The Top 5 Reasons I’m Voting For Obama Again

1. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

2. The Economy: I know the opposition says that Obama hasn’t done anything, and there are people don’t like what he has done. I think Obama and the laws and programs he has enacted stopped the economy from going off a cliff and bursting into flames. It’s hard to argue about this conclusively; there’s no way to tell what would’ve happened if McCain had won the election. I suspect nothing good (which is why I voted for Obama last time).

The economy is recovering from the worst recession ever. Ever, period. It’s a slow recovery, but it’s been steady. We’ve gained jobs over the last 30 months (325,000 added since 2009). Unemployment is finally down below 8%. The stimulus worked (it did), but in fairness to the opposition who simultaneously loathed it and used it, it wasn’t big enough to work miracles. I found this interview very illuminating, although I haven’t read the book yet.

Obama wants to get people back to work, and he wants to continue to grow the middle class. He’s outlined his plan to do so (if people don’t know that, they’re not paying attention). He’s also been opposed at nearly every turn by Congress.

He couldn’t fix in four years what took nearly a decade to destroy. I’m going to give him another four to keep at it.

For an overview of Obama’s economic numbers, I like this graphic and article from factcheck.org. They look at a lot of different things. Overall, I see more pros than cons.

3. Foreign policy: He ended the war in Iraq, and he’s responsible for Osama bin Laden’s death. I saw a bunch of retweets the other day that said in effect, “Obama didn’t kill bin Laden, Navy SEALs did.” If you really, really believe that (and judging by the number of times it was RT’ed in my timeline, a number of people do) YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT. I suspect, in fact, that people who RT’ed it are being willfully obtuse. He is called the Commander in Chief, after all.

4. Women’s rights. The way the Republican party is willing to publicly talk about women is appalling. They simply don’t care about us, girls. They don’t care about equal pay ; they don’t care about equal rights; they don’t care about your body (unless they get to tell you what to do with it); and they don’t care about your family. Nothing in their political agenda or platform is going to benefit you, unless you are rich and/or you are married to a rich white dude.

They don’t think discrimination exists for real.
They don’t think most rapes are legitimate.
They don’t think if you get pregnant from rape, it’s insult to injury. They think it’s a blessing, and that you’ll agree once you have your rapist’s child. (Think legislators who keep talking about rape in stupid ways are outliers? Think again.)
They don’t think that contraceptive access is either an economic benefit or a health care issue.
They don’t think you should be able to make choices about when to start your family.
They don’t think you should have information about how to make choices about when to start your family.

I am anti-abortion. I am pro sex education, pro contraceptive access, and pro economic benefits for women who want to work to support their families.

5. The Social Safety Net. Unemployment, college loans, welfare, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid. I have used two of these benefits in my life (unemployment and federal college loans). I know that SS and Medicare need to be restructured — personally, I wouldn’t mind raising the age of retirement for my generation to 70 — but the GOP ticket doesn’t want you to have this safety net. They don’t care about poor people (a large number of whom are women and children), and they don’t think the government should help poor people.

Obama wants to make sure our most vulnerable populations aren’t further at risk. He’s not fostering dependency. He’s showing faith in the American people. That with help, they will succeed. (And, yes, many people, without help from the government, will succeed too. The government doesn’t need to help everyone! But I would argue that I’d rather know help from the government was an option if all else failed.)

PS: Gay rights. The continuing opposition in this country for civil rights for every person baffles me. The continuing hatred toward people who live or love differently than others — the minority in the majority — sickens me. I’m glad DADT is over; I’m glad it looks like DOMA will be viewed as unconstitutional. Live and let live, people. Better: live and let love.

Thinking Aloud: Preaching Politics

At church this Sunday, the priest used his homily to talk about voting pro-life. I’m not comfortable when politicking comes from the pulpit, but it happens regularly (and not just every four years). I’m not really crazy about singing “God Bless America” in church, but that happens regularly too. Heck, not two weeks ago, there was a voter registration drive outside the church I attended!

I’m not sure the priest would’ve summed up his homily the way I just did, and I can’t give you a run down of every thing he said, because I was in a very crowded cry room that was, as per advertised, very loud with teh cries.

But what I gleaned from what I did manage to hear was this: Voting pro-life (i.e. against abortion and euthanasia) was the single most important thing that you should do as a Catholic.

The priest did not specifically mention any candidate by name, nor did he explicitly endorse any candidate (which is something that is apparently happening in some Protestant churches this Sunday).

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a single-issue voter, hence I don’t vote on abortion. If you were to put my vote in one of two piles (pro-choice or pro-life), it would end up in the pro-choice pile. And I’m resigned to that, if not wholly comfortable with it.

I think it’s easy for the Catholic church to take a pro-life stance that is consistent. The church has a variety of programs and initiatives in place that (in my opinion) make it a very pro-life organization. The church encourages and participates in social services, social justice, ministry to the poor, and stands against war, the death penalty, euthanasia, and abortion.

On the other hand, it’s hard for me to take the GOP seriously on the pro-life/family values platform they want to put forth. The Romney/Ryan budget is not, in my view, very friendly to anyone who is not rich, white, and/or male. Which, if those are your economic issues, that’s cool. Or if you do vote on abortion, gay marriage, or other social issues that are based on your religion, well have at it. The GOP may be more to your liking.

My economic interests include more than just me. I think the Democrat’s platform is more inclusive, and does more to help lift people up.

Additionally, most of the hatred that I see spewed regarding social issues seems to come from the right. I’m not saying that everyone who is conservative is hateful, and I don’t hate conservatives or Republicans. But, when the language turns negative — hateful, misogynist, racist, and so on — I’ve seen that more from the right than from liberals or Democrats. (If I’m off-base here, you can correct me.)

As a Catholic, I believe that God is love. I believe that our purpose here is to love one another — from the richest to the poorest, to a man, to a woman, to a child. Even if you don’t agree with me, I should show you love.

That’s what Jesus would do. That’s the answer to the question. Love one another.

I’ve gotten far afield here, but I think the message the priest was preaching was simplistic. My conscience leads me to vote like Catholics for Obama. If that’s not the type of pro-life Catholic my priest wants me to be, then I guess I’m doing it wrong. But it doesn’t feel like it to me.

Outrage

Dear Senior-Aged Lady on NPR,

When you say, about our President, “I don’t like him. Can’t stand to look at him” and about his wife Michelle, “It’s about time we get a First Lady in there that looks like a First Lady and acts like a First Lady,” you sound like a raging racist.

And I’m sick of it.

If you want to disagree with President Obama on his policies, I’m totally cool with that.

I’m not sure what’s to dislike about Michelle who for all intents and purposes is a stay-at-home mom with two kids who grows a garden in her back yard (granted on a larger stage than most SAHMs I know), but so be it. I’m not 100 percent sure what a First Lady is supposed to act like. They’ve been a wide range of personalities in my experience, starting with Nancy Reagan. (I don’t really have a sense of First Ladies before her.)

If you don’t like the Obamas because (and still!) because of the color of their skin, or because you think he’s a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country, you can go pound sand. That’s a load of crap. If you are outraged over his “destroying America”, you better be able to back that up, sister. There has never in my memory been a President so regularly and falsely maligned as Obama, and I don’t even mean in the media (mainstream or otherwise).

The latest whopper I heard? That Obama survived a botched abortion, and how could he be “pro death” even after that experience.

People, I didn’t even have the words.

So, I’ll repeat: If you don’t like Obama’s economic or foreign policies, go ahead and talk about that. Have some facts — there are plenty out there. But if all you can reach for is coded racist language or blatant hyperbole and lies, keep it to yourself. I’m sure you can find good, solid reasons to vote for the GOP ticket. I can’t, personally, but I’m willing to have the conversation as long as it doesn’t mention Obama’s birth certificate or allude, however obliquely, to the color of his skin. You’re just embarrassing yourself.

Sincerely,
rpm