I wasn’t going to vote for Obama. I also wasn’t going to vote for Romney. I also wasn’t going to vote for a third party candidate. I was going to happily leave the entry for President blank when filling out my ballot.
I live in a very safe blue state. The chances of Obama loosing my state were nil. If there was even a shadow of a doubt that Obama would lose the state, I would have gladly filled in his box and slept well. Like so many other things in my life, I had the luxury of voicing a silent protest without any of the dangers that my protest might bring.
So why wasn’t I going to vote for Obama? It mostly boils down to the awful state of our country’s civil rights. Government intrusion in our lives is even higher now than it was during the Bush years. The Patriot Act still exists. The Department of Homeland Security Theater still exists. Then, on the international front, there’s illegal drone wars and targeted assassinations of U.S. citizens. Despite all the absolutely awesome things that Obama has done in his first term, these are not the hallmarks of a president that deserves a second term.
Then the first debate happened. Despite what the pundits almost universally say, I don’t think Obama did that bad. He certainly “lost”, whatever the hell that means in the non-debate format that we call our presidential debates, but it was Romney’s complete 180 that had me completely flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe that everybody was more concerned with Obama’s lackluster performance than Romney’s ultimate pandering. Romney’s performance scared me. I thought that this man needed to not only lose, but be buried by as large a number as possible.
The trend, if anything, got worse as the final days of the campaign wore down. The second two debates were more of the same from Romney. The speeches Romney started giving started containing more and more bald faced lies about Obama. There was also the matter of everything I dislike about Obama, Romney wanted to either keep status quo or supersize.
So I voted for Obama. President Obama is a strange character. He has done more to advance civil rights than any president since Johnson, while at the same time exercising powers that restrict a lot of civil rights. I hope in his second term the former stays while the latter goes. I don’t know if I can say I’m happy with Obama winning, but I am at least content.