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2012 Is Going to be Very Difficult for Some of Us [View All]

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Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 08:36 AM
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2012 Is Going to be Very Difficult for Some of Us
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A popular quip about presidential elections is that you vote not for the person you want but against the person you don't want. (For more information: http://www.karlsims.com/second-choice-voting.html ) Well for some of us here at DU and across the country this political season is going to be particularly hard. Let me put my cards out on the table:

I am a 24 year old, gay, egalitarian, White male, with a Master's Degree in Education and a BA in History. I come from a solidly middle class background (well as solid as any today). Growing up I didn't have everything I wanted, but I always had everything I needed. Food, shelter, a caring family, healthcare, and opportunity. Currently I am looking for a teaching job in Massachusetts. I'm worried about my future. I'm worried about finding a job and maintaining one with benefits, a retirement plan, and job security. And I'm worried about where we are going as a nation, especially in the wake of Wisconsin, Florida, and Ohio's gubernatorial forays.

That said, voting in 2012 is going to be very, very hard. In 2008, I voted for Obama both in the primary and in the general election. The ideas of hope and change struck a chord with me. I felt good about our nation and its leadership for the first time. For me, election night was embodied by the now-famous Rev. Sharpton photo (http://www.life.com/image/83564447 ), that the world of pain and suffering that was George W. Bush was ending, that somehow our nation had turned a corner, not only for Black America but for the United States of America. Everyone felt like they were part of something special and that our time had come.

We had our man. I don't think anyone honestly believed that he would change the world, but for a night or two we were content to think so. We got down to business as the festivities quieted down.

  • Health care reform.
  • Ending the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
  • Closing Guantanamo, ending rendition, and fortifying habeas corpus.
  • Creating jobs and getting the economy back on track.
  • Removing the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Ending the discriminatory practice of Don't Ask / Don't Tell.
  • Reforming the tax code to close corporate loopholes.
  • Finding solutions to this nation's oil addiction.
  • And balancing the federal budget in a fair and equitable way.


In the post-election fervor, I believed that all these things were possible and even probable. Health care reform was the first to go though. Our president, our voice, told us that there wasn't public support for single payer or even a public option. Instead he compromised with neo-cons to create a corporate payoff. Yes, everyone was mandated health care now, but the problem wasn't that people didn't want health care. The problem was that people couldn't afford it. And they still can't -- now more than ever. 50 million people, one sixth of this most affluent nation in the world can't afford to see a doctor or get medicine when they are ill. And I am afraid that I will be one of them very soon.

Likewise, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue. We are told that the war in Iraq is over, but that isn't true. The war will be over when we stop paying for it and every last one of our "support troops" leaves Iraq. Afghanistan, which we were told would be winding down with a little final kick (http://www.openleft.com/diary/16306/um-about-obamas-afg... ) and then again within 18 months (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/09/60minutes/mai... ). The latter is still up in the air, but if the draw down is anything like Iraq, then I'm not holding my breath either.

Regarding Guantanamo Bay, we were told it would be closed, that it was a human rights issue. I understood that it was a violation of the Geneva Convention Accord. Yet again I was disappointed. (http://www.cfr.org/cuba/obamas-guantanamo-shift/p24341 ) During the election season in 2008, President Obama told America that we should try alleged terrorists in legal trials in our own court system. And again, he went back on that word even after having a policy in place that banned Guantanamo military trials. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-guantanamo... ) Rendition continues thusly. And, while the President claims to support habeas corpus, his actions have stated otherwise. (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/... )

Creating jobs and getting the economy back on track is a difficult topic to tamp down. It is a very broad topic. Has the president openly and fervently supported job growth and up-righting the economy? Of course. But has it happened? No, even as "unemployment" rates continue to fall. (http://www.smartonmoney.com/what-is-the-real-unemployme... /)

Putting aside the former and latter disappointments that I have, I'd like to talk candidly about DOMA and DADT. As I said, I am a gay male. With that comes certain viewpoints that are (by and large) universal. I am against DOMA and DADT. Earlier this year the President came out against section three of DOMA but fell short of supporting a full removal. (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-ag-222.h... ) He has directed the US military to end DADT and yet it has not been enacted yet, many months later. Soldiers are still being discharged. (http://www.care2.com/causes/civil-rights/blog/dont-ask-... /)

As a candidate, Obama pressed the need for reforming the federal tax code and closing corporate loopholes. Lowering corporate taxes was not what I had in mind. (http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/30/obama-furman-taxes-biz... ) Economists and middle-class activists alike have decried this as a corporate give-away. And it is. Additionally, corporate tax loopholes have not been closed. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25ta... ) We are in his third year as president and nothing has changed nor are there any public, specific, plans for change. Just platitudes.

The president stated that we need to find and fund alternative energy sources to wean our nation of oil (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/04/02/Obama-urges-w... /) But I would never have dared assume that the things he wanted to wean us onto were more nuclear power (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/02/obama-s... ), natural gas (http://www.dallasnews.com/business/headlines/20110330-o... ), and "clean" coal (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Barack_Obama... ). This is not even close to what I had in mind when I voted for him. To me it a continued give-away to the corporate interests in this country, particularly Big Oil or Big Coal. To me they are synonymous, an antithesis to my environmental desires. (http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rperks/big_oil_big_co... )

In terms of balancing the federal budget in a fair and equitable way, I see corporate tax cuts (aforementioned) and the spiraling deficit (http://www.usdebtclock.org /) as evidence that this has too not happened or even changed from the Bush Administration's policy of tax cut and spend.

I am extremely worried about this election cycle. For me the choice is between whatever Tea Party-touting twit the Republican Party squeezes into their nomination or a Democratic sitting president who has been anything but Democratic in my eyes. There are those who suggest that I should "sit out", but I don't want a Tea Party president. There are those who suggest that I suck it up and vote for President Obama again, but I don't want four more years of disappointment. I do not want four more years of Bush-esque policies. People say: "Well at least he tried ." I do not give points for trying even on those things he did "try" to get right. You can't "try" to support an issue or policy. You either do or don't. And for the policies I have outlined, he did not.

Likewise, I worry about our Democratic base and the youth of this nation. While the number did not increase from 2004, still 13% of voters were first time voters in the last election, based on a Gallup poll. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/111331/no-increase-proportio... ) If they, like me, am worried about this election, confused about whether or not to vote, I fear for this nation, for this election, and for future elections. People say that the system is "broken". I don't believe that. I believe our will for what is right has been broken.

I am afraid that we do not have a choice in 2012. Door's One and Two may very well lead to the same place. And there are only two doors. It's President Obama or the Republican nominee. And I do not know what I can honestly do.

I just do not know what I am going to do.

-Fearless
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