Get Out The Vote

Today is Election Day in the United States of America.

Today 100 million Americans may turn out to cast their ballot for the President of the United States. In addition to the presidential election, millions of ballots will be cast for the United States Senate and House of Representatives, for state legislatures and gubernatorial races, and for local and municipal government.

Today is a politics junkies dream.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans will chose not to participate in the democratic process today. For some it will be because they could not get the time away from work or life to stand in line for hours on end. For others the choice to stay away will be driven by apathy or the belief that none of this really matters anyway. Some voters think that the two primary candidates don’t really represent them. Others think that a vote for a third party candidate is just a waste.

All I can say to the millions of people who will willingly walk away from the 2012 Election is this: please vote.

So you think neither candidate is really on your side? Okay, well which candidate would you least like to see in the White House? That may seem depressing but it is a very real circumstance of the American system. We have an electoral system that, as it is currently constituted, mathematically reduces itself to only two primary presidential political parties. It sucks, but it’s what we have. So who is worse for the country, the Republican or the Democrat? Okay, go vote against that candidate.

Full disclosure, I was an Obama voter in 2008 and will vote again for President Obama in 2012. I am not a Democratic partisan. I am not in love with the “hopey changey thing” that he once personified. I just recognize the disaster that a Romney presidency would guarantee.

President Obama bailed out the banks and expanded drone warfare. Okay, that is terrible but it is also hardly something that the Republicans are going to reel in. If there is one thing we have learned from the Republican Party it is that they don’t exactly mind extending the powers of the Executive Branch.

The president championed the signature conservative health reform of the 20th century – the individual insurance mandate – rather than putting his weight behind the so-called “public option”, which would have created universal health insurance and immediately cut medical costs. Okay, not exactly the progressive champion we thought we were voting for in 2008 but what would the Republicans do differently? They added 217 amendments to Obamacare and the entire piece of legislation was built on the model of Mitt Romney’s health insurance reform in Massachusetts.

The “individual mandate” that Republicans screamed bloody murder about for three years was drawn up by the Heritage Foundation in the 1970s. It was the brainchild of Nixon-era conservatives who were looking for a way to both increase coverage to people (back when conservatives actually cared about the well being of non-fetuses) and create more profit for corporations (they were conservatives, after all).

Am I happy that our once progressive stalwart has turned into Ronald Reagan? Hell no. Am I willing to vote for theocracy in its place? Hell no.

I’ve taken the time to highlight a few things that President Obama has done that I disagreed with, and I could go on and on. That’s what happens when you hold office. You make decisions that people will disagree with

The question that I have to consider today is the same question that every American must consider. Who is the best choice for President of the United States?

I am not 100 percent pleased with Barack Obama, but at the same time the Republican ticket makes me sick. They want to throw seniors out on the street, cut deeply into the social programs that serve the very poor, leave students out in the cold, bring the for-profit banks back into the middle of the student loan process, expand the drug war, the border war, and the wars in the Middle East while boosting a defense budget that even the Pentagon wants to see trimmed to size.

They want to put the super rich back in the driver’s seat of this economy, as if the super rich have ever sweat it out trying to make rent or find work. They want to shrink down the government to just the right size to fit up inside a woman’s body.

Even if you have no reason to know who you are voting for on Election Day, you ought to know who you should be voting against. Republicans don’t want you to vote, as evidenced by the rampant voter suppression initiatives that are unique to Republican state governments. Republicans don’t want you to learn, as evidenced by their persistent attacks on the programs that create teachers who in turn create the employees of tomorrow.

The end game of the Republican agenda is to unravel the Enlightenment and reinstitute feudalism and theocracy. The end game of the “gay agenda”, by comparison, is that American adults can marry the person they love.

Which side of history do you want to be on?



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