I want a world where everyone has enough food, adequate housing, decent health care, feels personally safe, and receives a high-quality education. I want my government to play a role in providing that and as anyone can see, my government has let me down.
Despite being reminded by campaigning democrats that the Democratic Party is working towards many of these goals, I have not, by any means, been duped into believing these goals have been achieved. I do, however, maintain a faith in policy solutions and believe that all of these domestic issues are solvable problems. I read the platform of the Green Party and nod my head at the policy solutions the Party supports. I am buoyed by their belief that better policies can work.
So why will I be voting for President Obama in November, rather than voting for presidential candidate Jill Stein, who so clearly represents what I believe in much better than President Obama? Because I live in Virginia, and I believe that Virginia will be critical to Obama winning in November. I am unable to imagine a world where Obama wins, the Green Party simultaneously gains power, and the Republican party loses power. I am stuck believing that every vote that goes to Jill Stein in Virginia will be a vote that does not go to President Obama in Virginia – and the tightness of the race means those votes might be the difference in who carries the state. No matter how the votes are added up, they won’t be enough for Jill Stein to win, so instead of moving the United States to the left, I’ll be party to electing Mitt Romney and taking a step to the right. And I do believe that the domestic policies President Obama supports are to the left of those Mitt Romney supports – so I prefer them.
When I wake up, I see a health care system that is in the process of being overhauled. Am I disappointed in the health care law? Absolutely. I wanted to it to go farther, guaranteeing health care for everyone – and I do not make a distinction based on citizenship status or any other characteristic. The bottom line for me is that health care is a basic human right and beyond that, I benefit personally when my neighbors, co-workers, friends and children’s classmates are healthy. This, of course, sounds a lot like what presidential candidate Jill Stein proposes.
Even in all its imperfections, I believe a world with Obamacare is superior to a world with Romney aiding substantially in the dismantling of Obamacare. The subsidies in Obamacare are far from trivial, and they will result in more people becoming insured. It’s a step in the right direction toward providing universal health care. And I think it’s really rich of me to not be concerned about others losing access to health care, when my own insurance will remain completely intact.
I’ve knocked on doors for Ralph Nader, proudly voted for him, and then sat expectantly waiting for the results of the 2000 election where I was certain Nader would get 5 percent, and the Greens would be on their way to moving the conversation to the left. I lost friends over that vote, and I remain proud of that vote. But I was also relieved when I learned that Virginia was so solidly a red state, that my vote ultimately was used for good (aiding in that magical 5 percent), but did not cost Gore what would have been important electoral votes.
Starting in 2008, Virginia turned blue, and I want to make sure it remains blue. Because I cannot, in good conscience, use my vote to help dismantle the gains that have been made in health care. For my friends who vote in solidly blue or red states, I beg them to support the Green Party and turn this country to the left. But my vote will likely be for Obama – unless someone can convince me otherwise.