Saturday, October 27

Today I Vote

I have been actually dreading going to the polls and voting. The weight that I feel as a swing state voter is a burden. But no one wants to hear from a martyr, so I'll just say that making a choice for the President of the US has been the most difficult of my life for several reasons.

On the one hand, I voted for Hope and Change in 2008, but in 2012, I'm voting for good sense. In 2008, we watched out economy tank in part by economic decisions that helped the few and cost the may a lot. I am not willing to go backwards and accept the policies that brought us to the brink again, but I also wonder what four more years of partisan bickering are going to do to us.

I do not believe that the men and women running for the highest office are perfect people or even that all their ideas will be impactful. Truly the eye has been off the prize in this election. While we have been worried about who will be the next president, the House of Representatives is not likely to be changed and therefore, either we will see the same political posturing in the House or the posturing will shift to the Senate, depending on who is elected to the presidency. So whoever we elect is going to be fighting an uphill battle.

The vast majority of people think that the House is largely ineffectual, but don't understand the ramifications it has on the person they elect to the presidency. Romney says elect him because he can work across the aisle, but how much work do you have to do when it is your party in power? Yet, as we experienced under Obama, even if you have the votes, the partisan shopping cart has to be filled first and that arguably has problems too. The Affordable Healthcare Act, while well-intentioned, is not a flawless piece of legislature and people have the right to be upset about those provisions that they feel will be detrimental to them.

This election is important, but more important is how do we as Americans deal with each other regardless of the outcome. The closer we get to the election, it would seem, the more confidence we have in spending money again (and that is where jobs come from). So, is it that we are a hopeful people putting our faith in false idols or that we are simply in need of a leader that can articulate our sense of confusion and frustration over where we are going? Or do we need a leader that can get deals cut?

What I see is that we need both. And that is what makes voting all the more difficult. I see President Obama, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Rocky Anderson as men and women who do a great part with the first question. I see Governor Romney and President Obama as the deal makers. Whatever people may like or admire in a President, what they get done is what we remember.

As much as I would like to vote purely on my beliefs, I find that is not a way ahead. The way I see it, is to build support at the state level for candidates outside the big two and to seek either non-partisan elections or at least real alternatives to the big two parties. When around 40% of the electorate claims to be independent, there certainly is room for a third party or at least independent candidates that speak to that group. But that is not where things are today.

Until that happens, at the national level, it is still most important to vote for the person who is likely to do more of what you want and less of what you don't want.
- I want a president who is relatable and can clearly articulate his or her vision.
- I want the president to be straightforward and honest, but to wait until the facts are clear.
- I don't want a president that will repeal laws that impact women, nor do I want a president that will conduct drone strikes with impunity.
- I don't want a president who would make it harder for people to join or stay in the middle class, nor do I want one that would make everyone pay for the lifestyle of the rich.
- I do want a president that will improve the prospects for all Americans to receive a world-class education, but I want localities to figure out how to do that.
- I want a president that will make sure that we all have healthcare, but won't insist on fining us if we can't afford it. I want a president who wants to find a solution for allowing American workers and immigrants to both be able to work, but I don't want one who will close off markets unnecessarily.
- I want a president who supports the rights of workers to organize, but will step in if necessary if it is for the good of all.
- I want a president who doesn't want more people in jails and, at the same time makes it possible for those who have been to rejoin society without repercussions after having made restitution.
- I want a president who follows the Constitution, but does not treat it as a static document.
- I want a president that understands that we are a part of the world and not an exception from it.
-  Finally, I want a president who supports equal rights regardless of race, religion, sexual identity, or gender.

And I am voting today.

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