On the eve of the election, I wanted to write about why I’m voting for President Obama again.
The first time I voted for him, I did so for different reasons than I am tomorrow. I was almost done school and riding the wave of college enthusiasm for a candidate that I thought represented so many things I wished for this country to have. I was full of hope about my future and the future of my friends and family. I had less to worry about then and my reason for voting for him reflected that. I remember when Brandon and I were watching the election coverage in my small apartment and the final state came in to put him over 270. We could hear people cheering from other apartments. It was a happy night and I was so proud to have voted for him.
Four years later, my life looks very different than it did then. I am married and have a young daughter. Four years ago I was full of hope about my future, but now instead, on the cusp of this election, the unknowns about my daughter’s future are terrifying and real.
I believe it is my responsibility as a parent to provide my daughter with the best chance for a good quality of life. I want her to have a better life than the one I’ve had and to give her every opportunity for happiness, whatever that means. I’ve had some people tell me that means I should vote for Mitt Romney, because of the economic promises that have been the benchmark of his campaign. Unfortunately, most experts agree that the economy will continue to improve over the next four years no matter which candidate wins. In light of that, I’m unwilling to vote for a candidate whose fiscal math continues to be a big question mark.
Regardless of the current economic state (improving, albeit slowly), in a few decades, what kind of legacy will we have left for our children? What kind of social and economic climate will my daughter—who will be ready to embark on her own by then, much like I was in 2008—find herself in? It’s hard to say. No one can say what will happen over the next two decades. But, it’s my responsibility to do everything I can in this decade to provide the next generation a model of fairness and equality.
If my daughter is gay, I want her to have the same rights that I or any other citizen of this country are privy to.
When my daughter looks back to the year she was born, I hope she is incredulous that this country’s Republican presidential candidate, individual states and state legislators ever endorsed policies and opinions based in “hypocrisy, ignorance and bigotry.”
No matter what job my daughter may have, I hope she is paid fairly for the work that she does.
It’s almost too horrific to think about, but with 1 in 5 American women saying they have been sexually assaulted, this is not just something that happens to “other people.” If my daughter is ever raped, I never want to hear anyone question whether it was legitimate. If she got pregnant from the assault, I want her to have the ability to make a safe and legal decision about her own healthcare instead of having a man tell her that it’s a “gift from God.”
If my daughter attends college, I want her to graduate and get a job without worrying about spending more than 10% of her income on crippling student loan debt.
I want my daughter to have access to affordable contraception. See also: well-woman visits, testing for HPV, counseling on sexually transmitted infections, screening and counseling for HIV, screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling and screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence. Period.
I want my daughter to understand that if she chooses to believe in God or adhere to a certain religion that doing so does not give her license to promote hate or intolerance.
I want my daughter to be a decent person and a good citizen. I want her to love and be loved—no matter who that is. I want her to be happy and successful. I want her to be healthy and strong. I want her to never feel scared that if the wrong person wins in the next election that she may not be able to make her own healthcare decisions. I want her to look back and see that her father and I voting for Barack Obama meant standing on the right side of history on November 6, 2012.