For three years now, our newspaper has tried to represent the face of our diverse community.
For four years now, we have had a President in the Oval Office who has embraced that diversity, endorsed that community, and enhanced our rights.
His vision was one of hope and all those dreams have not been fulfilled in these past four years. But the truth is that Wall Street has been tamed and the auto industry survived. Osama Bin Laden has not. Regulations and safeguards are in place in the financial community that previously did not exist. A war in Iraq has been brought to an end, and we have been promised that the battles in Afghanistan will come to a close as well.
Whether or not you support Obamacare, it was a presidential effort that demonstrated leadership and a concern not for 47 percent of Americans, but all of them. The word ‘all’ is important for clarifying why we endorse President Obama. He understands that the foundation of American thought is the belief that we come together as a society not to restrict the rights of any, but rather to secure the rights of all.
The President does not have binders for women. He has unlimited boundaries for every one of us, from those who are sick and in need of health care, to those who are poor and seek opportunity. Immigrants get a chance, not walls; students get loans, not expulsions; and all of us are inspired to heal and share in a more diverse and open America.
The world and our military units did not fall apart when the dark days of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell passed into ignominy. What passed with this President in office were fruitcakes and nutjobs taking their holy war to ears in the White House. With Obama in the Oval Office, reason and Planned Parenthood will continue to prevail on Connecticut Avenue, not lunatic voices trying to justify how rape is rational or reasonable. The President is not trying to recreate the 1950’s, which were never quite as illustrious as many Americans think. He is trying to build a 21st century we can all be proud of.
Mitt Romney has been everywhere on social issues, but resurrecting Roe v. Wade and opposing a women’s right to an abortion a half century after American courts have made it law, is a frightening retreat to yesterday. He is wise to have focused his campaign on jobs and the economy, because the man just leaves you with the feeling that his America is not our America. You get the sense that our rights and our concerns, and those of minorities everywhere are an inconsequential intrusion to him.
You see, this race is not just a thumbs up or down about the President. This race is about who his replacement might be in 2013 and beyond. Mitt Romney, his values dug deep into the past, on issues such as gay rights, women, immigration, and social reform, is simply a bad leader for America tomorrow.
Romney’s positions on too many other issues also transition so often you get the feeling that which defines him remains elusive; what he stands for remains evasive. Is he the moderate who governed Massachusetts or is he the ‘severely conservative’ brown-noser who sucks up to monolithic right-wingers at every political turn?
With Romney, you get a headache just trying to grasp some of his convoluted economic policies, a trillion here, a billion there. He is not a consistent candidate. Don’t you want a president who would look to make China a future trade partner rather than a combatant in a trade war? Do you want belligerence and bellicosity in the White House, or outreach and overtures?
Given the choice of these two men, President Obama’s record warrants his re-election, and not just because he has been supportive of gay rights.
Yes, we are a gay paper representing the gay community.
Yes, Barack Obama is a man in the Oval Office who has welcomed us at every turn.
Yes, he is our friend and he has embraced our dreams and aspirations.
But the President has also stood tall and made his mark as a respected and levelheaded international leader who will not countenance bigotry or hate, terrorists or warmongers, at home or abroad. He has shown himself to be a man of the 21st century, not pandering to the past.
The President of the United States deserves your vote next Tuesday. Mitt Romney does not.
My Other Choices: How and Who to Vote For in South Florida
First and foremost, this is a choice that of course should be your own. However, since we are often asked for suggestions, let me share with you my thoughts on a couple of key candidacies and issues.
Number one, vote no on all the amendments. Special interests groups who do not serve you have propagated them. One amendment, number 5, is so offensive that if Florida’s right wing legislature had its way, it would repeal the supremacy of judicial rulings and subject them to partisan political review. Disgraceful.
Number two; the judges on the fourth district court of appeal and the Supreme Court deserve retention. They embody diversity and have exemplified judicial grace and wisdom.
Number three, if you are supportive of gay rights and human values protections, the Democratic ticket in Florida has endorsed and embraced your vision, much more so than Republicans. That does not mean all are honest or automatically deserve your vote. Look closely at each race and its candidates.
Unfortunately, even in the year 2012, outside of the incumbent Republican Sheriff in Broward, Al Lamberti, or Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, few on the right side of the aisle back your rights. One more exception might be a local state house candidate, openly gay Scott Herman.
Finally, we would be remiss not to do a shout out for candidate Patrick Murphy, whose gutsy challenge to incumbent congressman Allen West should stir your conscience. Not only has he been exponentially supportive of gay rights, Allen West has been an anathema to us.
Whoever you choose, consider early voting and make your vote count. There are real choices that matter for our future, and it is a far, far better world when we determine our fate by casting ballots rather than shooting bullets. We are fortunate to live in such a society. Make it count. Make it matter.