I admit I have been a critic of some of the policies of President Obama, occasionally in this very forum. I don’t like the drone strikes. I don’t like that he let Bush and Cheney slide on torture. I thought he could have saved the banks by saving the homeowners and kept the real estate market from crashing. And I hate the concept of any president claiming the power to detain or assassinate any human, much less an American citizen. But I am going to vote for President Obama, for Joe Biden, and for every Democrat on my Michigan ballot. I’m not doing it reluctantly. I’m shouting my support from the rooftops.
I’m going to vote for President Obama because I believe a woman has a right to control her own body. It will be a vote against Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, who thinks women regularly pretend to be raped to qualify for a Medicaid funded abortion. It will be a vote against Illinois Representative Joe Walsh, who growls authoritatively that there are no pregnancy complications threatening enough to necessitate a woman terminating her pregnancy. It will also be a vote against New York Republican Representative Steve King who says he has never heard, of a child becoming pregnant from rape, and a vote against Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan who thinks the right of the Catholic bishops to refuse their employees birth control is more important than the right of every American woman to have contraception coverage offered in their insurance plans. It will be a vote against Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who said he struggled with the decision, but concluded it must be God’s intention that 13-year-old rape victims should have to become unwilling incubators for their fathers’ babies. And it will be a vote against all the onerous Republican regulations meant to circumvent a woman’s right to end an unwanted pregnancy. I’m voting against the so-called “informed consent” laws, like the ones in Virginia and in Texas, that, as their male authors first envisioned them, would have required unwilling women to be penetrated vaginally, which coincidentally, is the very definition of rape. And I am voting against the unreasonable clinic restrictions in Virginia and in Mississippi, which but for a Federal Judge’s order, would have closed the only remaining abortion provider in the state.
I am voting for President Obama, because I stand with my LGBT friends for equality. Though their record has not been perfect, President Obama and Vice President Biden have been supportive of the gay community. They refused to send the Justice Department to defend challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act in court. They ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and with a little unexpected, but effective prodding from Vice President Biden, President Obama “evolved” enough to endorse marriage equality. Mitt Romney, by comparison, thinks same sex-partners have no right to hospital visitation when their partner is ill, and was astonished to discover gay couples have families. And Paul Ryan, who would take over should a President Romney become incapacitated, or be impeached for tax evasion when Wikileaks gets hold of the tax forms we haven’t yet been allowed to see, is a staunch opponent of marriage equality, gay adoption, and even hate crime laws. By the way, my vote for Obama/Biden will also be a vote against homophobic Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose husband runs a counseling clinic urging damaging gay reparative therapy on vulnerable young clients.
I’m voting for President Obama because I accept science is humanity’s best way forward. I believe in government-funded research, including renewable energy, and embryonic stem cell research which Mitt Romney banned in Massachusetts when he was governor. I am appalled that teaching students critical thinking skills has been rejected by the Texas Republican Party Platform. I despair that biology books in Louisiana teach the Loch Ness Monster is a real dinosaur because it supports a religious claim that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. I am astonished that Georgia Congressman Paul Broun who says evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory are all “straight from the pit of hell” and Congressman Todd Akin, of the ‘women’s bodies can shut down rape sperm’ fame, could be appointed to the House Science Committee. I am voting for President Obama because Rep. John Shimkus from Illinois says we don’t have to worry about climate change causing polar ice melting, because God promised Noah he would never again destroy the world by flood. I think this news will be of little comfort to the displaced people who until recently lived on the now submerged island of Tuvalu. I am voting for President Obama because Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe refuses to consider climate change legislation, saying he believes it’s arrogant to think humans could affect what is God’s will, and I’m voting Obama/Biden because I like to breathe, and California Representative Dana Rohrabacher thinks cutting down the rainforest will reduce greenhouse gasses.
I am voting for President Obama because he gave us Obamacare. Even with all its imperfections, insurance coverage for everyone is better than herding the uninsured into Emergency Rooms, and bankrupting families when a member becomes seriously ill. I think when a democratic country reaches a certain level of wealth, denying healthcare to one another is immoral. I am voting for Obama/Biden because Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and to end funding for Planned Parenthood, leaving millions of women without basic health services. I am voting for Obama/Biden because I want to preserve Medicare as a guaranteed benefit. If Romney/Ryan had a good plan, they would be raving about it to seniors, not promising to exempt everyone over 55.
I am voting for President Obama because the makeup of the Supreme Court is at stake. In yesterday’s post in The New Civil Rights Movement’s Vote! Series, Stuart Wilber made an excellent case for how important the appointment of the next justices will be. Disaster has already struck twice. Once when the very men appointed by his father gave us President George W. Bush. Look how that turned out for the world. Now the Supreme Court has stolen our voices by upholding Citizens United, and we are one vote away from more disastrous decisions. President Obama gave us Justice Kagen and Justice Sotomayor. Mitt Romney’s legal advisor is failed Supreme Court Nominee Robert Bork. I can only imagine the binders of candidates Mr. Bork would present to a President Romney.
I am voting for President Obama because Republicans have forgotten to put country first. How can Republicans even pretend to serve America’s best interest when they have sold their free will to Grover Norquist and his tax pledge? I am ashamed of the “just say no” antics of the Republican House and of the excessive filibustering of the Senate. Never before has a member of congress yelled “You lie” to a president addressing a joint session of congress as South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson boorishly did. Never before has a Supreme Court Justice mouthed the words “Not true” at a president as Samuel Alito indecorously did at the State of the Union address. I have not forgotten Arizona Governor Jan Brewer shaking her finger in our president’s face, nor Florida Representative Allen West warning a sitting president to stay out of Florida. I haven’t forgotten Republicans had a meltdown when newly elected President Obama made a video to encourage school kids to study hard, or that rank and file Republicans rooted against Chicago being awarded the Olympics, and were irate when an American president won the Nobel Peace Prize, or that elected Republicans worried about Exxon and not the Gulf. I am voting for President Obama to send a message to Mitch McConnell that it is not his job to decide who is a one or two term president; such power belongs only to us, the voters. And I’m voting to tell Donald Trump and the birthers we find them to be nothing more than comic relief. I’m voting to object to the Republican assault on collective bargaining, on Acorn, and on Shirley Sherrod. I’m voting to protest all of the undemocratic Republican voter suppression efforts. And I’m voting against every mean-spirited Right Wing talking head from Limbaugh to Beck, from Malkin to Coulter, from FOX News, to World Net Daily. I have not forgotten George Bush. I have not forgotten Dick Cheney. I have not forgotten Karl Rove or Scooter Libby and I see the same faces that did their bidding now apprenticed to Mitt Romney. John Bolton. Dan Senor. Michael Chertoff. Everything old is “neo” again. I am voting for President Barack Obama because I am weary of war and death and soldiers damaged for life in both body and mind. No more war. Not Syria. Not Iran. Not anywhere. No.
Finally, I’m voting for President Barack Obama because when he speaks, I believe what he has to say. He has integrity. And after his long campaign of vigorous Etch-a-Sketching, Mitt Romney never will.
Jean Ann Esselink is stray.ight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
Image from freedigitalphotos.net
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