Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I voted for Obama

I don't have the time to give all the facts, so I'm afraid this will be more of a gut-reaction post than any kind of well-reasoned argument.  Frankly, I've done the research but I don't save it.  The conclusions I've made are for my own benefit alone and no one else's.

Everyone who regularly reads my ramblings knows that I'm a liberal.  Since money has never been a huge motivator for me, the notion of losing some of my earnings to the government has never been a major source of objection, especially when that money goes to things like caring for those who are far needier and in a more desperate situation than my own.  With that said, I also realize there needs to be a pragmatic balance.  Adding more and more debt to our nation is not a viable solution, and we do need to tighten our belts and cut spending while we try to pay back this horrible deficit.  I can appreciate this kind of fiscal conservatism, and while I generally don't have any kind of affiliation that would drive me to vote for it, I feel it is a necessary part of our government, and one that the democrats are ignoring.  The problem is that the republicans seem to be playing this notion a good deal of lip service, but the policies they've proposed and enacted do not serve this goal.  For me, part of this "belt tightening" means that those who can afford to give more should give more, to help us fund programs like education, science, and public services while we're cutting what we can afford to in order to get our budget balanced.  Tax cuts for the wealthy do not work, and Romney has not given me an alternative to this Republican ideal.

The bottom line on economic issues is this: I do not have faith in Romney's ability to do any better than Obama has done.  Has Obama done an amazing job?  I wouldn't go that far.  I would say he's done a reasonable job with what he was given, and that recovery from recessions and depressions takes time.  The great depression lasted a decade or more (depending on the region).  This recession has been around for a little over four years.  I understand that this isn't the kind of PR political slogan to go for, but it's true.  I personally believe that Obama prevented this recession from being far worse than it ultimately was, but as we cannot see alternate timelines, there's no way for us to really know.  In either case, the economy is not entirely reliant upon one man, and whether Romney or Obama holds the office, the economy will eventually recover.  That or the world economy will collapse and we'll live in a post-apocalyptic society where cheese becomes the new universal currency...but I'm placing my bets on the recovery of our economy.

So this means I will safely ignore our economy as an issue.  Romney had six months to convince me he could fix our economy, and he failed (for me).

That leaves other issues that do matter for me.  While I am neither gay nor a woman, the rights of both these groups are important to me because I do not want to live in a society where people are treated as second class citizens by their own government because of who they are.  Even though I'm leaving college, there are rumblings among the administration of significant tuition hikes for students in the coming years if Romney were elected vs Obama's plans.  Science funding is threatening to be cut in a world where already only 1 out of 10 grants is funded, meaning a significant amount of valuable research simply cannot be done.  As a budding scientist, this is a major threat to my livelihood.  And finally, as an atheist, I find it difficult to even considering voting for a man who does not view this country as a secular nation, which keeps religion and government separate.  Obama may not be perfect in this field either, but he's reasonable.

I'm not voting for the lesser of two evils.  I'm voting for the better of two choices.  It would be great to have a magic idealistic candidate who would be able to do and stand for all the things I would want, but that kind of candidate doesn't exist.  Obama's not perfect, but he's reasonable, and my stance on issues closely mirrors his.  He's done a reasonable-but-not-perfect job over the last four years and I don't see any reason not to give him another four.

So I voted for Obama.  Clearly it's a bit late to argue me out of that choice, but if you'd like to discuss the matter, as always do it with civility.  Understand also that I know I did not offer any statistics or data, nor do I plan to.  This was for me, to get the rubbish of this election and it's horrible mudslinging by both parties off my chest.  It matters to me that Obama wins, but it matters more to me that you vote for the candidate that you truly feel will do the best for this country.  Don't let anyone bully your vote.