Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Will Vote for Obama

I will vote for President Obama for several reasons. His Administration has fought to protect the civil rights of African Americans. The Obama Administration filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case of Fisher v. the University of Texas At Austin. The Administration's brief supports the University's affirmative action plan. Affirmative action is a legitimate means to encourage diversity and to remedy past discrimination. Higher education is the key to success and upward mobility. Without affirmative action, many of us would not have been able to attend college, law school or medical school. Unlike President Obama, Republican candidate Mitt Romney opposes affirmative action. When he was governor, Romney attempted to end affirmative in Massachusetts.

In addition to supporting affirmative action, the Obama Administration has challenged voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas. Contrary to the Republicans' assertions, voter ID laws are not designed to prevent fraud. In-person voter fraud is extremely rare. The real purpose of voter ID laws is to suppress black voters and other Democratic leaning voters. According to the Brennan Center, approximately 25 percent of African Americans do not possess government issued photo IDs, compared to only 8 percent of whites. Consequently, voter laws have a disproportionate impact on black people. Apparently, that does not matter to Romney. He supports voter ID laws.

As if that is not disturbing enough, Republicans are challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of Voting Rights Act. The Obama Administration strongly opposes such efforts. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions to seek pre-clearance from the Department of Justice before enacting new voting laws. The covered jurisdictions have a long history of enacting discriminatory voter laws.

Moreover, the Obama Administration passed the Fair Sentencing Act ("FSA"). Before the FSA was passed, the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine was 100 to 1. Under the FSA, that disparity has been reduced to 18 to 1. A disproportionate percentage of African Americans are targeted for using and selling crack. On the other hand, whites are more likely to be arrested for using and selling powder cocaine. As a result, black offenders receive harsher sentences than their white counterparts for using or selling the same amount of drugs. The FSA is a step toward ending that injustice.

Additionally, the President passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. That law makes it easier for plaintiffs to sustain equal-pay lawsuits.  According to National Women's Law Center, women earn 77 cent for every dollar earned by men. For black women, the gender gap is even greater.  African American women earn 62 cent for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. Since a disproportionately large percentage of African American households are headed by women, the Fair Pay Act will expand economic opportunities for the black community.  This law will help women in general, black women in particular, fight gender discrimination.

Not only has he made civil rights a priority, the President passed historic health care reform. Although it is far from a single payer system or a public option, it does insure millions of uninsured people. It prevents insurance companies from excluding people from coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Although Obamacare is not perfect, it is a sign of progress. Romney and the Republicans oppose even those modest reforms.

Furthermore, contrary to the Republican Party's assertions, fixing the economy has been the President's top objective. The President's policy has created and protected jobs. Since President Obama has been in office, there has been 30 months of job creation. According to the Christian Science Monitor, private sector employers added 4.6 million net jobs.  As reported in the Huffington Post,"125,000 jobs have been created, in total, during Obama's first term, compared with a prior estimate of a loss of 261,000."  Although the economy has not fully recovered and unemployment remains too high, I am confident that President Obama is moving the economy in the right direction.

While Romney was saying that we should let Detroit go bankrupt, President Obama took bold action and rescued the American auto industry thereby saving thousands of jobs. Through stimulus money, the President protected the jobs of many teachers, police officers and firemen. In my hometown of Detroit, when 100 fire fighters faced layoffs, Obama saved those jobs and kept the city safe through Homeland Security funding.

Romney probably would have let Detroit burn. Romney has no real record of jobs creation. When Romney was governor, Massachusetts was 47th in job creation. As his former opponents Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich asserted during the primaries, Romney and his company, Bain Capital, have a vulturous record of feeding off of dying companies and leaving behind closed businesses and unemployed workers.

The President is concerned about all Americans, the workers and the middle class. Romney admitted that he is not concerned about 47 percent of voters. Romney acknowledged that he is not concerned about the very poor.

His selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential nominee is evidence of his contempt for poor and middle class people. The Ryan budget would substantially cut vital government programs that benefit the black community. As reported in the Root, those programs include Pell grants, Head Start, welfare, food stamps, social security, Medicaid and Medicare. Under a Romney Administration, aspiring and ambitious college students would not be able to obtain Pell grants to pay for college. Senior citizens would receive less health care benefits. Poor people would be denied life saving assistance such as food stamps and welfare. While forcing the most vulnerable citizens to make great sacrifices, Romney would give the rich more tax breaks.

Not only is Obama a better choice because of his positions on domestic policy, he is a better choice when it comes to foreign policy. Although aspects of Obama's foreign policy are objectionable, Romney's foreign policy would be even more militaristic and imperialistic. If the GOP had their way, they would bomb Iran, send ground troops to Syria and continue to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely. When it comes to foreign policy, Obama is the lesser of two evils.

Do I think that Obama is the hope and change that we have been waiting for? No. Do I think that he walks on water, heals the sick and parts the sea? No. Do I think that he is Superman swooping down to save us? No. However, I know that he is a far better choice for African Americans than Mitt Romney. That is why I plan to vote for President Obama.  I hope that you vote for him as well.

This article is cross posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

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