts agree that the economy is on the upswing. They also agree that the numbers in Romney’s plan – as little of it as he has revealed – just don’t add up. Romney has said he will balance the budget within 8-10 years. Well, then, why is he criticizing Obama for not doing it in four years, especially given the mess he inherited and the unwillingness of the Republicans to pass any initiatives that would have helped the economy? Even the conservative financial bible, The Economist, endorses Obama.
But let’s be honest: this election is no longer about the economy.
Even if Romney had a viable economic plan – which he doesn’t – his Presidency would come at the expense of human rights. He is anti-government when it comes to money, but at the same time believes government should be able to legislate issues that are very personal.
I have friends who roll their eyes and say, “Oh, he’s not going to overturn Roe v Wade.” Of course he is! He has vowed to do everything in his power to do so, and because the next President will likely be appointing Supreme Court justices, he would actually have that power. Romney is ready to appoint judge Robert Bork, who once ruled that a company could force their female employees to be sterilized or be fired. And Romney has actively campaigned for Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, who proclaimed that pregnancies that result from rape are what God intended and are no reason for an abortion.
With the stakes this high, we can’t hide our heads in the sand, and say we’ll worry about “women’s issues” later. It will be too late.
Romney has promised to get rid of Planned Parenthood on his first day in office, which, according to Gloria Steinem, is what Hitler did when he first came to power. Taking away reproductive rights is a very effective way of keeping women down. One of Obama’s first acts as President, on the other hand, was signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which Romney’s advisors admit Romney would not have signed.
I don’t understand how anyone believes that women don’t deserve equal pay for equal work, or why women would vote against their own rights.
Romney has also vowed to Constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. This would be the first time an amendment has been used to remove a right rather than protect it. That is a huge, dramatic step which reveals just how serious he is about this. Gay rights have been called the civil rights issue of our time, and the fact that Romney and Ryan use their religious beliefs to defend their position goes against the separation of church and state tenet on which our country was founded.
In one speech, Romney said, “Some gays are actually having children. It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact.” On the campaign trail, he unapologetically admitted to a homosexual veteran that he wouldn’t allow him to marry the person he loves. Romney bullied a gay student back in prep school, and if he becomes President, more gay children are likely to become victims because, after all, even the law looks upon them as less than equal.
The fact that voters are willing to give up other people’s human rights because they think they may benefit financially is appalling to me. As Election Day gets closer, many of my Facebook friends seem to be feeling the same way, and have been posting “WTF?” when they suddenly notice they have friends who “like” Romney.
Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright — who happens to be gay — wrote one of the most impassioned posts on this issue:
“I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say, ‘My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.’ It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movement, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you ‘disagree’ with your candidate on these issues.”
I hope you’ll think hard about this because it’s personal. We all have gay family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers. They are real people — not statistics, not theoretical groups — and they will be affected in ways you would never want to experience.
With Americans so divided, this election will decide the future of the country in a way no other election has. It’s up to us whether we want to work together for the sake of everyone or leave each individual to fend for themselves.