Monday, November 5, 2012
Why I Voted For Barack Obama
The plants are doing fine, but the lawn needed a fixer-upper. While my grass isn't growing, my confidence in this election is.
As a natural-born American (though I don't know exactly where my birth certificate is), it is my right to vote. And while I vote in private, I can explain my vote if I choose. I am not trying to influence anyone else's vote, and nobody is under any obligation to read any father...
First, I am a city-dweller and have been for most of my adult life. I like leaving my house and walking to get my errands done. And sometimes there's a sketchy area between Point A and Point B. Yet whether I walk alone or with my children, I feel safe.
Even those that are struggling in an urban community are invested in it. That's because of the involvement of government with programs that both bolster the safety net, help small business, and maintain law and order. Otherwise, the community unravels; the desperate turn to crime and the disillusioned bail out.
Some will say the system is failing already with rash of gun violence that has plagued cities like Chicago (and even Savannah) this year. While this is a disturbing trend, I don't see all violent crime the same. Show me that rapes, armed robberies and home invasions have spiked and I will be the first to flee to a gated community.
Until then, I believe in the path that helps the most people and strengthens communities.
Second, the most important way to level the playing field is through education. Children in inner cities and rural areas need to have a chance at the best education available. Otherwise the inequality perpetuates itself for generations. Many children are born in bad situations through no fault of their own. Their only access to the American Dream is through the knowledge an education can bring, since in many cases they're not getting the right direction at home.
The way to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans is to start the process in pre-school. If we truly believe that the kid in a Savannah tenement has the same shot as someone who grows up in the governor's mansion in Lansing, Michigan, we need a greater investment in our teachers.
Now I am keenly aware that the system is set up to protect bad teachers. I don't know the answer to this problem. But increased charters, vouchers, and anything else that adds privatization into education only increases the chasm between the poor kids and everyone else.
Third, a President can only fulfill promises in a second term. It's unfortunate, but that's the way our system works. Like many, I've been jaded by the difference between Candidate Obama 2008 and President Obama 2012. And while change has been slow in the face of unprecedented obstructionism, a lot has been accomplished.
I look at 2012 as the campaign of real change. After Citizens United, the Obama campaign refused corporate money (I am aware that the DNC and SuperPACs take plenty of it), choosing instead for small donations from over 10 million individual Americans... citizens united indeed!
I trust that the President, beholden to no future campaigns, will not turn his back on the millions that he has incessantly hounded for cash for over a year now.
In 2008, Obama was a symbol of change. Hillary Clinton said it best when she battled him in the primaries, that he couldn't wave a magic wand and make the special interests go away.
In 2012, Obama becomes the agent of change. At least that's what I believe, I could be wrong. And if I am, it's a good thing my vote only counts once.