Tomorrow is election day (in case you have been living under a rock for the past year and a half). I am voting at the polls for the first time. In 2008, I was studying abroad and submitted an absentee ballot and in 2004 I was a week shy of my 18th birthday. I remember fighting to stay awake in Budapest but having to call it a night because 3am was not going to happen. I remember wishing I was back home just for the election as the United States watched the first African American President get elected. I remember following Obama’s campaign and feeling motivated, inspired, and genuinely accepting of a candidate and his proposed policies. Four years later, in what is arguably one of the biggest elections in U.S. history, I am not feeling such positive things. It has been a very long and exhausting campaign trail and all I did was watch and read.
It has been frustrating, to say the least, to watch my rights as a woman sit on a chopping block by older, White, wealthy men whose pockets are filled with superPAC and lobbying money. My right to my body and my right to choose started out being neglected – these topics weren’t discussed at the beginning – and then exploited as the Conservative platform began to try and tell me what rape is, how to raise a family, when to raise a family, what hours to work, and how much to be paid. From Todd Akin to Rush Limbaugh to Mourdock to the Romney/Ryan ticket. Our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, girlfriends, wives have all been placed into a binder. But wait, we didn’t all make the cut – only the qualified, working, middle-class, educated women. Forget the women that are part of the “47%” and you better not THINK about considering single mothers as qualified. It has been… TERRIFYING to say the least. At times, I’ve laughed at how ridiculous Republicans sound and other times I have wanted to vomit or hysterically cry. Election 2012: Emotional Roller Coaster.
I have watched the majority of the campaign be about the economy – rightfully so – as we have struggled through the worst recession since the Great Depression. I have stood by and listened to people blame Obama and Obama alone for the state of our economy. People, do you REALLY think that’s rational or productive? Two words for you: GEORGE BUSH. Two more words for you: IRAQ WAR. The policies that were in place prior to Obama’s presidency pushed us into the recession. Obama walked into a recession he did not create one. Also, Obama doesn’t pass shit. Remember those good ol’ (literally) peeps sitting in Congress… yea, they are kinda important people and kinda play a role in what is drafted and passed, too!
And the whole deficit nonsense. In one debate, Romney said that Obama doubled the deficit and then two minutes later gave a figure that was not double what the deficit was when he came into office. The hypocrisy and inconsistency throughout this campaign has been mind-boggling and that is from both sides. Romney has changed his story and policies depending on who he is talking to. In the last debate he was basically agreeing with Obama (though he’ll never admit that). This election has been nothing but politics. Yea, I know – duh. But we as the American people have to strive to change this. We are all about disagreeing with the other party for the mere fact that they are “the other.” Look at Congress. They have been deadlocked and butting heads leading them to be incapable of getting anything done!
…okay I just went on a semi-rant away from what I actually wanted to talk about. My boyfriend is not voting – he studied game theory and how it relates to voting and is convinced his vote doesn’t matter. Which, at the end of the day, the Electoral College gets the final say (re: 2000 election year). But anyway, he does not understand and is even put off by the obsession with Obama. He can’t fathom the overwhelming enthusiasm and love for the man (not because he’s Obama, but because he’s a candidate for president). I try and explain to him why I genuinely want Obama to win. My reasons include the fact that he speaks from the heart and when he talks about policies he relates them to specific people and groups of people that I know he truly cares about; he has policies to protect all people: homosexuals, elderly, women, children, soldiers, vets, etc; he may not have fulfilled everything he said he would (no President does in their first term – they know they want to be re-elected so they have to play it smart) but his promises and hopes for our country truly paint a picture of a better place to live. As a social worker, I live under policies, research, and solutions that are never achieved but my career depends upon striving to achieve them. All we can do is strive for achievement. For better. Obama strives for a better life for his family, his daughters, his constituents, and his country. Romney has only shown me he strives to be the President.
But going back to the “obsession” with Obama – I have heard that confusion and somewhat disgust from a lot of people. But I spit that confusion and disgust right back at you: Americans sell out venues every night of the week to listen to pop singers and rock stars sing for three hours. Americans are the biggest sports fans in the world and have the most absurd fan-following antics known to man. Americans watch more TV than any other culture because of our obsession with shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Sons of Anarchy, and Glee. So no, boyfriend & all you nay-sayers. America is not obsessed with Obama. America is obsessed with materialistic, superficial things that at the end of the day mean absolutely nothing besides pure entertainment. America NEEDS to be as obsessed with our political culture and the democracy of our country. It is because America would rather watch football on Sundays, rock out to the Rolling Stones, and eat popcorn all day catching up with the DVR than participate and truly engage with the political world that is suffocating us going into tomorrow’s Election Day.
It is okay for us to be obsessed with celebrities, athletes, and singers but it is not okay for us to be obsessed with the idea of a better life in a better country. It is not okay for us to be obsessed with striving to protect our rights and our neighbor’s rights. Welcome to America, the best country in the world.