Two Paths Diverged.
I can’t help but feel we’re at a crossroads.
This election is big. Bigger, even, then the monumental election of 2008 when President Obama was elected into office. Why do I feel this way? It’s hard to put this in writing, but let me try.
If you’ve been following my blog or the election blog, you’ll know that I focus on the issues. I’m not a major economist or a constitutional law professor; I don’t have that type of experience. But what I do have is a particular set of skills
which make me a nightmare for people like you given to me by countless sleepless nights at university, studying politics. I can study an issue, and I can break it down in a concise but decently comprehensive manner. I use this strength to focus on issue education, because democracy is worthless without an informed, knowledgeable electorate.
In the short time I’ve been a political pundit, this educational path has had me jumping from healthcare to economics, from social issues to campaign finance. I’ve gotten into the habit of running from my job as an spaceship-building engineer to nearby coffeeshops so I can delve into immigration stances and tax cut definitions on my lunch breaks. I’ve pulled my old textbooks off the shelves and patted myself on the back for keeping my class notes in a dusty (in a virtual sense) folder on my old laptop. I’ve emailed old university friends to get their opinion on the debt and the deficit and I’ve mined the dredges of the internet for information. I’ve loved every minute of it.
Over time, this online adventure into the tumultuous political blogosphere made me realize something: this election is, in many ways, a zero sum game. The two candidates have vastly different views, not just on this or that issue, but on the kind of country American should be; on the path into the future this country ought to be on.
President Obama represents diversity, dynamism, and as cliche as it may have become over the past four years, significant change. Immigrants that are “effectively American” should stay as we work out a path to citizenship or at the least, how they can get a license to work. Same-sex couples ought to be equal under the law to different-sex couples. The rich should pay more in taxes, and the poor should be given opportunities to leave their status behind through education and training programs.
Romney proudly represents an America of traditional values, of hard working citizens working themselves up from little or nothing to achieve the great American dream. If you play by the rules, work hard, take care of your neighbors, and believe in yourself and God, there isn’t anything you can’t attain. By that mindset, illegal immigrants are illegal, and ought to leave the country. Marriage is between a man and a woman; that’s the way it’s been, and the way it should always be. The states should handle their own citizen; government ought to be smaller and only step in where it needs to. Everyone has opportunity in this country if you squander it, the fault lies with you.
I am not saying one path is utopian and the other dystopian, I’m simply saying they’re different. Neither is perfect, just as neither candidate is perfect. But please, step outside the partisan boxes we all shove ourselves into and ask yourself this: what kind of place do you want this country to be? What kind of ideals and values do you want this country to represent?
I know other people will have a different answer to this question, and it may be a low blow to get partisan again after just asking readers to set aside that framework, but let me answer that question for myself. I’ve lived on both sides of the country and skipped about a good deal in between. I’ve worked extensively with children and adults from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. I’ve met all sorts of people from all over the country and the world. I want all of them to feel accepted and welcomed in this country.
And so I chose to vote for President Obama this coming election. He is far from perfect in my eyes: Guantanamo remains open, American citizens can be indefinitely detained, and it’d be great if the economy were recovering faster. Still, he represents inclusion, while his rival dominates exclusion. Regardless of the choice their parents made, children that have been in this country longer than they can remember ought to be set on a path to citizenship. Those who find themselves romantically attracted to their own gender should have the same rights and dignity under the law as those attracted to the opposite. Two men’s personal religious conviction should not dominate whether any woman in the country can get an abortion if she feels that is the correct choice for her life. And finally, if we truly want this country to be a land of opportunity for all, then we desperately need robust funding for education and social services to the poor and middle class.
I weighed my priorities, I studied the candidates, and I made my choice. While I won’t fault anyone for doing the same and reaching a different conclusion, I have a hell of a hard time understanding how you do.
109 Notes/ Hide
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- itsprobablyfake said: Well said. I’ve always felt that the whole inclusivity/exclusivity that defines each party has often been a guiding light as I look to what I want out of this country. I, too, will be voting for Obama.
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