Tuesday, November 6, 2012

vote 2012

I've been part of many political discussions, debates, and arguments throughout my life. I remember an elementary school teacher hosting a mock election in 1996 and I wanted to vote for Bob Dole because I didn't like Bill Clinton's hair. I was nine-years-old and knew nothing about politics.

During the Bush presidency I was not old enough to vote, but when his second term came into question I was avid about John Kerry not taking office - even at seventeen I realized that whoever took office after Bush was going to walk into a mess, one that they would take the fall for repeatedly, even if it wasn't their fault. No, I wanted Bush to stay in office and attempt to repair the damage he had done... which did not happen.

During the 2008 presidential election I invested a lot of time, energy, and effort into educating myself about the candidates from both parties. I remember slowly eliminating Republican candidates and then weeding the Democrats down to the two most viable candidates - Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I was fresh out of college with plenty of student loan debt and a lot of uncertainty about my career. After all, I had a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and I was working at a daycare. I was hopeful for change, and after much debate and research I sided with the candidate who I thought had the ability to provide that not for me, but for our country.

I proudly voted for President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, and today I proudly voted to re-elect him in 2012.

I understand that some people feel as though he didn't complete all the goals he set for himself, but those same people need to stop pretending that he didn't try. Congress has created many problems during the Obama presidency, both on the Republican and Democratic sides and it makes me sick to know that these elected officials turned Capitol Hill into a circus - they've stopped trying to do what's best for the people and rather take their opportunities to try and get in jabs at each other, undermining the entire democratic system.

The fact is, no person, man or woman, no Republican or Democrat or Independent was going to repair this country in four years, that job may take more than eight years, more than twelve, more than sixteen. Let's be honest - it is very easy to sink into debt and much harder to climb back out of it. I don't mind using myself as a prime example: I took out minimal student loans over the course of three years at my university - just under $19,000 - and now, after interest charges, even after paying what I can each month, my loans are still accumulating - over $25,000 now. My parents aren't loaded, I can't just borrow money or expect them to financially support me, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have went to college and I don't feel like it should mean that for anyone else. I voted for President Obama because I think every person in this country deserves an education if they choose to pursue one.

I voted for President Obama because I believe in equal rights. I don't care if you're gay, straight, transsexual  transgendered  black, white, brown, or anything in between - you are a human and everyone should have equal rights, period. I want my LGBT friends to be allowed the same rights that I have, and I want couples to be able to celebrate their love without others telling them it's wrong or illegal. Civil unions are not good enough.

I voted for President Obama because I believe in women's rights including equal pay for women, the right to choose, and access to contraceptives. If we work as hard as men, doing the same job, we deserve the same pay. If a woman believes that abortion is a choice she has to make, she should be be able to access the appropriate healthcare. If women want to prevent pregnancy and decrease the number of abortions there is no reason why contraceptives should not be accessible.

I voted for President Obama because I believe that everyone should have access to healthcare. Universal healthcare is far from being perfect in this country, but it has to start somewhere and I think we are finally on the right track.

I voted for President Obama because not only has he improved the economy, but economists have agreed that it will continue to improve if his policies and plans stay on track. He deserves to keep working and moving our country forward.

There are multitude of other reasons that I voted to re-elect President Obama, but these issues were important to me. So many people focus on fiscal issues and overlook social issues, but in my life people come before bank accounts. You have to care about people first, unrest will always unravel a society.

I'm not trying to hop on a soap box and tell anyone else what to do. I actually held this post until polling stations closed in my area. I did want to record my thoughts though for this Presidential election. I may have been at a different place in my life four years ago, but I am still looking to the future and I confidently voted for the person that I feel like is interested in progress not only for my life, but for our nation. I was proud to call Barack Obama my President in 2008 and I hope that I will still be calling him my President in 2012.

One question has been coming up this election season: Are you better off now then you were four years ago? I can honestly say that I am. No, I'm not well off by any means, but I have a better job at a company that is growing rapidly. I can finally afford health, vision, and dental insurance for the first time in my life. I bought a car. I am paying for my braces 100% out of pocket. I am finally financially stable enough to pay on my student loans. And a little closer to home, I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm going to be able to afford Christmas gifts for my little siblings.

Looking ahead: I'm already anticipating 2015 to be a long year - there are going to be a lot of people to research, to read about, interviews to watch, and debates to tune into, but I will always appreciate that I live in a country where I am afforded the opportunity to vote and I will continue to be informed.


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