I haven't been posting for the last few months because I've been up to my ears in another very complex project. (More about that in the future.)
I probably won't be posting much for a few months more.
But it occurred to me that silence can be misconstrued, and I wouldn't want anyone to think that I didn't care who won this election.
Here are the issues.
- The economy—Romney and Ryan (and the rest of the Republican party) claim two things:
- Obama has made the economy worse.
This is a lie.
We are immensely better off than we were when Obama came into office, and have done far better than other countries.
The Republicans try to twist the figures to deny this, but they do that by including in their averages immense job losses which occurred early in the Obama administration—before Democratic policies had time to take effect.
And they get a little help from Obama, who refuses to pretend that the country is doing as well as he would like.
- They claim that they can fix it.
This is nonsense.
Their entire "plan" is to double down on the policies of the Bush administration—the policies which created the mess in the first place.
- National Security—Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans make two claims:
- They claim that Obama began his term with an 'apology tour'.
It didn't happen.
What did happen was that he undid much of the damage done by the previous administration's belligerence and war-mongering, and improved the international stature of the United States immeasurably.
What did happen is that he set about quietly getting other countries to cooperate with a U.S. cleanup and disposal of unsecured nuclear materials which terrorists could use to make a bomb.
What did happen was that he decimated Al Qaeda, killed bin Laden, and got valuable intelligence in the process.
- They claim that they would do better by being 'tougher'.
This just shows that they don't know the difference between real toughness and posturing.
There's more to diplomacy than shaking a fist.
And the most pragmatic and specific proposal they have is to increase funding to the military.
This is money the military doesn't want, that there is no justification for, and which would not do a fraction of the good for our economy that putting the same money into education would.
More to the point, it is money that would increase the deficit significantly.
It would weaken us at home, without helping us abroad.
- Social issues—Romney, Ryan, and the Republicans have multiple positions:
- They claim that women can't get pregnant from a "legitimate rape".
- They would block abortions even in cases of rape or the life of the mother.
- Romney, oddly enough, claims that the above is not his position—but he allowed it in the party platform, and he endorsed it during the primary debates in no uncertain terms.
- They would do away with most of the access women have to healthcare in general in this country by defunding Planned Parenthood.
- Meanwhile, Obama and the Democrats stand firmly on the other side in each of these issues.
- Political issues—Republicans have spent the last two years undermining the rights and power of individual citizens and comunities in order to further their political and financial agendas.
- If Romney gets to appoint a Supreme Court justice or two you can be sure that Citizens United and Roe v. Wade are just the tip of the iceberg.
- The Republican party, as a whole, has done everything in its power to discourage voter turnout during the last two years—because they think it will help them win this election.
Imagine what they will do if they get the presidency.
- The Republican party, at the state level, has supported laws designed to outlaw abortion clinics, to intimidate women with vaginal probes, and generally used deception and bullying to get around the law of the land.
- The Republicans at the state level have taken over cities, set aside their duly elected officials, and stripped those communities of their property to the benefit of the wealthy.
- The character issue:
- I could go on, mentioning all of the Republican lies about health care reform (remember the "death panels"?),
- or Romney's recent lies about Jeep production,
- or Ryan's fake photo op at a soup line—barging in uninvited and washing clean pots for the cameras,
- or Romney's fake relief event last week—handing people canned goods to hand back to Romney in front of the cameras, when the Red Cross has explicitly asked people not to contribute canned goods.
- I could mention the repeated attempt to blame Obama for Republican stonewalling the last four years—Romney's claims that Obama wasn't interested in bipartisanship, when the Republican Party refused one olive branch after another and explicitly said that this was their plan, in order to defeat him in this election.
- And I could point out the obvious reason for Obama's difficulties in the first debate.
When you come ready to debate your opponent on all of the positions he has campaigned on for the last year, and he simply denies, with a straight face, that he ever said any of it, you can find yourself at a bit of a loss.
- The bottom line is that Romney is a liar, an unprincipled salesman who will say anything to close the deal, and Obama is an honest adult, an accomplished statesman who has guided this country with a firm hand through very perilous times.
But it goes further than that.
Dishonesty and the misuse of power have become the hallmarks of Republican politics in general in the last few years, and we cannot allow that to continue.
The party has lost its bearings.
The Democratic party also has its flaws.
No one is perfect.
But at the moment the average Democrat is immeasurably more honest, more adult, and more bipartisan than the average Republican.
Democratic politicians don't make it standard practice to lie to the public about the realities of climate change, conception during rape, their opponent's record, their opponents place of birth, or the economy.
Our country is poised between two futures.
On one hand lies slavery to wealth and power, to corporate interests which would impoverish the average working family, to the small minds that would dictate the health choices and moral choices of individuals at home, to those who would drain our national blood and treasure to force their will on other nations.
This isn't a prediction. It's already been happening wherever Republicans have gained power.
On the other hand lies the future of a free people, a partial correction to inequal distribution of wealth and power in our nation, a fair shake for working families, freedom to make our own health choices and moral decisions, a policy of firmness and friendship toward the rest of the world.
The party offering the first choice is currently—with a couple of notable exceptions who did not get nominated—led by snake oil salesmen and fanatics. It is a party that has abandoned its former principles and is only interested in power. Its current leader is actually a member of the 1% which is funding this takeover of democracy.
The party offering the second choice is led by an honest, competent, statesman who is quick to admit to his own flaws, who has served us well in perilous times while fending off the open attacks of the opposition and still seeking bipartisan solutions.
He's the man that even Chris Christie praises.
He is a man of character. A man who cares.
Don't just vote for Obama—vote for every Democrat on the ballot.
Give them a chance to finish what they have started, to bring America back.
That's what I think today.