Barack Obama may not be everything we thought he was going to be when we elected him, but few would disagree that he has been a game-changer in many (if not all) ways, after eight years of the catastrophic Bush administration. He has put the brakes on the worst excesses of that administration,
To name just a few.
Yes, we still have the Patriot Act; we still have the Faith Based Initiative that is an affront to the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause; yes, we still have a federal government that spies on its citizens and an Executive Branch that is too powerful. But we also have an executive branch that has been stymied repeatedly and for four years by an obstructionist House of Representatives and by widespread abuse of filibustering.
You can argue that Obama did not keep all his promises; admittedly, he didn’t. But he kept many (36% of them according to PolitiFact’s Obameter, with another 26% in the works), and many of those he has not kept (14% broken according to the Obameter and 11% compromised) he was not able to keep because of lack of cooperation from a legislative branch that has refused to compromise, indeed, to recognize the legitimacy of his presidency.
Disillusioned progressives ask where their change is and conservatives repeat the refrain, “How do you like your change now?” But look not only at what Obama has accomplished, the change he has wrought, but look for a moment your alternatives: Republicans label Obama a radical extremist but that’s because the only thing still to the right of the GOP is the Nazi Party, and that not by much, given the appeal the GOP has for right-wing militias and racist groups and fundamentalists calling for the establishment of concentration camps for gays and lesbians.
Yes, we could have had more, but we could also have had a whole helluva lot less. Think about a McCain/Palin presidency for a moment and ask yourself it that would have been preferable. Think about Romney presidency and ask yourself if that sounds any better, whoever might end up being his running mate. Think about two long wars in the Middle East, thousands of American dead and then think about another war – against Iran this time – and thousands more American dead – and for what?
So far, Obama has kept diplomacy on the table as an option, and international sanctions – everything short of war in fact; no Republican president would ever hold back from making like Dubya just pushing the button. None of them – or their children – are going to be shot at, after all.
Republicans call Obama a Muslim though according to the Constitution it wouldn’t matter if he were, since religious tests are banned (Article VI, paragraph 3); they say he’s a socialist too but that also is neither illegal nor even immoral, and he has been accused of being an anti-colonialist Kenyan of all things, as though being opposed to colonialism is a bad thing from a citizen of a country that was founded in opposition to colonialism.
Speaking of citizens, they accuse him of not being a citizen even though there is not a shred of evidence that he is not and no matter how often the authenticity of his birth certificate is verified. They simply oppose Obama so badly that they are willing to strip Americans of their voting rights so that they cannot vote for him, or to flirt with fantasies of keeping Obama off state ballots so that nobody can vote for him – or both.
As yourselves: if the Republicans will recognize no limits in defeating Obama and making him a single-term president, why would you not want to vote for him in 2012? Isn’t that argument enough in favor?
In perhaps the mildest and least-offensive attack, Obama has even been called a moderate Republican (by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post). But isn’t a moderate Republican far more appealing than an extremist Republican? If he is a moderate Republican, he is the only one in existence and we ought to safeguard that existence. Most of us old enough to remember have nothing against moderate Republicans. Moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans governed this country together and successfully from WWII until recent years.
There are many ways to look at this election:
There are many reasons to choose Obama in 2012. I have listed only a few of them here. I am sure you can find many more if you sit down to think about what’s at stake in the upcoming election. Rest assured whatever choice you ultimately make, it will be the most important choice Americans have made since the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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