I’m sick and tired of being accused by every knee-jerk “conservative” that we Obama supporters are only voting for him because he’s black, or because we like socialism, or because we just want “change,” but we don’t care what that change entails. Get this straight: we know exactly what kind of change we are voting for, and it is nothing more or less than the same progressive principles that have served our country well for over a century.
I am voting for health care. It is all well and good to say that we should provide for ourselves, but when even routine care becomes ruinously expensive, when people are regularly denied coverage for the tiniest reasons, that is no longer a tenable position. Why should my life savings and home and everything else I have worked for be wiped out in the face of a terrible illness or injury just because I couldn’t get a job with health insurance? McCain’s plan to force everyone into the sort of non-group health plans that are the most expensive and least comprehensive by taxing those of us lucky enough to have employer-provided group coverage, and then making it possible for insurers to cherry-pick even more by undercutting states’ ability to regulate coverage is not the right answer. Obama’s plan to create new plans to compete with private insurers and end the discrimination in non-group plans will do far more to cover those who can’t afford insurance now. As someone who has lost their health insurance before, I can tell you what a scary thing it can be, especially when you have pre-existing conditions that prevent you from getting good coverage.
I am voting for steady economic leadership, the kind which does not weave back and forth like a drunken sailor from “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” to “we are in the greatest economic crisis in generations” in the course of several hours. The kind of leadership that listens to the experts and acts in sensible ways, not out of some ideologically-based fantasy of trickle-down economics. I do not believe in giving the super-wealthy more and more and begging for their table scraps. The workers that produce America’s wealth deserve a fair share, and the government has failed to be an advocate for them for a long time. Democratic leadership in economic matters is proven, from job growth (keep in mind, that graph is from June, before 150,000 jobs were wiped out in just a few months’ time) to stock performance, to overall GDP growth. We have a very steep climb ahead of us to get out of this economic crisis, and I will place my bets on the man whose party has a proven track record of economic growth.
I am voting for a progressive tax structure, where those who reap the benefits of the economy have an obligation to shoulder more of the burden than those who are not so fortunate. It is not about punishing hard work – rather, it is about giving everyone a chance to succeed, instead of imposing the burdens of heavy taxes on top of those of feeding, clothing, and sheltering yourself and your family. I recognize that where you end up in life has a lot to do with where you start, so perhaps those who are “winning” at the game of life should be called upon to share from their prosperity instead of being permitted to hoard it. America is not an aristocracy with entrenched social classes, and a progressive tax code has gone a long way toward protecting it from becoming one. I prefer the candidate who recognizes that tax increases on a few are necessary for the good of all over the one who recklessly advocates further tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the face of massive deficits.
I am voting for foreign policy that isn’t based exclusively on the use of our military might. I recognize that the threat of force is not the only diplomatic tool available to us. I believe that war should be the option of last resort, not the first instinct. I will vote for the candidate who favors dialogue and negotiation over the one who jokes about bombing Iran and rattles his saber at Russia. We live in a multi-polar world now, and the sooner we have a President who recognizes that fact, the sooner we can find a way to maintain American power and influence for the good of our own people and the people of the world.
That is why I am voting for Barack Obama – because of concrete policy positions and because he is temperamentally better suited to the office. It’s not because I just hate Bush. So stick that in your “conservative” pipe and smoke it.