Why this independent is voting DemocratPublished 7:01am Monday, October 25, 2010
David Larson, Power for Living
“It’s common for Americans to vote against their own best interest.”
Over the years I have refrained from joining any political party in order to sustain some sense of objectivity in evaluating the issues. By remaining a political independent, I have discovered I can hear facts, that in belonging to either the Republican or Democratic parties I might be unable to acknowledge. Besides, perhaps like many of you, the personal attacks and negativity that have become standard campaigning protocol by members of both parties represent a style of leadership I do not support.
This year, however, I have decided to vote primarily for Democrats. I would like to tell you why.
I have been particularly observant of a momentum toward conservatism in recent months that has surprised me a bit, especially considering both historical perspectives and the recent realities we’ve been experiencing as a nation.
What President Obama has been able to accomplish in his short time in office has been jaw-droppingly amazing to me. Out of dozens of achievements that could be highlighted, I cite here only a few:
- Sweeping health care reform that allows millions of Americans to receive the health care they need, while putting sick people previously unable to work back on the job to pay taxes and help reduce our debt.
- Implementing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to prevent any more bailouts.
- Ending the war in Iraq.
- Successfully confronting the banks and credit card companies in providing consumer protection through the Credit Card Reform Act.
- Restoring the image of America abroad by becoming again a team player with other nations.
- Taking serious steps to promote the long-awaited United States’ participation in a worldwide focus on addressing global warming.
- Putting more than 2 million people back to work and bringing into reality the building of bridges, repairing of roads, funding education, promoting alternative energy resources and providing incentives for new forms of massive transit through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
- Fully funding the Veterans Administration and providing compassion and long-overdue funding to families of fallen soldiers.
- Saving the failing auto industry while keeping thousands of Americans employed and Americans buying American-made.
- Delivering a stimulus package that provided a tax cut to 95 percent of American workers.
- Presiding over a gain of more than 22 percent in the stock market.
- Orchestrating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement Review with 47 other nations, moving us as a world out of stalemate into international cooperation toward eliminating nuclear weapons from the planet.
- Expanded loans for small businesses, programs to protect the environment, college aid funding for needy students and improved Medicare coverage for seniors.
In checking through sources such as Politifact.com, I was reminded that Obama has fulfilled 122 of his campaign promises in less than two years.
In addition, seven of 10 economic indicators have improved since Obama began taking action, showing signs of a true economic recovery. (BusinessWeek)
This, in my mind, is remarkable achievement.
Though there is still much work ahead, our forgetfulness and impatience can easily mislead us. Remember, it took Clinton five years to turn the largest national deficit in history into a surplus. If Clinton’s plan had been allowed to continue, the projected national debt was to have been eliminated by 2010 (yes, now). However, George W. Bush, in his first year of office, immediately reversed this surplus by way of new tax cuts to the rich — 70 percent of federal tax-cut money went to the top 2 percent of wealthiest Americans (New York Times).
We have been struggling to recover ever since. Since George W.’s deficit spending was three times that of his father’s, Obama’s challenge is greater than Clinton’s. It is reasonable to expect it will take a while to turn this deficit around.
But the problem has not only been recent. It has, in fact, been consistent. Since the 1960s, the last four Democratic presidents have brought the deficit down, while the last four Republican presidents have increased the deficit substantially. In fact, as MSNBC reported, two-thirds of our total national debt was created during the reign of the last three Republican presidents — more than twice as much as all other U.S. presidents combined. Despite the fact that Republicans like to tote an image that they are good at controlling spending, history shows that they consistently outspend their Democratic counterparts.
It’s not that Democrats don’t spend money. However, they tend to spend it on things that respond to human need, improve the economy and create jobs. (Remember, Bill Clinton created more jobs than any other president in history — more than 22 million).
We need to keep philosophies in government that represent progress, not set-back. That’s why this year, I am supporting demonstrated effective policy by voting Democratic.
Many Republicans have good ideas. The Republican strategies, however, need to be tempered by historically demonstrated Democratic compassion and effectiveness, and a continued “yes we can,” not “no we won’t” thinking.
Unless we can commit to voting at the polls from reason and thoughtfulness, instead of from fear and hype, it’s possible we may once again end up voting against our own best interest.
David Larson, M.S., C.P.C.C., is a licensed psychologist, life coach, and leadership trainer. He can be contacted at the Institute For Wellness, 507-373-7913, or at his website, www.callthecoach.com.