Election Day. Finally, after the months of campaigning, the endless robocalls to ask voters about their decision and the airways clogged with ads for and against Romney and Obama, we are here on the day that will, hopefully, determine America’s leader for the next four years. It is a day long anticipated and the air is tinged with electricity, excitement. Democracy is a powerful ideology in that it – theoretically – provides each citizen with a voice, a chance to express his or her views on who should govern our country. This is no easy feat and one that should never be taken for granted. Casting a ballot is one of the most important acts a citizen can do, and we are fortunate to live in a country that still values individual voice, that still adheres to the tenets of a democracy no matter how messy, lengthy or convoluted the process may be.
This week I spent time on the Obama campaign. I walked for three hours in the chilly evening air to knock on doors and urge people to make their choices for elected officials on November 6. I handed out literature on the voting process, informed people of their polling location and offered rides to those who may have difficulty getting out to vote. I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming most people were to me and that almost everyone (except one rude young couple who said “they didn’t care about voting”) said he/she was planning to vote today. This election is big, perhaps the biggest one in modern history for our country. To me, the presidential election is not just about which man is better for the job. It is really about ideology and the value system we, as Americans, want to support. Call me naive but I think that President Obama’s views on America, its people and its role in the global community are far more civil, equitable and respectful of human life and dignity than those of candidate Romney.
In watching Rachel Maddow’s show last night, I was thankfully reminded of all that Obama has been able to do in the last four years, and almost all of the bills that he signed into law were in an effort to create a fairer community, one where people are equal and not marginalized. Obama’s track record speaks to his values and those of the larger majority: a woman and a man should get equal pay for the same job; a woman should continue to have the right to determine what happens to her own body; the Supreme Court should be composed of diverse judges who represent the ethnic blend that is America; same-sex couples who wish to commit to a legal union should have the right to do so; the US military should welcome all who wish to serve regardless of sexual orientation; America needs to recommit to education and growth at home; our involvement in wars in the middle east must end; our environment is of critical importance and while we need to generate more of our energy in America, we need to do so responsibly by developing cleaner and greener alternatives; we need Obamacare and a system that provides preventative and comprehensive healthcare to all; and lastly we need to support the Dream Act and allow persons of different nationalities to have a path toward citizenship if they chose.
If I look at the course taken by Obama in the past four years, I can see without doubt that his is a vision of a more accepting, tolerant and equal world. These are values I can support. Of course the economy is on everyone’s mind and the Republicans would like to make this election solely about jobs but that is simply one piece in a very complex puzzle. We need to recall that most of the western world has experienced economic hardships in recent years, not just the US. But the country’s economic index is improving and as we see the continued growth of policies put into place by Obama – equal opportunity and pay, the path toward citizenship and participation in communities for immigrants, the expansion of education and the overdue work on America’s infrastructure – we will see job growth and a more robust economy,
I cast my vote today for a man who I respect and admire, one I pray will be given four more years to develop his policies that will help all America prosper. My vote is my voice that wants to build a more equal society, a society that embraces all its citizens no matter their education level, ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s a big world and there’s room for all of us if we dedicate ourselves to being open-minded and tolerant.
These are the things I was thinking about as I stood in line to vote. My line, luckily, was short and I sympathize and respect those who had to endure so much more simply to cast a ballot. It should not be so hard… As Rachel Maddow said, “Voting should not be an act of endurance.” It’s a privilege and a right that should never be taken for granted. I hope turn out at the polls today is historic, and I cannot wait to watch the returns tonight. Mr. President, here’s to four more years.