Why I Voted for Barack Obama in 2008 & Will Again in 2012

Barack ObamaWhen I think about November 6, my biggest fear right now is that President Barack Obama will not be elected to a second term. I still remember the day he was elected with nostalgia and a certain wistfulness for that innocence. I wish I could go back to a time when I thought Obama was going to change everything and make it all right in the world.

I remember election day in 2008. The air was crisp, the sky blue, and my 8-week-old son was strapped to my chest, all decked out in red, white, and blue. Beside me, my husband and our toddler daughter -- her patriotic nails painted for the occasion -- busied themselves with a map of the United States. "This is what we are doing today," he told her. "We are picking our President."

All around us the mood was joy, jubilation. We were in glorious, fall color-laden Massachusetts and the Bush years were behind us. It was a good day.

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Now it's four years later, and like any mom, I measure my life by the changes in my children. My black-haired infant is now a tow-haired preschooler with brown eyes and a ridiculous amount of energy. My toddler daughter is a kindergartner with her first loose tooth. We are all a little older, a little wiser, and a lot more jaded.

But even now, despite some of my disappointment, Obama's passion can still stir a tear. It's not that I think he has performed badly -- quite the contrary, in fact. But I do think he has been beaten, stymied at every turn, and backed into a corner by those who want to see him fail. He may not have changed the whole world in these four years, but what he has done should not -- cannot -- be understated.

Oh, I know you will try. I know all the arguments against Obama because I see them on my Twitter and Facebook feeds every day. But the reality is, there is only one President who can make my children's future the way I want to see it. And that man is Barack Obama.

He may have disappointed some of his starry eyed backers (myself included), but any REAL human being would have inevitably done so. What he has done is create a stimulus that averted a massive economic crisis of epic proportion. He passed health care legislation with the backing of Nancy Pelosi that so many presidents before him had tried and failed to do.

What he did for health-care rivals Medicaid and Medicare in terms of a social safety net. It's that Earth shattering. And yet not one Republican voted in favor of it.

Now my children won't be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. Did it do everything I wish it had? No. But if it had included a single payer system, it never would have passed.

Let's not forget that Obama found and killed terrorist and 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden, a feat George W. Bush for all his bravado and false wars was never able to accomplish. Barack Obama has been a hero for our country, but like many heroes, he is underappreciated and long suffering. How hard is it to recognize the ways this man has changed our lives? His first act in office was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which keeps women, minorities, and the disabled fairly paid. He got rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a terrible bit of legislation that kept gays in the closet and hurt civil rights. He supports gay marriage.

There are other reasons, too. Obama believes women should have control of their own reproductive systems, which is vitally important to me as a mother of a daughter. I want her body to be her own and her choices to be honored and protected and deeply private.

He (and the First Lady Michelle Obama) passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which makes kids school lunches more nutritious. Obviously, as parents, this is vital. He also devoted large amounts of stimulus money to pay for new tests for school children that could transform the learning environment and the way ALL our kids learn.

Obama's foreign policy has made us citizens of the world again. No longer are Americans laughing stocks to the rest of the world. This president is thoughtful, wise, and nuanced in his dealings with other countries, including Israel, our ally and friend.

THIS is the president I want to lead my children. He is a man who brought himself up from nothing by the sheer force of his intellect and drive. He is a force, a person I am proud to call president.

So, yes I will vote for him again, happily and proudly. This is my president. Dear Barack Obama, I choose you and I hope we are given another chance to call you our own.

Why are you voting for Obama a second time?

 

Image via aflcio/Flickr

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