Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Why I Will Be Voting for Barack Obama

On November 6, 2012, God willing, I will walk into a voting booth, most likely in New York, a good 3,000 miles from the last place I voted in a presidential election, and I will cast my ballot for President Barack Hussein Obama.

Because of health care reform. Because he ended the war in Iraq (though I use ended loosely). Because he is ending the war in Afghanistan (again, loooosely). Because of the consumer protection bureau. Because of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Because of Justice Elena Kagan. Because of his support black farmers. Because of nearly $1 billion in support for HBCUs. Because of the Fair Sentencing Act (Crack Cocaine Bill). Because he gave new life to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Because he supports the Dream Act. Because he has tried his damndest to undue a whole lot of the Hell that Bush created. Because I can still stand to hear his name. Because I still believe that he wants whats best and just for the people of the United States. Because the unemployment rate has dropped 2 points.  Because he HAS done more for the LGBTQ community than any other president has ever done. Ever. Because he has lent a new dignity back to the black community that I had never seen in my 30 some years when he took office. Because he actually loves his family and shows it. Because of so many other victories he has won for us, my community, my loved ones, and the hope I still feel. I will vote for Barack Obama on November 6, 2012.

But let me be clear. Obama has disappointed and sometimes greatly disappointed. I don't excuse his support of Israel. I don't forgive the lives on his head in the wars we fight both clandestine and overt. I don't approve or support his pro-capitalist policies. I don't support his willingness to compromise when at times it would have been better for him to put his foot in some Republican's ass.

I wrote an essay, published here as well as at, called The Responsibility of Hope.  In that essay I wrote:
Unfortunately, Obama, an avowed capitalist, seems to have a heart of gold and a mind that is still partially colonized. To judge him for being a product of the nation in which he was raised is not helpful. Recognizing it helps us all to see that the responsibility of hope also resides with each of us. There will come a time when President Obama disappoints us. That is why it is incumbent on us, people of African descent, to use this political and spiritual moment as a time to organize our communities both as a basis for our own localized change but also as a physical, spiritual, and political support for President Obama when he inevitably stumbles.The chains of the mind, even in as inspiring a man as Barack Obama, are deep, long, solid, and largely invisible.

Barack Obama has stumbled, at times he has almost fallen, but, I believe, his failures have only been in equal measure to our lack of support. When he took office, we acted like we had elected Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, and Krishna all combined into one. We learned, the hard way, as I warned four years ago, that without WE THE PEOPLE coming together with a fierce agenda that held Obama to his course AND GAVE HIM THE PEOPLE POWER TO DO THE WORK, that he would be forced to the center and act accordingly. He's a good man. He's also an ambitious mother that went from state senator to U.S. President in FOUR DAMN YEARS.

But we've learned. We've seen the overt, unvarnished racism. We know now that on Inauguration Day top Republicans were having a dinner to plot how to ensure Obama was a one term president. We have seen the Tea Party fascism. We've seen the OWS movement and that we too can respond by populist means. A second term, done right, with our folks actually doing OUR part of the work, could mean a future that breaks from these cycles of what has ultimately become ultimate corporate lunacy.

I will vote for Barack Obama, but I will continue to work, on the streets, in coalition, across borders, boundaries, communities, families, skin colors, gender identities, ages, sexual orientations, faiths, and continents to make sure that when 2016 comes, I can feel proud in whatever critique I have of the Obama Presidency because I DID my part, so he could have the real choice to do his.

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