I hope everyone will soon understand that I am writing the following out of love. There’s been plenty of anger shouted in capital letters in political conversation for many months, and there are many people who enjoy doing that more than I do. I’m going to go with plain old sincerity.
I wanted to contribute my complete political position just this once, because even though I tend to believe that one’s politics and spirituality are two things best kept private, I feel that mine is a rarely-voiced point of view worth finally making fully public. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind overnight, or ever, really, but I have to believe these are thoughts worth spreading.
I would like my friends who agree with me — and especially those who disagree with me — to understand why I support Barack Obama’s presidency. I’m not trying to start a fight. I just want the good people – and many of you are very good people – who are about to vote against Barack Obama to know what is on the line for me specifically.
I have always cherished the fact that I cultivate friendships across political, social, and spiritual lines, and I never want that to change. But to me, this election is particularly important. I mean it’s personally important. And before you vote tomorrow, I just want you to know why.
The following bullet points are five major reasons why I support Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. They’re not in order but if you are pressed for time, please skip down to the fifth one.
1. Under the Obama administration, American soldiers were brought home from Iraq.
I hope my Republican friends understand that they are not the only ones who admire, support, and revere our troops. I’m right there with you. My favorite uncle fought in World War II. He wasn’t drafted. He chose to go. He wanted to fight the Nazis, and he did. I have several other family members and close family friends who have served. This makes me immeasurably proud, and it makes me proud of everyone brave enough to fight for our country.
This is exactly why I do not want any American soldiers in harm’s way if it isn’t absolutely necessary. After 9/11, I supported the idea of going into Afghanistan. I understood why it was necessary. However, the military presence sent into Iraq was not necessary. History has already proven this to be a fact. The Bush administration made a mistake, at best. Regardless of how they got there, I wanted to see our soldiers brought home from Iraq, and that has happened under Barack Obama. I want a President who is considerate and cautious about the monumental decision of putting American soldiers’ lives in danger, which Barack Obama has proven to be.
2. Under the Obama administration, Osama Bin Laden was found and killed.
For eight years, the Bush administration told us that we weren’t safe, not so long as the Al-Qaeda leader who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks was around. You know what? On this matter I absolutely agreed with them.
I remember the morning of 9/11. My father and my sister were driving directly towards the radius of the attack at the time. It’s only a chance of fate that they were running late to work that morning. They watched the planes fly into the towers. They watched the towers go down. I still can’t imagine what kind of effect that sight has had on them. I don’t pretend to. I was in California at the time, watching it on television 3000 miles away and having to wonder for several awful moments whether my father and my sister were anywhere nearby the site of impact.
So don’t ever misunderstand me as so much of a bleeding-heart liberal that I can’t rejoice in the eradication of the man responsible for such an evil act. I’m glad Osama Bin Laden is gone. Now, George Bush promised me that for eight years. He didn’t deliver it. Barack Obama did. And if you doubt that Obama deserves any credit for the raid, and you want to know how it went down, read the meticulously-researched article in Vanity Fair by Mark Bowden, the man who wrote Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo.
To me, the Osama Bin Laden mission alone should be a slam-dunk to earn Barack Obama another four years – especially because George Bush had eight, and he didn’t get the job done – but if you still need more reasons, read on.
3. Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage.
There’s more work to be done on this issue, to be sure. Things won’t be right in this country until we abandon our long history of discrimination and finally achieve legislative equality for all Americans. On a personal note, my gay friends and acquaintances are vibrant, wonderful, loving people, and I see no reason on Earth or beyond it why they shouldn’t have the exact same rights as anyone else. It’s a civil rights issue at this point. It’s just plain right. I’m not going to keep going on this one because I promised I wouldn’t pick a fight, and I’m fully prepared to pin anyone to the mat on this argument.
4. Barack Obama supports a woman’s right to choose. If elected, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to reverse Roe Vs. Wade.
In my eyes, a man has no business telling a woman what to do with her own body. He certainly has no business arguing for legislation that would govern a woman’s body. Bottom line. End of story. Guys, would you want anyone weighing in on whether you should get a vasectomy? Or an adult circumcision, for that matter, to those to whom that might apply?
More importantly: Ladies – and I’m talking to the ladies out there voting Republican – how can you possibly reconcile this way of thinking? I’m genuinely curious. Let’s not even get into the equal-wage conversation. I’m talking about the sanctity of your very person. Any woman who votes for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is by definition voting against her own interests. If you disagree with that statement, you sure as hell better be a woman. I’ll listen to you then. I have so many wonderful, strong, dynamic women in my life that it offends me any time some politician short-changes or insults them in any way. On the matter of women’s rights, Barack Obama strikes me as uncommonly thoughtful.
5. This final one is maybe the biggest reason of all:
Obamacare would dramatically improve my quality of life.
In fact, as far as I can see, there is no one (besides the absurdly wealthy and those who own health insurance companies) who would NOT benefit from Obamacare, and it mystifies me why so many otherwise rational people don’t see that, but all of that aside:
Obamacare stands to change my life for the better. Me. Your friend. Jon Abrams. Jonathan, Jonny A, whatever you call me. My life is directly affected by this election. I don’t talk about this – EVER – but I’m doing it here and now because that’s how important it is to me. Here it is: I have struggled all my adult life with a difficult and painful health condition. It has made my life a secret hell for years. It started right after high school and has plagued me ever since. For a long time, I didn’t even know what I had. I saw a string of bad doctors and specialists who misdiagnosed me several times over. Their attempts to treat me were inadequate, sometimes traumatic, and always embarrassing. Remember that this is all happening to a guy who’s not exactly starting out with the world’s highest self-esteem. It has been devastating. It has cast a shadow over everything in my life – my ambitions, my state of mind, my personal life. Most people take intimacy for granted. For me it is a secret shame, a reasonable fear, an irrational fear, a discomfort, a source of rarely-abated isolation. You might not ever know it, to look at me. My few loved ones who I have confided in, up to this point, have universally reacted with the words, “That explains EVERYTHING.” But it’s not a thing I’ve ever been much willing to talk about, and that’s the insidious nature of some diseases — the mental can be as much of a hurdle as the physical.
But make no mistake: The physical is an issue. Most of the time you see me, I am in pain. Usually it’s minor discomfort, but there are times when it’s excruciating. I am fully aware that things will only get harder as I get older. You’d better believe that affects my daily mood and emotional outlook.
The good news: I am finally at a point where I have found the proper diagnosis, doctors who can help me, and an effective treatment that has put me far closer than ever before to remission. But THAT COMES AT A COST. I have been on all sorts of insurance plans throughout this experience and none of them are willing to consider pre-existing conditions to be coverable in any significant way. The treatments are expensive. The doctor visits are expensive. The medications are expensive. The COMMUTE is expensive. This is in addition to all the normal bills that all of us have – phone bills, credit card payments, auto insurance, car maintenance, transportation, food – it’s ravaged my own finances, and those of my family. And I know that there I’m one of the lucky ones – I have a family who loves me enough to help me out whenever they can.
The bottom line is that Obamacare promises affordable health insurance for people like me. Obamacare won’t discriminate against us just because we have a pre-existing condition. If you’ve met me, you know I’m not some lazy jerk who just wants to sit on my ass collecting benefits. I work hard. I’m willing to work hard. I have worked hard at every job I’ve ever gotten. I don’t appreciate Mitt Romney suggesting otherwise. My condition might slow me down sometimes and it has certainly affected my state of mind, but I’m still willing, ready, and able to do my share. I always have.
Despite what the current insurance industry seems to believe, I should not be punished for my condition. I was born this way. I didn’t ask for it. I don’t think I would wish it on my worst enemy. I sure wouldn’t want any of my friends to go through what I have. We’ve all got problems, sure, but not all of us have bodies that rebel against us on a daily basis. There are people that have it plenty worse than me, and the idea of that kills me. We should all care about each other and do what we can to help each other. That’s what defines good people, isn’t it?
I’m not writing this for sympathy. I’m writing this with purpose. Here’s what I believe: I’m not even close to being done doing the good work I was put on this planet to do, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little relief from my mountain of medical bills. Does anybody truly think our health care system isn’t in need of reform? What issue could possibly be any more important to our lives than our physical health?
President Obama has presented a reasonable solution which he has shown every indication of making good on. Mitt Romney has not. And believe it or not, I’ve been listening very closely. If I thought at this point that Mitt Romney was determined to help decent people who are in a tough place who just want to get out from under and go be great, I’d vote for him. But it doesn’t look that way. Like his supporters say, he’s a businessman. Businessmen aren’t the ones who care about people who aren’t doing as well as they are. “Community organizers”, that much- and unfairly-derided group, do. I feel strongly that Barack Obama makes more thoughtful promises, and that he already has a track record of keeping them.
If you have read all of the above and you feel you have better reasons than me to vote for your candidate, then please go ahead. That’s the democratic system that makes our country great. But too many people cling to party allegiances without keeping an open mind. Please don’t blindly vote for the uniform. Be sure you’re voting for the man.
I’ve given what I obviously believe to be strong and important reasons why I will be voting for Barack Obama. Is Barack Obama a perfect candidate? No. Does he deserve four more years to work to get closer to perfect? I believe he does. Is he a stronger, more consistent, and more constructive candidate than Mitt Romney? Absolutely. Again, I’m not trying to pick a fight here. I want what’s best for my country, and yes, I want what’s best for me, so that I can fulfill my destiny and be my best use to the world.
If you’ve ever cared even a little about me or anything I’ve said or written, please do me the favor of reflecting on my words for just a moment. Then go ahead and vote. This one matters.