Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Holding My Nose As I Pull The Lever

     I prefer not to use Facebook for politics, so I'm posting this here on my old blog. I'm pretty much a moderate, leaning left and right on various issues. I heartily voted for Obama in 08 and like so many had high hopes after eight years of the Bush administration. Four years later with Obama vs Romney, I'm holding my nose as I vote.  So why write this? My reasons for not voting for Romney are of extreme importance to me and seem logical, too, yet I know several people voting for him and I'm perplexed. I don't know if they (or anyone for that matter!) will read this but perhaps I might convince them otherwise. I tried to write this mainly in terms of what is for many THE crucial issue, the economy, and some historical perspective (past and future).

     Before I get into why I cannot bring myself to vote for Romney, I'd like to point out a few of my disappointments with Obama in no particular order. 
     The Patriot Act appears to have been a useful tool in protecting us. I think that the Obama of 08 would've wanted some aspects of it revisited, like accessing peoples bank records and personal info without a judge's permission, or the "lone wolf" part of it, too. I don't think it should've been repealed, but the carte blanche aspect of looking into "suspicious" people is troubling. History shows that one aspect of a governmental seeking more power is accessing and accumulating personal information on its citizens which can be used or twisted as means to an end. We have a system in place to prevent abuses of this power, that is getting permission from a judge for wiretaps etc, that need to be brought back into the equation somehow.
     Guantanamo wasn't closed and people have been held for 10 years or so. I don't think they should just be released, but due process and right to trial is part of the foundation of this nation. Give them a trial, convict if guilty, but indefinite imprisonment without trial is wrong. (As an aside, how would we feel if Cuba had a military base in, say, Florida?)
     John Boehner's statement in Congress that the Republicans' goal was to see Obama not get re-elected was treasonous. In my opinion, that strategy says that regardless of the legislation, regardless of its helping the economy and Americans, regardless of its merits -- the Republicans would not vote for it. They put party before America. Therefore when the Obama administration is criticized for the economy, think about that statement. Every no vote, every obstruction by Eric Cantor and crew, every defeat of Obama and Dem's proposals HAS TO BE suspect. Were the Republicans against the legislation, or simply against everything Obama? Their actions and clear statements lead me to believe the latter. Shameful politicking at our expense. Now, that being said, I cringed nearly everytime Obama spoke about an issue and promised "initiatives" or "investing in the future" or similar words because that all meant more spending. As valuable as spending is in many cases, at some point everybody needs to take a hit if we want to reel in the deficit. (Another aside: the immense debt we have to China is like a piano hanging by a wire over us, but too complex to get into now).
     I wish Obama could be more succinct, more concrete, and sometimes just call something for what it is. I love that he's so intelligent and educated, but in politics and life there are times where you need to cut to the chase. Not everyone is college educated or adept at the subtleties and gray areas of forming an opinion and yes, there are times when a politician needs to take it down a notch to get their points across so people can understand and get it.

     If my GOP voting friends are worried about the economy, then they need to worry about his relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu . They first met in the late 1970s when they were both working at the Boston Consulting Group. Their alliance is pretty clear already. Also clear is Netanyahu's desire to attack Iran and destroy part or all of its nuclear facilities. Ahmadinejad has said horrible things about Israel, no question. But to dismiss him as crazy is foolish, too. Not all of his rhetoric is wacky, but that's all the press covers. Anyway-- historically, the biggest drain on any nation is war. We all know how the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have debilitated our economy, and I believe that if Romney is elected, within 2 years or so we will be dragged into a war with Israel vs Iran. Do some research into the Iran/Iraq war. The stories of Iran's tactics, kamikaze-like self-sacrifice, and viciousness are unreal. The comparison to WWII Japanese tactics is not far off, and I don't know if we're prepared for another conflict like that. As far as the economy, getting dragged into another large war in the mid-east would be devastating. To bring it to a more human level, would you want your son/daughter fighting Iran? what about the inevitable bombings at our airports, NY, etc? Do you really think Iran wouldn't do those things to us? If you're voting for Romney based on the economy, you must factor an Israel/Iran conflict and our inevitable involvement into the equation.
     On social issues, the Republicans fail, and Romney has flip-flopped. If your daughter is raped and impregnated by a rapist, I believe she should have the choice to abort it or not. The Republican platform wouldn't allow this. As a matter of fact, there is a movement to classify an embryo as a living person which would mean abortion could then considered a prosecutable murder.
     There has been an avalanche of ridiculous claims and statements about rape. Rape is rape. Whether or not it's God's will, it is still rape. The foolish claims about women's biology and rape are laughable if the ignorance wasn't so scary. I also ask my friends if they know that the bulk of Planned Parenthood's activities are cancer screenings and helping women who cannot afford therapists, lawyers or insurance? Yet Romney wants to basically do away with it. I worked weekly at Covenant House in NY for two years. I had many young women tell me stories of abuse, neglect and rape. I saw first hand the tough life of unwanted children. If these homeless, abused, messed up (and soemtimes addicted) 15 yr old girls are forced to have a baby, what about that baby? How good a life will it have? Will it be cared for and nurtured properly? I highly doubt it.
     As for being anti-Obamacare, I don't pretend to fully grasp it. I don't think most politicians do! 5 years ago I had open-heart surgery. This is a pre-existing condition now and at some point the likelihood of having more done is probable. My bills were north of 100k and my insurance covered most of it. If I had to get new insurance without Obamacare, I can be denied coverage by all the insurance companies. I'd be screwed.
     And with college grads having such a tough time finding work, "boomerang kids", and so many jobs not offering health insurance, is it so bad for parents to be able to keep their kids on their coverage til age 26? I think that's a good thing. Obamacare is not perfect but it's a step in the right direction. Perhaps if Obama's re-elected and the Republicans' non re-election agenda is moot, they can put their energy into a bi-partisan committee to work out its kinks. Alot of people I know cannot afford insurance and as a result when they get sick they go to the emergency room. Do the math of how much money will be saved if people can go to a doctor rather than an emergency room, if you are really concerned about the economy.

     As a businessman, I was intrigued by the idea of a businessman in office especially one with experience as a governor. But I can't ignore the downsizing and outsourcing of Bain Capital's practices or Romney's despicable 47% comment. He said that. It's on tape. He said it to a room of rich donors. Did any of you hear his off the cuff remarks about cleaning up a football field and comparing it to the Hurricane Sandy cleanup?? As many good things as he's done for people (service to community is a wonderful part of his Mormon faith) I think it's pretty undeniable that he's out of touch and pretty unsympathetic to the plight of most people not in his demographic. Some of you might interpret that as me being a drum-circle pounding 99% protestor, which I'm not...I truly feel I'm being objective in that assessment of Romney.

In conclusion:
• Both Romney and Obama are guilty of taking money from controversial groups, tweeking facts, outright untruths, and all sorts of political bullshit.
• As for the economy, I think it's six of one, half dozen of the other. Obama spends too much, Romney will pave the way for rich get richer legislation and possible war.
• Socially, Romney loses. And I think alot of his and the Republicans' social issue stances will negatively affect the economy in the long run.
• One of my brothers is gay. If he wants to get married or adopt or do the same things that I can do, I want him to be able to. The Obama administration has done more for gay rights than any other, and a Romney administration would stop that progress and very likely try to reverse gains already made.
• Shifting the focus from Iraq to Afghanistan helped get Osama Bin Laden and cripple Al Qaeda.
• In 2004 many people voted for Bush because they "didnt want to change horses in mid-stream," the stream being the war and the economy. Why aren't those same people applying that logic to this administration?
• When a president enters a 2nd term, they no longer have to campaign or worry as much about alienating corporations, donors, unions, etc. They have less shackles when it comes to decision making and legislation. That, coupled with the GOP's energy draining goal to have Obama lose could result in bi-partisan cooperation in several key areas.
• Objectively, no one could've dug us out of the hole we were in in 3-4 years. And I cannot deny two big facts: unemployment rates are down (9+% to appr 7.9%) and the stock market is appr 2000 points ahead of what it was when Obama took office. You can if/and/but that all you want as Romney has, but dem's are da facts put out by government agencies. You can't blame Obama when unemployment rates were over 9% using government stats, and then deny those stats when the # goes down.

There are countless facts and nuances that I could not possibly get into here. I'm sure that my friends voting for Romney could trot out counters to what I've written. I merely ask them to pause. Don't just think about what's going on right now, and in your immediate world. Think of the big picture, now and years from now. Think about how many of Romney's and the Republicans' actions will (or could) affect you or your children in the years to come. They will. Maybe not in a year or two, but they will. Women, do you want these Republican men (not all, but geez there alot that think that way) making rules about your body and what you can and cannot do based on religion and sometimes sheer ignorance? If this election is a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils, I'll go with Obama and hope for the best.