Monday, November 5, 2012

Watch out when they push 'jobs'


Barack Obama, Carol Henrichs 
It is Election Day Eve. It has been a never-ending election season, and yet, in many ways, it is hard to believe we are finally here. As a supporter of four more years for President Obama, I have personally spent months commiserating with like-minded voters and debating and debunking the merits of a Mitt Romney administration.

I have made lots of new friends and probably lost some too.

For me, this election comes down to a continuance of the last 25 years I have spent fighting the State of Illinois’ proposal to build an airport south of Chicago—an airport that is unnecessary, isn’t approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, is opposed by the airlines and the local residents and governments that would have to live with it, and just plain doesn’t fit into the rural area where it is proposed.

I have heard all too often the term “jobs.” This project started as a Republican initiative back in the 1980’s. It is now favored heavily by U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., a Democrat. The line has been blurred between the two. “Jobs” has been the promise--jobs for the poorest suburbs in the Chicagoland area. Trouble is, that would likely not be the result, for a multitude of reasons.

This project has taught me that “jobs” is often nothing more than a political buzzword used by politicians to make it look like they are actually doing something for someone. “Jobs” can also mean total degradation of the environment, whole communities, and destruction of private property, not to mention people’s lives.

That is what I see when I hear Mitt Romney talk about creating “jobs” on day 1, if he is elected. In the context of Romney-speak when he talks about drilling on federal lands, it makes me cringe. When he talks about renewing an energy policy that puts people to work, what he is really talking about is profits for oil, gas, and coal companies at the expense of the natural resources it would destroy. There has to be a balance between the quality of life of people living in the areas rich resources with extracting those from the earth. Romney doesn’t understand that balance. All he understands is profit.

To me, this election is about the intangibles that translate into profit and people. It is always a delicate balance. I just don’t think Romney gets that.

What about the ecosystem that sustains mankind? What about the endangered species that are about to vanish from the earth—species that one day could prove to be a cure for human illnesses? What about the indisputable climate change that has raised temperatures to new heights, caused droughts in the country’s mid-section, and ramped up the effects of storms, like Hurricane Sandy. What about the global conditions that have not yet been felt. The buzzword “jobs” pales in comparison. Survival always trumps jobs numbers. Mitt Romney knows nothing of these complex problems.

Then there are women’s issues. I wrote my first pro-choice letter to the editor years ago. Choice isn’t about the pros and cons of abortion. Nobody likes abortion. Choice is about private, personal decisions being made by a woman with guidance from her family and physician. It is not the concern of the government, let alone to be mandated by government.

There are so many other reasons that a Mitt Romney administration scares me to my core.

Beyond these issues, I could never vote for a candidate whose policies were so opaque, for a candidate who changed his position to accommodate each audience he spoke to, or one that is so beholding to his religious views that he would impose them onto others. Mitt Romney is an elitist that doesn't seem to understand truth, transparency, or compromise. 

It is why I am voting for Barack Obama for President. I am not unhappy with the man who has governed this country for the last four years; he is a man that was able to bring the economy back from the brink after eight of the most trying years of my political lifetime. I am excited to hear Barack Obama speak about “all people.” This should be a country of opportunity for men and women, no matter the age, race, religion, sexual preference, or geographic boundary. I am encouraged by his ability to bring people together, to be able to sort through the layers of complex issues. I love that he has been so tolerant, keeping a steady hand, even when all odds were against him. He has even been able to get things done, despite the bullies in the U.S. House who have thwarted his every initiative. I am proud that he has looked beyond his own personal view to support gay marriage and to follow through with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He really is a trustworthy leader, who understands people, of this country and beyond, and can relate to them. Barack Obama gets it. I love his demeanor and how he has handled difficult times with good humor and compassion. I am proud to call him my President.


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