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Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Voting For Barack Obama

My fellow Americans,

It’s no secret who I’m voting for, if you follow me on social networks. I’m not a democrat or a republican. Rather, I’m an independent who has been having trouble sleeping at night..

I’m also a husband. I’m a father. I’m a member of the work force. I’m a proud citizen of these United States. As such, I’d like to share with you the reasons why I’m voting for Barack Obama. You don’t have to read this, and I’ll defend your right not to do so. But if you’re any of the things I listed above, maybe you should give it a go.

Here’s why I’m voting for Obama:

  1. Though far from a perfect plan, Barack Obama finally did something decades of his Democratic predecessors could not: he passed health care reform into law. If it makes me a “socialist” to want myself and my family to receive quality health care – even if we have “pre-existing conditions” – then fine. Color me socialist. I believe everyone in a civilized nation should expect quality health care as a basic human right, and most civilized societies agree with me. I believe more affordable access to preventative care, especially for the poor, is a far better choice than waiting, as your illness gets worse and worse, until you have no choice but to visit the emergency room as a last ditch option, the damage done.  I might be a dreamer, but I humbly submit that an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure. I also believe that a middle class family shouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy (after years of doing everything right) if the mother or father – or worse, one of the kids – develops a serious condition. I believe “survival of the fittest” is how it works in the animal kingdom. I don’t believe insurance companies should determine my family’s fate.
  2. President Obama is not a perfect man. Far from it. No politician can serve multiple masters and satisfy everyone – ever. But immediately upon taking office he set out to repair the years of systemic diplomatic damage caused by George Bush , whose mantra of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us,” was an immature schoolyard approach that went over like a lead balloon on the world stage. Obama understands that “listening” to an adversary is not synonymous with “weakness.” He understands that, in a nation as powerful as America, it’s wise to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Obama is playing chess. His opponent, in my view, is playing checkers.
  3. I have two young boys, ages three and two. I want them to grow up understanding without qualification that women are every bit as capable as men in the workplace, and that they deserve equal pay. Their mother certainly does. I want my boys to understand that women have the right to decide what to do with their own bodies and when to do it, and I want them to shake their heads in disbelief when they recall stories from 2012 about a man running for president that wanted to overturn Roe V. Wade; a man whose running mate co-authored legislation saying, essentially, that a raped woman MUST carry the baby to term, irrespective of the unspeakable violence behind the conception. Ditto for incest. My boys need to know that old white men – in their own lifetime – tried to subjugate my wife and her two sisters by imposing strict religious dogma onto the electorate. “When you were a little boy,” I hope to say one day, “women almost lost what decades of education and enlightenment had gained.” And then maybe I’ll blow their minds by telling them about a thing called a “typewriter.”
  4.  I believe that “entitlement programs,” though certainly abused by a percentage of society, are actually a worthwhile investment in the future for people who need a shot in life, so that they might attend college or afford to feed their kids while looking for a job. People in need are not, as many conservatives view it, a section of people to be pitied. Rather, as the Democrats view it, they represent an opportunity for the future of America. I believe a Pell Grant is a potential launching pad (it was for me). I believe it’s all right to plant a row of seeds knowing full well that not all of them will bloom, no matter how often you water them. Many of them will. Some will grow into giant trees bearing fruit for generations. It’s an opportunity cost that will pay huge dividends when compared to the alternative. Look around at your friends and families. How many of them took student loans? How many went through a rough patch and collected unemployment? Food stamps? If you answer yes to any of these, I bet you can also point to that person or those people and say, “it helped them to become who they are today.” I believe that Obama sees opportunities where the other folks see problems, and though the execution isn’t perfect, and never will be, the intention is pure. Pure America.
  5. I believe in science in particular and higher education generally, and I think they help us make a better world; they bring sunlight to the most pernicious diseases and vexing problems darkening the modern world. I also believe there is a movement afoot on the Right that says smart people are snooty and out of touch with “ordinary people.” I think I like the quote I read recently that said, essentially, that there’s been a train of thinking in recent years suggesting – even celebrating – the idea that “my ignorance is just as important as your knowledge.” I think that’s bullshit and utterly dangerous.  I believe in evolution. I know how old the earth is because science proves it. I think stem cell research is critical. I think a college education is something to aspire to, and not something to worry about “indoctrination into.” I think college needs to be more affordable, more commonly accessed, and more highly regarded, just as I think grade school and high school and early education programs need to be viewed through the lens of opportunity. I believe the country represents a macrocosm of my own family. I want my children to crave knowledge, but more importantly I want them to feel empowered and supported to act on that knowledge in a way that positively impacts their own families, their communities, and this great country.

 

For these reasons and more (such as energy policy)I will cast my vote for Barack Obama. His vision for the country is more closely aligned to mine than is Mitt Romney’s. I believe Barack actually wants to make the country better and fairer for future generations, and I can’t help but think Romney simply wants to be called “Mr. President.”

 

What are your thoughts? I welcome a discussion in the comment section. I ask only that you keep your replies civil and thoughtful.

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14 Responses to Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Voting For Barack Obama

  1. k says:

    good stuff

    good real feeling

    yes man.

  2. Sarah says:

    Well said. I was a straight-A student all my life and had a 4.0 in college. I was able to attend college (coming from a single-parent household) because of Pell Grants and low-interest government loans. I signed up for unemployment after a layoff in 2011 but never collected because I was employed again before it took effect. These programs were a boost and a safety net for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have health coverage through my employers, but I believe I–and every American–should not be abandoned if we aren’t that lucky, or if, god forbid, we get chronically ill. Michelle O. said it best:”[Obama] believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

  3. Erik says:

    I’m a life long radical and your analogy of entitlement programs being like planting seeds was brilliant. Thank you for your wise words!

  4. Becky says:

    So perfectly said.

    I’m the only person in my immediate family to graduate from college and I couldn’t have done it without assistance in the form of Pell Grants and other low interest student loan programs. We paid off my loans a couple of years ago and it was a tremendously gratifying moment.

    I can’t believe we live in a world where the right to choose is being debated, or whether a woman should be paid as much as a man to do the same job. I hope someday that we can look back and shake our heads at the stupidity of it all.

  5. Amy P says:

    Good post, Parry. It’s nice to see someone rationalize their reasoning rather than just post a series of degrading or short sighted remarks. You make a lot of great points here. Like you, I am a registered independent. I personally think a two party system is out of date and fundamentally flawed. I’ve voted in something like five Presidential elections now and many times (aside from the GW era) I cast my vote with a bit of trepidation because I’m never “all in.” I mean, what does a voter like myself who believes in pro choice and gay marriage do when I also feel like our country is in financial ruins? I do believe that we have become an enabler for people to live off the system and become less accountable for their own lives. But, I also believe that there are people that really need the help and it’s our job to help them. I’ve also become a bit more jaded about society in general as I get older and well – part of that is knowing that I’ve had nothing handed to me in life and I believe that we all have an opportunity to make something out of ourselves. I am from a blue collar middle class family – and I was taught that hard work always prevails. I went to a State School because I didn’t get loans. They said my Dad (a police officer working his tail off to raise three kids and have their mom stay home with them) made too much money. I just see a lot of people taking the easy way out now and they aren’t being called out on it. Using EBT cards to buy tattoos and booze? Yikes! If you can’t find a job and are on welfare, lend yourself to community service. Give back in any way, shape or form. In every major election to date, my vote has gone to the Dems. I was excited at the possibilities Obama brought to this country and I believed that he was passionate about getting things done. Unfortunately, I really don’t feel that way anymore. Yet, that leads me back to my earlier point – I’m not all in on Mitt either. I truly do not believe that Roe v Wade will ever be overturned (there would be complete uproar across the nation) I just can’t vote for a guy that has taken the finances of this country to a whole new low. So my belief is we need a financial fixer right now – more than anything. Yes, there are holes in Romney’s approach. However, I gave the incumbent my vote and in 4 years things have gone from bad to worse. It’s just too bad that things have to be one extreme or the other. You are either a crazy conservative or a crazy liberal. There are people that care about both sides, but are forced to pick the lesser of two evils. My intent of this post is not to start a debate or for someone to try and convince me why my opinion is wrong – just to say.. the flaw of this election isn’t necessarily the two candidates, but the lack of options we have as voters.

  6. Mandy says:

    Well said, buddy!

  7. Dadblast says:

    Amy, what a thoughtful and nuanced reply. Thank you!

    Let me address a few points. First, I want to cover what you didn’t address fully. It’s not just abortion rights, but the overall lack of regard for the spectrum of women’s issues that should be revolting, in my view, to a modern woman like yourself. Birth control pills should not be a basic right? There should not be legislation mandating equal pay for women? The fact that there’s even a chance – hell, more than a chance — that women who are raped will be legally obligated to have the baby — doesn’t that freak you the hell out?

    Let’s talk about the economy. You obviously know that Obama inherited a colossal shit show. Thousands of jobs per month were being lost when he was sworn in. He’s guilty of overestimating how quickly he could right the ship. He was just plain wrong about that. But, to Bill Clinton’s point, do you think any human being could have completely corrected what turned out to be The Great Recession? Isn’t it likely that no matter which party was in power our financial mess would be huge at this point?

    Mitt Romney is probably a great guy. He’s a great guy who wants to be president. Badly. He wants it so badly that he’ll say whatever he needs to say to garner enough votes. Look at his record. Listen to how his policies change regularly in accordance with the polls. And after you do that — after you track his changing views from the primaries to the general election — if you feel that he’s the best guy for the job, then by all means pull the trigger on your vote for him. But just remember, his job is not to worry about the 47% of Americans who aren’t in Mitt’s plans. People in the military. Old people. People who have the gall to go to college on student loans or to hold out their hands for a government check when they’ve lost their jobs, and need a bridge back to normalcy.

    And then take a look at the president that actually got us into this mess in the first place, and how closely Romney’s policies mirror his.

    Love you, Amy. And appreciate your thoughts.

  8. Justine says:

    Well said, Parry. I especially liked how you articulated your views on entitlement programs…”I believe it’s all right to plant a row of seeds knowing full well that not all of them will bloom, no matter how often you water them. Many of them will. Some will grow into giant trees bearing fruit for generations.”

  9. Billy says:

    Great post. I wonder how much you meant the order to be read as priorities. #5 is absolutely key and #4 may be the entire reason I identify with progressives and thus my #1, of which #1 (Obamacare) is a critical sub-bullet. Anyway, well thought-out piece. And if you’d come out on the other side I’d still be your friend but always wonder deep down what’s wrong with you.

  10. Kelly says:

    Great post….lifelong hardcore liberal democrat with a union president for a father!! I have to admit I have been really disappointed in Obama…I tend to sit with Amy. I am realllllllllyyyyy worried about the Economy. I have considered jumping onto the side for the first time ever because of my worries over the economy. I don’t like Mitt..but I think he is more savvy about the economy and I don’t have a lot confidence in Obama. I still haven’t made up my mind.

  11. Brian R says:

    Parry, I sincerely appreciate your incredibly well versed thoughts and comments. I think you hit on many important issues that drive our country. I too am a registered independent and like to think of myself as someone that tries to sort out the noise of both parties but tend to lean toward the ideologies of right. I struggle with politicians themselves. Acknowledging I’m painting with a wide brush most, both left and right, fall under the slick-noise-making-back-slapping-phony-baby-kissing knucklehead category that causes me and I think most normal thinking Americans to at least wince, perhaps vomit. As Amy P pointed out it’s difficult to find one you truly want to support. She in fact hit on much of my sentiment.

    For the record I appreciate and completely support your case on women’s issues and feel our society certainly deserves help in the form of government sponsored entitlement programs for the points you’ve clearly stated. I loved the analogy. Women’s right to choose goes well beyond the narrow religious based foundation in which it’s detractors stand on.
    For me though, one very important concern, that you only touched on and I think it is our most important is the “colossal shit show”, the continuously climbing $16 trillion National Debt. How will this get aligned? Like you I have two young kids and am concerned about their future. Our President has managed to increase our debt by almost 50% in 4 short years. I am concerned about the next 4 and about the next recession that may dwarf the previous. I’m concerned about the inevitable sweeping joblessness, homelessness, short food supply and other issues and the reason I will not vote for the incumbent. It should also be pointed out that the shit show began in the 1990s with the rags to riches dot.com era coupled with the government backed subprime lending program which afforded homeowners the American dream they could not afford leaving the taxpayers to clean it up. We are still paying for that masterful economic foresight.

    I think there is a way to create a healthcare system that works for everyone but feel that because of a deadline, Obamacare was shoved up America’s rectum, don’t you? A cost at which hasn’t yet been approached and this on top of our current debt. This should concern all Americans. Perhaps obvious but I don’t want to live in a socialist society, look at what has happened to the former USSR. I believe capitalism and small business is what drives the economy and a strong economy is what drives prosperity and opportunity. It is not evil. Our country was founded on it. Republicans in my opinion, are denigrated for being rich white guys that can’t relate to the common man, perhaps fair and true but I ask does President O? He says he does but does he? I wonder. In my opinion they’re all on power trips and securing votes feeds the addiction and is what drives most politicos. Sadly I am backing Knucklehead Romney by default.

  12. Dadblast says:

    @Kelly – I hear you. But I’d encourage you to vote, irrespective of who you vote for. Make your vote count. If the economy is the most important issue to you, and you believe in your heart that Mitt’s policies will improve the economy better than Obama’s policies over the next four years, you know what to do. But I’ll give you something to think about. Corporate profits are at an all time high right now. Did you know that? The stock market is doing very well. So, according to the republican logic, shouldn’t all of this money in the hands of the 1% — the “job creators” — be trickling down into the middle class by now?

  13. Dadblast says:

    @brian — nice thoughts here. I agree with you that it’s very difficult to “trust” any politicians, because you have to be driven by naked ambition to put yourself and your family through an election cycle, and open yourself up to constant scrutiny.

    I won’t hit on all of your points, but I’ll leave you with this thought: I’ve followed Mitt Romney’s career since he ran for office in Mass. And the one thing I simply can’t overlook is that he’s changed his positions on everything from abortion to gay marriage to healthcare to taxes — multiple, multiple times. Now, to be clear, ALL politicians tell us what we want to hear. Every last one. But Mitt tells you what you want to hear from month to month, week to week, day to day. I can’t trust the guy, and international polls have clearly demonstrated that the world doesn’t trust him, either. That’s not good.

  14. JZ says:

    To the Author: As noted by others, thank you for a very well thought out presentation of your overall thoughts on the upcoming election. Rather than blind partisanship, it is indeed refreshing to see such a detailed independent opinion piece which is also so very well constructed. I am also a Father and I love and share the overall sentiment of most of the ideals that are important to you, but at the end of the day, I personally find it impossible to vote for Obama. My discussion will hardly be an endorsement of Romney, as I find him to be a very flawed candidate. Neither of these two will ultimately get my vote. My basic premise is that we should expect much more from our politicians. One of these two unfortunately will be elected (or reelected), and given this choice or lack thereof, I think we will be mildly better off with Romney, due to his capitalistic mentality and economic skill set. I’d like to touch on some of the points raised and offer my opinions about the most important issues as I see it facing the USA.

    I think that most thoughtful people share the notion that everyone should have access to affordable healthcare. This is a complex issue and I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject. Personally, I feel the best way to accomplish this (which will be a recurring theme in my discourse) would be to crack down on fraud, in this case insurance fraud. I feel the private sector should be the engine which drives such matters, with the government’s role being that of the mechanic, offering fine tuning and regulation. The crackdown on the combination of $$ that is lost each year to insurance fraud and to funding healthcare costs for illegal immigrants (more on that later) could easily be reconciled with fair affordable insurance, which does not discriminate against preexisting conditions, etc., for ANYONE INTERESTED in purchasing it. This is the key. With the passing of Obamacare, we have opened the proverbial “box of Pandora” in which the government is forcing the people to purchase a private good or service potentially against their will. This is dangerous, very dangerous. I also find it quite amazing how President Obama was able to pass this very lengthy piece of legislation with very few fully understanding the implications. The man needs to be commended for his ability to get things done. But as commenter Brian points out, this was forced through under a deadline, which can never be a good thing.

    On the point of equal pay for equal work, I’m not sure that outside of extremists anyone truly opposes this. A fair amount of hypocrisy as been pointed out with regards to Obama and the Lilly Leadbetter Act. It has been brought forth that women do not receive equal pay in the Obama administration, but this is somehow ok, and the rules should only apply to the private sector? I think the issue of women’s rights is being unfairly politicized, where Mitt Romney is being demonized over it, and Obama is being made up to be a champion of rights. Show me the facts. With respect to Roe V Wade, does anyone truly believe this will ever be overturned? I don’t think this would be anywhere near the top on Romney’s agenda. OK, and even if it were overturned which would be shocking, all this means is it would be left to the states, in which case abortion would continue to be legal as there is an overwhelming majority of people who realize abortion is a necessary part of society. I have a hard time however agreeing that “legalized abortion” should be considered “enlightenment”. As a pro choice individual, I view this as a sensitive and personal issue that needs to be reconciled individually within one’s own morality. I do view the legality of abortion as a “societal” right for women and necessary for a functional society. I also however find the use of abortion as birth control despicable, and I think overall the term “Women’s right to choose” desensitizes the actual act. Again, whomever is elected, I can’t see how anything will change with respect to women’s rights, but sadly the election may be decided on perceived notions of where the candidates stand on these issues. According to a recent poll, 39% of women give this as their most important issue in the upcoming election, while 35% of men, cite jobs and the economy.

    OK let’s talk entitlements. As others have pointed out, the author’s analogy about seeds is indeed brilliant. I truly share the sentiment. With respect to welfare and unemployment etc. these are again necessary elements for a functional society. Would I rather see the current system that is in place, where there is mass exploitation and fraud as compared to nothing whatsoever as a safety net? Absolutely!!! I want to see no child go hungry or no family lose their home, etc. But why can’t we hold our politicians to a higher standard? Let’s crack down on the fraud, let’s quit inciting class warfare, which further widens the divide. Anyone who takes a look at this issue soon realizes that there are more people in the wagon then those pulling. EBT abuse is rampant, illegal immigration and abuse of entitlements is staggering. There are no incentives to get off of welfare or SSDI. There is little incentive to take a job when you have 10 months of unemployment checks waiting in the wind. It is much easier to collect them and work under the table. In a Utopian society, we would stop the fraud and use the funds to improve the overall situation for everyone. Sadly, nothing is being done to reform this situation, only to use the entitlement issue for political purposes!

    Other issues: Why are we continuing to allow GMO (genetically modified organisms) in our food supply. Obama promised there would be labeling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLkYo5SOKuM
    He got many votes on this but has since hired a food czar that is a former Monsanto executive.

    NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) As someone who campaigned against the Patriot Act, how could President Obama possibly support this? Why is no one talking about this? For years, the democratic party was a champion for civil rights. This is the most invasive piece of legislation the US has ever seen. One needs to question the motivation behind this.
    https://www.stopndaa.org/

    Illegal immigration is an enormous drain on the economy and establishes dangerous precedents for our society. Billions of dollars are earned under the surface and no taxes are paid. Many times a large percentage of this income leaves the country completely. At the same time all tax payer services are being utilized by illegal immigrants. How can this model continue to sustain itself? The perpetrators are not to blame however. Who wouldn’t want to leave lesser conditions for a better life? I applaud them. The reality is legal applicants would love nothing more than to come to the US legally, work and pay taxes. Once they realize that legally they need to wait half their lifetime to get in, they force their way in and disappear under the surface of society. The blame falls on the politicians who once again are ignoring this issue. Borders need to be closed. Legal immigration laws need to become MUCH easier for the applicants.

    Oh boy, foreign policy. In my opinion neither one of these guys gets it, and it is dangerous. Why are we still in Afghanistan? Why is war with Iran imminent? Why are we currently occupying over 100 Countries? Why are we continuing to borrow from other Nations? I am fearful of what Romney might or might not do in this realm, but I think in this case the Devil we know is potentially far worse than the devil we don’t know. Either way, the current situation is unacceptable to me.

    All things considered, I feel the biggest issue by a mile facing the US is the state of the deficit and the potential collapse of the dollar. I can’t illustrate it any better than this “independent” video can

    http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/EW5IdwltaAc?rel=0

    Let’s look at the facts: Irresponsible spending which began with Bush and has grown exponentially under Obama, has added to the deficit and weakened the $$ to the point where the US credit rating has been cut and is expected to be cut again. Economic experts everywhere are predicting doom and gloom for the next decade. Ross Perot was recently quoted “The US is ripe for a takeover”. This seems laughable until you watch the video above and realize that it all could come crashing down in a hurry just like Greece. Economists in the know will point out that one of the reasons the US economy has previously kept its high credit rating despite increasing amounts of debt, has been the worldwide investment in the US $ each and every time a barrel of oil is traded. Until recently, all oil has been traded worldwide using the dollar, which provides security for the US. Well, this trend is changing fast. This article cannot be ignored

    http://www.examiner.com/article/dollar-no-longer-primary-oil-currency-as-china-begins-to-sell-oil-using-yuan

    This issue trumps everything for me. I lose sleep at night when I think about the future that awaits my children. Things have gotten way past serious. At least Romney is talking about the deficit. I’m not sure if at the end of the day Romney’s plan adds up, but I KNOW for certain that Obama’s plan does not address this issue. Thank you for this forum.