I know at this time of year people get far too heated in their discussions of how they may vote. People get called names, people have their intelligence insulted and generally we all lose the ability to interact like adults. While it is great to see people passionate about elected officials, that is the whole point of democracy, it is easy to lose sight of the issues when political allegiance is treated as the entire measure of a person's worth.
None the less, I feel like I have some pretty good reasons for how and why I vote. It is no secret that I am a liberal, and my preferred choice for President probably need not even be stated. So, as respectfully as possible, with an open invitation to everyone for polite discussion, these are the reasons why I will be voting a certain way in a little over a month.
- Because I have always had health insurance and I don't think that should be a luxury. It should be a basic human right. In this country health insurance does equal access to health care; we cannot lose sight of that fact.
- Because I was fortunate enough to have education available to me. Being smart is cool and every last person deserves a fair chance to get all the training/education they need or want.
- Because I had access to wonderful public schools as a child and I want that for my kids, and all kids in this country. We need to build a culture where intellectualism and academic rigor is considered a good thing.
- Because I don't want my daughters growing up in a world where it is OK to value them less than men. People should be rewarded based on the quality of their work, not based on a sliding scale of gender.
- Because I have always had control over my reproductive choices and every woman deserves the same. Women's health services should be modulated by evidence-based research, not moral doctrine of one group.
- Because while I am not religious, I respect those who find faith to be vital in their lives. Everyone deserves the chance to practice religion as they chose without persecution and without the risk of government mandating the beliefs of one religion over another.
- Because I am first generation American, as is my husband. Many of our extended family members are immigrants raising their own first generations of Americans. No one who comes here hoping to add to our collective resources in search of a better life should be treated as "other."
- Because my extended family represents a beautiful diversity of races and ethnicities. No one should feel that they are somehow "less than" because they don't fit into the white-male normative box.
- Because my extended family includes same-sex couples or couples who have chosen non-traditional partnerships. The loving families they produce are no less worthy than those produced by traditional marriages.
- Because my husband is days away from being a veteran and the benefits associated with that status will allow us to offer ourselves and our children a bright future even when our service time is done. This should be true for anyone who served this nation.
- Because I think our military can do so much more with so much less. Being a functioning military power in the modern world does not require endless increases in DoD funding as a result of fear-mongering; it requires smarter use of what we have. We need politician who understand that.
- Because our status as an unhealthy nation stems not from our weight on the scale, but from the unfortunate food-culture we have created. When socioeconomic status is the best indicator of longevity we need to take a long hard look at our food supply and how we feed this country.
- Because I want this planet to be here, as a healthy environment, for my kids and their kids and all the kids after them. Our energy plans need to be based on science, not the economic prosperity of corporations who can afford to buy major sections of political power.
- Because I want my children to be raised in a culture where civil responsibility is the norm, where people don't take what they can get and forget the rest.
- Because our economic situation couldn't be fixed in four years. It took way more than eight years, even twelve years to get here; it will take time to get back out. We need leaders who understand that fixing the economy must fix it for everyone, not just the people who are still rich.
At the end of it all, I want a political environment that encourages choice and change. Not one that enforces one group's version of values and social rules. Neither candidate has all the answers to all of these issues, but for me, one candidate has the motivation to find some solutions. I want a president who gets what life in America is really like, not a president who hopes to maintain the white-male-rich-Christian-straight paradigm firmly in place.