Today is the big day, and I would like to say something to all my friends, family and readers that have the privilege of voting in the 2012 Presidential Election, either for the Democratic incumbent Barack Obama, or the his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
First of all vote, you must. For the past year or more, many states and forces (mostly from the Republican party) have wanted Americans to think of voting as a privilege and not a right, by springing all kinds of obstacles against early voting, minorities, old and young. We aren’t talking about some conspiracy theory that has been floating around the Internet, but about real and obvious attempts by Republican state administrations to limit Democratic leaning voters from getting to the polls, either early or on Election Day, and they have been called out as flagrant attempts of voter suppression by Bill Clinton and even John McCain’s former campaign manager.
This is something that I have been amazed at, not so much the tactics, but the fact that Americans have a system that, for all it’s faults (like the horrible ways in which ballots are worded) allows them to vote before election day, either by absentee or in-person voting, abroad, by mail or even register and vote the very same day. It is a very inclusive system that puts trust in its citizens before anything else, and gives them a voice. So, on the subject of simply making your voice heard, don’t take this opportunity for granted and vote.
Second of all, I would simply like to say that I believe strongly that giving Barack Obama a second term is essential in moving forward towards a more stable country and world in this coming 21st century. With the global economy and changing balance of power internationally, we need somebody that knows how to administer change with a steady hand and not be a strong reactionary, like I fear his Republican opponent is. Somebody that does not block changes or ignores reality or science. Barack Obama is a conservative in many aspects, something that I have always admired in him, and that blogger and writer Andrew Sullivan has for years elegantly lain out.
He seeks change, but only slowly by believing strongly in preserving many of what makes society truly stable, like marriage rights for all, a strong middle class, preserving our environment and doing all we can to evade war and terrorism, but maintaining peace. He has shown this throughout the last 4 years, making quick hard decisions when needed, and steady thoughtful ones when time allowed it. In the tiny window of a Democratic majority in Congress (although with fierce Republican obstruction), President Obama became the most productive president since LBJ in regards to legislation passed, which of course included Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation bill, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, ending the War in Iraq and drawing down in Afghanistan.
And of course, his achievements as Commander-in-Chief, from Osama bin Laden to Libya. He deserves four more years.
But, more importantly, should he fail and only become a one-term president, the entire hope of a generation could well be diminished for years to come, and the cynicism of Republicans and Mitt Romney would have won, making sure that flip-flopping, race bating and favors to the wealthy endure for the coming decade or more. Many people had high hopes for Obama, and for his legacy to be reversed by a Republican president, will be not just disappointing, but sad in a way.
I’m very nervous writing this at the moment, seeing the coverage just before polls close, but my final message is to vote, while you still can and simply try to make the next four years one of hope, and not of cynicism.
Jose Luis Sanchez Macias is a Communications major from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California university. He has been part of the iDigital Creative Studio team in the city of Tijuana, as a Marketing Analyst and writing for some productions, as well as a collaborator on the first public television channel in the city, tvTijuana, highlighting his hosting duties in the CocinArte cooking show on the same channel, and general production assistant.
Currently, he works as a Writing and Editing Collaborator and Translator for the Bilingual Business Development Magazine, Business Conexión in Tijuana.