My Two Cents
I voted for Barack Obama twice. The first time because I believed that he would be a positive change in leadership. The second time because the Republicans had not only no one I wanted to vote for, but I was actively afraid of what they might do in office, so I voted for Obama as the lesser evil. I’d wanted to vote for Gary Johnson the Libertarian candidate, but let all the talk of throwing away my vote scare me into not voting my conscience, but my fears. I vowed to follow my beliefs in politics and never let my fears rule me again, because unlike the majority of my friends that voted for Obama a second time I wasn’t happy with my choice. I’ll give you one example of why.
One of the main reasons I voted for Obama the first time was his promise to close Guantanamo Bay[i]. Gitmo maybe absolutely necessary for safety and even survival, but it is still morally wrong. I believe that imprisoning a human being without legal representation starts us down a slippery slope towards the same type of tyranny that we fought a revolution against. But Obama didn’t close Gitmo, even though he had both congress and the house as democratic majority for the first two years of his presidency. I believe that he was shown top secret information that convinced him he could not close Gitmo without endangering too much, or too many. Whatever the reason something made him back off on it, but just last week he contacted a now Republican majority and asked that Gitmo be closed, after he was only hours away from no longer being president. He knew the answer would be, no. He had to know they would not cooperate with him. Obama is too intelligent a man to not understand that the answer would be negative. So, why did he do it? Because now he can say, I tried to close to Gitmo, but the big bad Republicans wouldn’t let me[ii]. Now, instead of it being his fault that he didn’t keep his promise its someone else’s fault. It was a good political move, but morally questionable. Its a way of avoiding responsibility for something he gave his word on, and that it is a pattern of behavior for him to place blame for any failures on others. He takes responsibility only for his victories, but never for his losses. Or so it seemed to me.
I also had an issue with him getting the Nobel Peace Prize when he was responsible for bombs being dropped on more countries than any of his immediate predecessor[iii][iv]. There was never a day of his presidency when we did not have soldiers in harm’s way on foreign soil[v]. How did he earn a Nobel Peace Prize? If you think I’m wrong about either of those statements look it up, but I’ve provided links to sources. Don’t believe the press, dig for the facts, please. We must stop accepting the surface information we are given, because it is always biased on either side.
I had hoped that President Obama would bring our country closer together. That we would come out of his term, his two terms, more united as a people, but the opposite has happened[vi]. We are more divided racially, religiously, sexually, etc . . . Pick something and I have never seen such vitriol spouted on both sides. The President that I thought would bring us together has managed to give us eight years that drove us apart. I’m not sure what happened and certainly one man doesn’t take full responsibility for it, but Obama lacked one thing that all great presidents have and that is an ability to work with both sides of an issue. He not only didn’t know how to reach across the aisle, but he didn’t try. It was all about us versus them over and over, until the entire country believed that. Most of the major news outlets and major cities believed Obama was great! They thought that it was a cinch for Hilary Clinton, Obama’s heir apparent to be the next president. Everyone was so happy with the democrats being in charge that, of course, she would win. Besides, the first woman president, just like the first black president – how could they lose?
I wanted a female president. I’ve wanted one for decades. I didn’t want Hilary Clinton, because I saw her as a continuation of the Obama presidency and the old school political power brokers doing business as usual. I agreed whole-heartedly with the Democrats and the major power brokers in the country, Hilary Clinton would have been a continuation of the last eight years. That was the problem. I, like so many Americans, didn’t want a continuation of the last eight years. We were unhappy with it, and no one in power seemed to be listening, or to even care. It was a very, “Yes, Socrates,” moment.
I voted Libertarian this time, and don’t tell me I threw my vote away. Its my vote, I get to decide how I use it. That’s the entire point of our system of government that we have a choice and a voice in an election, even if its just that one vote. I know people who voted for Trump. I know women, people of ethnic and every color we come in that voted for him. You can tell yourself its just racist bigots misogynists that voted for Donald J. Trump but that’s not the truth. A lot more liberals voted for him than you think, but they are literally afraid to admit it. They’re afraid of being attacked, they are afraid it will endanger their jobs, their families, because people have lost their minds that Trump won. (And yes, people are afraid that Trump being president will give rise to more violence from the far right, but that’s being covered in the media. What I haven’t seen being covered is the balancing side of those fears.)
I have intelligent, educated, sane friends who have literally looked me in the eye and called Trump the antichrist. I thought they were exaggerating, but they seem to mean it. He is not the antichrist. He is not Lucifer. He is not Hitler. (Remember before Hitler started shipping anyone off to death camps first he had to disarm them. Until someone comes to take the guns away from private citizens, they usually behave themselves better. If a president wants your guns, then worry about genocide and dictatorships. Sorry if the anti-gun crowd doesn’t like that statement. I wish we lived in a world where faith, good vibes, and safe spaces would actually keep us safe, but until that fantasy world becomes reality I’ll keep my ability to protect myself and my family.) Am I thrilled that Trump is our president? No, but I’m not sure anyone running would have thrilled me. I admit that when Donald J. Trump threw his hat in the ring I thought it was a publicity stunt for a future reality TV show. I don’t think even Trump thought he would win. I think he saw it as a chance to speak his mind and say things that the other politicians seemed afraid to say, so he said it, and weirdly he began to win. I think we were all shocked at first, even Trump.
If you want to know how Trump won there are great articles explaining it in mostly British media[vii] [viii]. Our own American media was almost completely blindsided. I hope that teaches our media to take the blinders off and see what’s really happening in our country, not what they want it to be, but the reality.
The president actually has much more limited powers than most people think. Yes, he signed an executive order that said that foreign aid or federal funding cannot be used to promote or provide abortions[ix]. It is something every republican since Reagan has signed into being. Just like there are things that every Democrat signs. Am I happy about it? No, but I’m not panicking either, and that’s my point. Take a deep breath, and let go of your fear. Work for what you believe, but please stop being terrified. If you are reacting to fear then you don’t think well, and reacting is not the same as acting. Act because you want to, not because you’re so scared you’re lashing out.
One thing I didn’t foresee is that so many people are terrified, enraged that Trump won – How did this happen? They keep asking themselves – that it seems to be bringing people together, even if it is a togetherness based on hating that Donald J. Trump is our new president. Obama was supposed to bring us closer together, but somehow his eight years divided us more. Wouldn’t it be weird if the Trump presidency brought us more together? Even if its just to make sure this doesn’t happen again.