(Hopefully) in a few hours this year’s election cycle will be complete.
It’s no surprise to anyone that I am voting to re-elect President Barack Obama, the candidate I supported in 2008 and am proud to stand behind in 2012.
Four years ago I had the privilege of being present in Grant Park in Chicago for the historic election night. I traveled 70 miles south of my then-city of Milwaukee with a group of friends. I’m only still in regular contact with a few of them, but I’m happy that we will always share that very special bond.
I can honestly say I’m not sure I’d be in the place I am today had the country not made such a monumental shift in 2008. It may sound totally cheesy, but the messages of hope and change resonated with me at a deeply personal level and inspired me to completely change my life.
Case in point, since election night 2008:
- I exited a dead-end relationship (with someone I’ll always love as a friend, but was not meant to be with as a partner)
- I lost 60+ pounds and ran five half marathons
- I began to get my personal debt under control
- I branched out of my US/Euro-centric travel comfort zone and have trekked to India twice and heading soon to Vietnam
- I packed up my entire life and moved to my dream city San Francisco, thus achieving a goal since age 10
Not to mention the hundreds of small things that I’ve pushed myself on each day since that inspiring evening of hugging strangers and sobbing in joy.
Why have I been so motivated? Well, because the Obama Administration has fought (often against insurmountable odds — thanks to an increasingly stubborn Republican Party) to move this country forward into the 21st century. I have enjoyed (and tried not to take for granted) a president who:
- Believes in equal pay for equal work
- Believes all Americans have a right to access affordable healthcare
- Believes all Americans have a right to have their love recognized
- Believes that all children in this country have a chance to succeed, regardless of where their parents are from or what neighborhood they are born into
- Believes in investing in non-car based infrastructure to make the country more competitive in the 21st century
- Believes students shouldn’t be saddled with an unreasonable debt load upon, thus preventing them from following their dreams upon graduation (I wouldn’t wish that burden on someone else after personally dealing with it)
- Has made tremendous strides toward ending wars which seemed to have no game plan when he took office
- Has steadied the economy and worked to put in place policies that will disallow the Wall Street abuses during the Bush years
- Believes that women should have control over their own bodies
- Believes that rape is FUCKING RAPE
I’ve wanted to work harder and be a better person these last four years. I’ve wanted to contribute to my community and my country because I have believed for the first time since adolescence that we can do great things here if we work together. Sadly, the last two years have been a mess of the party of “no” refusing everything along the way. I feel for moderate Republicans getting pushed out of their own party. I long for the days of McCain-Feingold partnerships. I truly hope that we’ll swing back in that direction when the president is re-elected and the country calms the heck down.
Will I move to Canada if things don’t turn out the way I want? No, but I will be saddened that I’ll have to put my energies toward protecting things like basic rights instead of being inspired to build greatness and think creatively.
Off to cast my ballot and put faith in my fellow Americans that the majority (however small it is) of you want to think about moving FOWARD TOMORROW instead of making the rest of us put our innovation on hold and keep the country out of the stone age.