Election 2012: The American Dream

Cross Posted on Saira Says

Barack Obama embodies the American Dream, in every way. The same dream that has brought millions upon millions to this country year after year– the dream of achieving a better future.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to a white woman, Ann Dunham, and a black man, Barack Obama Sr., in 1961. Back then he would’ve been known as mulatto, today he’s interracial. Though he’s part white, we can reasonably say that Barack Obama Jr. is a minority. Obama Sr. left his family asoon after Obama Jr. was born. Ann Dunham, a single mother, remarried roughly four years later. Though Obama Jr. was born in Hawaii, he spent parts of his life in Indonesia. He’s experienced other cultures and had a diverse upbringing. He didn’t grow up wealthy and attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, on a scholarship. He did well in school and attended Occidental College after high school, he continued to excel in academia and after two years, transferred to Columbia University. And the rest is history. Kind of.

Ann Dunham died of cancer in 1995. As Barack Obama recalls:

I remember my mother. She was 52 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn’t thinking about getting well. She wasn’t thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn’t sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition. I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it’s like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it’s wrong. It’s not who we are as a people.[52]

Though Dunham’s employer-provided health insurance that covered most of the costs of her medical treatment, she was left with payingnearly hundreds of dollars a month due to the deductible and uncovered expenses. She was denied  employer-provided disability insurance because the insurance company said her cancer was a preexisting condition.

So why do I think Barack Obama’s life represents America so beautifully? He’s a black boy born to a single white mother during a time of civil upheaval. He knows and experienced struggle and with the help of scholarships he was able to attend some of the greatest universities in the United States and went on to become the President of the United States. That ladies and gentlemen is the epitome of the American Dream. It’s the ability to break social and socioeconomic barriers.

I’ve seen this concept of the American Dream in play. I have relatives and loved ones that came from very poor backgrounds and because of their commitment to a better life and the concept that hard work truly pays off in this nation, they were able to break into the upper tier of socio-economic class. The fact that we have a president who embodies the true nature of America and what it can give you, makes me a very happy woman. Our president right now isn’t the privileged son of a wealthy family who considers struggle living off of investment returns, he’s a man who overcame his disadvantages for a better future. He worked hard to get there and as a minority myself, that is something I truly admire.

These aren’t reasons to vote for the man in the 2012 election.

Barack Obama is by no means the perfect president. In fact, I’m not sure if there is a such thing as a perfect president because at the end of the day, president’s are merely humans who are just as capable to mistakes and errors in judgment. I do believe, however, that Barack Obama is a good and kindhearted man who truly has the best interest of others in mind. He cares about the 47% of this nation that is on some sort of government assistance, unlike his counter part who scorns government assistance and who by his own admission, doesn’t care about them. Barack Obama surely doesn’t parade around in different colored make-up to alter his appearance to cater to different  audiences.

The Affordable Care Act wasn’t a ploy to turn America into a socialist nation, it wasn’t a way of recreating the  Third Reich here, it stemmed from what he saw his mother go through and his determination that no woman, man, or child should be denied healthcare due to financial reasons and “preexisting” conditions.

He doesn’t base his domestic policy off of religious principles and doctrine but on the notion of equality and actually doing some good. While laws based on religious teachings seem infallible, they exclude, discriminate, and rob people of their civil liberties. He’s repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and contrary to what many conservatives stomped their feet about, there has been no negative impact on the military because of it. He’s made birth control easier to access and is the first president to openly support same-sex marriage. He’s been working to reform Wall Street and take back some of the many fiscal liberties that were afforded to them, and helped repair the US auto industry– to name a few things.

As I mentioned before, Barack Obama isn’t the perfect president. While his domestic policy is clearly progressive, his foreign policy is murderous.
According to the  Bureau of Investigative Journalism there have been an estimated 2,562-3,325 drone-related deaths in Pakistan killing between 474-881 innocent men, women, and children, 357-1,022 in Yemen, and 58-169 in Somalia. But unfortunately, this horrible foreign policy will not change under a new president. Not when, according to the US government, covert drone strikes are successful. By successful they mean they are able to eliminate targets using drones, the most recent being eliminating Badaruddin Haqqani of the Haqqani Network.

So now what? Those of us who care about foreign policy and innocent lives are faced with a conundrum. Do we vote for Barack Obama? Do we vote for Mitt Romney? Do we not vote at all?

Though I can’t speak for others, for me the choice is clear. I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.

This isn’t an ideal election nor do we have an  ideal candidates but when all is said and done, we’re going to end up with one or the other whether we vote or not. I can do my duty by voting for the man that may not have the best foreign policy (or even close to it) but at least won’t rob me and others of our civil liberties. He won’t work to make the socioeconomic class divide greater. I can vote for a man that will attempt to lead a nation where the American Dream is still alive, where people can still get the financial help they need and get through college and work towards better futures. A nation where the healthcare we receive isn’t defined by supposed “preexisting conditions”. Or I could not vote and risk getting a man who will not only continue on the line of the Obama Administration’s drone warfare but will also support more wars, and continue the detention of American citizens. Obama’s counter part will limit women’s access to birth control and abortion, he will lead with religious doctrine, he will continue to discriminate against people based on who they love and are attracted to, and worst of all, he will make it harder and harder for people with backgrounds like Barack Obama’s (regardless of whether they are Democrat’s, Republican’s, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, or apolitical) to achieve the American Dream. He’s said so himself: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Keeping all this mind, register to vote and make sure you make it to your polling station in time on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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