For anyone that knows me, it's clear that while I have opinions on hot button issues for this year's election, I try to avoid politics in general conversation. Living in DC for 2 years did that to me. I got tired of being asked if I was a D or an R, and so when I registered in NYC I registered "Independent". I didn't realize the freedom this would give me. I didn't have to agree with one party or the other if I really didn't agree with them, simply because I was labeled one thing or another. I actively read and watch and listen and develop my own opinion without the pressure of being party affiliated. It's wonderful!
In doing all of this, I really assumed that I would find that I was torn between the two parties and would have to really do some soul searching before election day to decide upon which side of the aisle I was standing. I never thought this would be such an easy decision.
I haven't liked Mitt Romney much from the beginning. He seems like a bit of a prick, but I was willing to listen to his ideas and ideologies despite that.
Do people really think this way? Are presidential candidates really this backwards and uneducated and corrupt? What exactly did he do to prepare for this campaign?
My mom and step-dad are voting for Mitt in the election. They have a sign in their front yard. I spent the weekend at their house last weekend avoiding looking at it because... it scares me. My mom says that the most important thing to her is the economy, and she believes that Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are excellent businessmen who understand how it works and that they will be able to fix everything in a way Obama cannot.
I will not disagree that both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have certainly boosted their own wealth through business. I will disagree that they will be able to help the American public accomplish the same or even similar success. My mom says that all of the information about Mitt's money being stashed in tax havens, and his making money by putting American workers out of business and sending jobs over seas are false and that I am brain washed by the media. Unfortunately, when I sent her a list of about 5 or 6 videos of things that are undeniable truths because they are videos of both the President and Mitt Romney speaking, she refused to watch them because they overwhelmed her.
And I got even more scared.
I started noticing patterns in things Romney was saying. He was constantly back-pedaling and changing his story, and outright lying to people. And if the people who support him are anything like my mom, it appears that they aren't fact checking, or looking at the other side at all.
And I know I know... these are very pro-democrat videos. I get that. That doesn't make what Romney is saying any less true... or... false as the case may be.
So. Ok. Was Obama perfect? Did he deliver 100% on everything he promised? No maybe not. Is he inexperienced? Sure. Has he improved things? Absolutely. And you really can't deny that, unless you solely listen to Romney and his campaign.
But let's ignore his lying and back-pedaling because really, that's just politicing, right? That's what EVERYBODY does, right?
You know what else everybody does? They disclose their financial records. And not just the bare minimum. They disclose several years of financial records. And here's the thing, I don't really care how many billions of dollars this man has. What I want to know is... is he a criminal? Is he ethical? I have to give about 30% of my hard earned income in taxes. Does Mitt? Or... does he look out for number 1 (in my opinion, the biggest issue this country currently faces - selfishness) and stash his cash in accounts so that he doesn't have to be taxed as we all are? Is that the kind of person I want running my country? Obama said it best, we just want to make sure we're all playing by the same rules (watch the video at the bottom). And someone that is hiding things from the American people, especially questionable financial practices at a time when the economy is weighing so heavily on our shoulders, does not a good leader make. I understand that Romney did what he was legally obligated to do. But when we're talking about gaining the trust of the American people on such a touchy subject, wouldn't going above and beyond be worth it? Especially if there really isn't anything to hide? And don't even get me started on his wife's reaction to this.
Over the weekend my mom jokingly said "oh, is it even ok to be a millionaire anymore?" and my response was "Of course, as long as you pay the taxes you owe on that money, it's absolutely ok to be a millionaire!" and my step-dad said "So as long as you share it." I mean... I don't really look at taxes as sharing. It's a legal obligation. And if I didn't pay these taxes, I'd be arrested. Ever heard of Al Capone? He did a lot worse things than not paying his taxes, but guess what put him in prison?
Ok, so let's ignore the lying and back-pedaling. Let's ignore the possibility of killing American companies to outsource jobs and making millions in the process by potentially untaxed funds being housed in foreign tax havens. That could all be part of the game of running for president, and it doesn't appear that what Romney was doing there was necessary illegal, although perhaps a little unethical. Maybe a bit questionable on the moral scale. But when was the last time we met a truly moral politician, right?
What about women's rights? I'm a woman. I like my rights. Obama very clearly supports those rights. Mitt very clearly doesn't. His comment about "Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that." is, again, scary. When I got out of college, I was making next to nothing. I couldn't afford insurance, and my job had a 1 year probation period before benefits kicked in. But my health matters to me. Planned Parenthood was the only way I got tested that year. And when my results came back abnormal, it was Planned Parenthood doctors who performed the biopsy to make sure I didn't have cervical cancer at 22. If not for them, I literally could have died. When I moved to NYC and was basically jobless and completely broke, Planned Parenthood helped me with screenings, having tests and check-ups done and, yes, free birth control. I used it for just under a year, until I was employed. I didn't have an abortion. Planned Parenthood provides more than that. The idea that Romney would take away something that is so beneficial to so many, simply because they do something that he doesn't like, without any regard for the right to choose that women have earned (and deserve), shows the type of dictatorship he's looking to run. He wants to repeal Obamacare. Sorry, but this I don't understand. No denial for kids with pre-existing conditions? Free birth control? By the way... easier access to birth control MIGHT cut down on the number of abortions that you hate so much, Mr. Romney.
Hold the phone. Fewer Pell Grants? Higher interest rates on student loans? I guess things like expensive schooling don't matter as much when you have so much untaxed money lying around. Who needs kids in this country going and getting educated? Especially the lower class kids, right Romney? They get educated and suddenly your attempts to keep them down are in jeopardy! No wonder you are in favor of Paul Ryan!
And then this happened.
*Connie throws her hands up in the air and exits stage left.*
Here's the thing. My decision for the election is not being made on one hot button issue. It's being made on several issues that are extremely important to me and my life, as well as my moral and ethical code. Can I stand here and say that Obama is perfect? No, definitely not. Do I think there might be someone out there that can do better? I surely do. But it sure as hell isn't Mitt Romney. Or anyone that seems to be representing the Republican party right now.
I'm not scared anymore, I'm angry. There is a very real chance that Americans will vote to have my rights stripped away from me. My right to choose (that's right, choose. Either CHOOSE to have an abortion or CHOOSE not to have an abortion. CHOOSE.). My right to make medical decisions. My right to have a baby on my own if that's what I decide. My ability to educate myself and still be able to stand on my own two feet, rather than being buried in debt. And it will be because they voted for two men who seem to believe that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Or if the women are liberals who decided to join the work force, they certainly shouldn't expect to make the same amount of money as their male counterparts. And just never-you-mind about how he became one of the financial elite. I'm sure it wasn't one of YOUR family members that Bain Capital put out of business. I'm sure it wasn't your father's job that was sent to China, only to leave your family without a way to put food on the table, or keep a decent roof over your head, or pay for health insurance. And by all means, ignore the fact that the man currently in office has made all of that possible for the struggling middle and working class who are bearing the brunt of this Great Recession. The ones who don't get foreign tax credits, or have millions of dollars in tax havens to cushion this "uncomfortable" time.
So I vote for the slow and steady guy we have in office. That's where my vote's going. The guy who has made improvements, although perhaps not in the leaps and bounds he had hoped. The guy that supports me, and women like me. The guy who supports students. The one who believes it isn't right for hard working families to struggle to put food on the table while their neighbors own 7 homes (or too many homes to remember, right Mr. Cheney?). He believes in something better. He believes in playing by the same rules. Although perhaps unattainable. I'm voting for the guy who believes in a more humble, helpful America. Someone who wants us to be better, even if it takes a while, rather than to regress.