As someone at the liberal end of the spectrum in a conservative state, and participating in a religion that many associate with conservatism and capitalism, I get asked a lot about why I vote the way I do.
Particularly why I plan to vote for a socialist Muslim who hates America and is actively plotting its downfall.
The simplest answer, of course, is that Obama really isn't any of those things. (I do want to make it clear that I have no problem with voting for a Muslim; my husband, though ok with a Muslim, was horrified when I, without hesitation, said I'd have no problem voting for an Atheist.)
To me, it's about priorities. Instead of focusing on the hate-filled lies, I look at which candidate most closely matches my own priorities. While I think the economy is important, the truth is that you don't fix something that was decades in the making, and the result of several different factors, in only four years.
Plus, I don't think that any president can do much to fix the economy anyway, between the stuff that has to be put into law by Congress and the influence of the Fed on monetary policy.
Instead, my priorities are more about the following:
- Better education for more people (although I think that we need to focus less on college prep and more on skills)
- Affordable health care for everyone (the latest health care reform isn't my favorite thing ever, but it's something)
- Improved infrastructure
- Reversing the growing wealth gap in this country
In short, many of the policies that Romney seems to embrace, even though he would need a compliant Congress and/or Supreme Court for them to become reality, erase decades of economic and social progress. As a progressive, that bugs me. So, even though I'm not into party affiliation (or the two-party system for that matter), Obama comes the closest of major candidates that aligns with my priorities.
I don't care if you're fabulous businessperson. Fabulous businesspeople and their cash hoarding have been one of the reasons for a delayed economic recovery (and, some of these fabulous businesspeople, helped contribute to the most recent crash). I don't think the country does well when run like a business, and I certainly don't want it run in a cutthroat way, like Romney's darling Bain Capital.
Perhaps, if we ran the country in a way that looked to domestic priorities, and concentrated on creating a society that valued education, healthy citizens, technological/energy advancement, with a tax policy similar to what we saw during the watershed economic era known as the 1950s, we could still defend ourselves, and begin working our way out of the current hole. And eventually be better able to help others around the world.
To tell the truth, that's the sort of Mormonism I still believe in, and those are the kind of political policies I can get behind. I'm not into this wealth = virtue thing that seems to permeate much of Utah Mormon culture, and even society at large. Romney seems to embody wealthy entitlement (I EARNED it; it's MINE) in a way that Obama doesn't.
It's a tall order, I know. Particularly with the current realities of a political system beholden to profit-obsessed companies, steeped in socialized capitalism, who are considered “people.” And superPACs. Can't forget the damn superPACs.
But a girl can dream. Obama, of the major party candidates, is the closest to my priorities. That's why I plan to vote for him.