It was after midnight one November night back in 2000. I went to bed happy in that Al Gore- who staunchly supported the environmental reforms I believe in and the balanced budget policies of Bill Clinton—was projected to win the election. It was my first time voting for a presidential candidate. I was really into it; downright euphoric. That feeling didn’t last.
I don’t want to get into a whine-fest, so I’ll make this brutally brief. During Bush’s tenure as our president, I watched as the costs of my student loans went up dramatically, my scholarships were reduced, loan forgiveness for my profession was canceled, the professors who taught my classes took a pay cut due to significantly decreased federal and state spending in higher education, and people I knew and knew of died on September 11, 2001—due, in part, to the administration’s refusal to take heed of the warnings of the prior president. That was all in his first year.
Our entire adult life was difficult under Bush, with layoff after layoff, but in 2008, we witnessed the complete economic downfall of our family. My husband closed his business right before the recession hit, thankfully, but we lost his breadwinner’s income. He was unemployed for 18 months. We had to short sale our house-- after losing about $40,000 in equity on our 30-year fixed, FHA backed loan (not a sub-prime) when the real estate bubble burst. I lost the entirety of my meager retirement.
There wasn’t a single member of our extended family who wasn’t impacted. I can’t even count the people who lost jobs or took huge pay cuts or had to restructure their mortgage.
In 2009, things started to get slightly better. We moved, I got a better job with more room for growth, and J got a job, and then two promotions. We worked hard to reduce our bills, significantly. People we knew started to get some employment and some assistance. 2010 was better. 2011 was even better than that. Now, in 2012, we’re past hurting. We’re saving for another house, paying double payments on what debt remains—now controlled by federal laws which protect me from being further ripped off -- and are making more money than we ever have. I have a pension again. My children don’t have to window shop at the grocery store. J and I can go out on a date, if we wish.
To top it off, there’s healthcare. Healthcare for the niece who reached her lifetime maximum in the NICU before she was six months old. Healthcare for my son, who now has a pre-existing condition. Healthcare for my friend who was fired from her job while pregnant. We all worked, we all carried insurance—yes, we’re part of the scummy, lowlife, 47%.
There’s a man in office now that when we have a natural disaster does not wait for FOUR DAYS before deploying FEMA to come to our citizens’ aid.
The man in office brought home so many people I’ve known who served in the Armed Forces, and continues to do so. Men and women who had done three and four tours in our nation’s longest war.
This man declared his belief that the friends J and I have who are gay had the same rights to serve in the military, marry, and raise children as the rest of us do.
This man ignores the debate about the moment life begins (the Bible tells us that, anyways) and ensures I get paid an equal wage for equal work—something my mother fought for since before I was born. I was raised by a feminist. I know that “the political is personal,” and vice-versa.
And so I MUST vote for the President who provided me with my first real sense of security in my adult life. I want to continue to move forward. I want those who have not progressed as quickly as J and I have to move forward as well. I want everyone to move forward—rich people, poor people, purple people, liberal people, conservative people. I feel as if being a spiritual person requires me to place the needs of others above myself, to help whenever asked; no matter the circumstances, no matter if I agree with the person or not. The only person I can see doing that for all of us in this race is Barak Obama.
I do not believe that Mitt Romney will be able to fix the economy, I do not believe that he will keep our troops home, and I do not believe that he will protect my wages, my healthcare, my environment, or my rights as a woman.
So I will vote for Obama. And I hope you will do the same. We all deserve these rights. We all deserve to move forward. I cannot afford to go back. I don’t believe you can afford it, either.