If you have been listening to the news at all since September 2011, you know that candidates for the Republican nomination have reeked with fierce negativity. Discussions on “family values” have included Santorum feeling “nauseated” over JFK’s strong stance on Separation between Church and State (see quotes from Santorum’s speech and commentary at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2012/02/rick-santorum-jfk-speech-makes-me-throw-up.html), and vicious name-calling on everything from contraception availability to single motherhood, and beyond! For women especially, it’s been hard to like any of the Republican candidates, especially when the front runners seem to be campaigning against women’s interests. Can I, as a woman and a polytheist really support a candidate who wants more religion (presumably Christian) in politics, characterizes single mothers as a negative social influence (see https://www.freespeech.org/text/rick-santorum-single-mothers-%E2%80%9Cbreed%E2%80%9D-criminals for speech excerpts and details), and seems to be on a war against women?
Then there is Romney who has time and time again demonstrated to me he has no clue what it means to be unemployed, homeless (or in danger of losing one’s home), hungry, or suffering in any real way from the recession, unlike myself and so many other people I know (see http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/mitt-romney-made-42-million-paid-14-percent/story?id=15423615#.T2YiGBEgfGA news story on Romney and money). Maybe to him a few hundred thousand dollars is chump change-but my life would be much more secure and comfortable if I had even $50,000!
One of these two men, both whom I find objectionable, will represent the Republican party in the general election unless something highly unusual happens at the Republican National Convention. So my heart must turn to President Obama.
President Obama’s record has hardly been stainless. He has not delivered to promised levels on the environment-but did listen to Nebraska in opposition to Keystone XL which promises to destroy the ecology of my native Nebraska-and turn rich farmland into a poisonous deathtrap through pollution of the Great Plains Aquifer which supplies Nebraska with its water. Economic progress has not pulled us out of this second great depression-but is moving in the right direction, particularly through his rescue of the US automotive industry-which is now hiring at record levels. Yes, he could have done more for women and women’s rights-but when you compare Obama’s priorities, you do see he cares about improving the day to day lives of women-no matter their marital status or if they have children or not. He has kept his promise to improve U.S. reputation internationally and he certainly has kept his promise to stop Osama Bin Laden. Al Queda is weaker today than four years ago and thanks to the president and Michelle Obama, progress is being made in improving the quality of food in our schools. Backyard gardening is returning to popularity. We are talking about urban food cooperatives and raising our own chickens again, even in cities, for higher quality eggs. Perhaps just as important to me, Obama is the only candidate still talking about investing in renewable energy-not this repeated refrain of drilling more in America and to hell with the ecological consequences.
I am biased of course. I weep when another species is put on the ICUN red list (this is the group that classifies a species as threatened, endangered, extinct, etc). I don’t believe that oil and oil alone can save this country and I recognize the role of fossil fuels on global warming-which our blessed Republicans still seem to think is not man-made. I care about being discriminated against for not being a Christian and worry if state-sponsored discrimination against minority religions is on the horizon. As a woman, I worry about government intrusion into my body and what pressure might be placed on my doctors to withhold medically appropriate treatments based on some politician’s view of what I can and cannot do medically with my own body. Will a politician force me to die of breast or ovarian cancer by interfering with a medically appropriate treatment out of worries that some 14-year-old might be shielded from the consequences of giving into a boy’s pressure to have sex?
It really does feel like the only real choice for my life’s circumstances is President Obama. Is he perfect? Absolutely not – he never claimed perfection. But I do see hope, improvement on the horizon. I believe if President Obama is re-elected, I will get on my feet again after being laid off three years ago. I believe it is Congress, not the president, we need to change in order to see the change we all believed in four years ago finally materialize. Congress, not Barack Obama, has made our lives miserable. With a Congress that governs by the people, not big money, we can all get back to work and back to prosperous lives.