Holding on to hope

Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: Holding on to hope – Los Angeles Loyolan.

The Final Stretch

Design Credit: Kevin O’Keeffe | The Los Angeles Loyolan

If you bought into the message of hope that President Barack Obama ran on in the 2008 presidential election like I did, the last four years were probably a disappointment. I know I was underwhelmed – an obstructionist Congress and unrealized, sky-high expectations stymied promises of a different kind of presidency. In addition, Obama got far too caught up in the battle over health care, to the detriment of everything else he ran on.

In truth, what we were expecting was too much, and what Obama led us to expect was too unrealistic. So why am I voting for Obama once again? Three reasons: he is still looking out for my interests, he’s significantly better than Governor Mitt Romney and I still believe in his ability to lead this country.

I’m part of two major groups that supported Obama en masse last election: college students and LGBT individuals. From the perspective of a student who wants to be employed two years from now, it would be easy to say that the disappointing unemployment numbers from the last four years would lead me to vote for Romney. However, that would require Romney to have announced a clear and concrete plan to get job numbers up beyond “I was a job creator at Bain Capital.” Which, like so many things, Romney has failed to do.

What hasn’t Romney failed to do? Well, he has not failed to make clear that he would slash Pell Grants, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. As a college student who values an affordable education so I can get one of those jobs Romney promises to create, I’m horrified by Romney’s suggestion.

I’m also horrified that Romney doesn’t support marriage equality, something the President does. When Obama announced his support in March of this year, according to The New York Times, I was originally skeptical of whether his motivations were political and how much he would actually do for marriage equality. He somewhat enforced this with his statement recently that he wouldn’t push marriage equality on a national level, according to an interview with MTV. However, compared to Romney, who defends the archaic and arbitrary Defense of Marriage Act, Obama is far superior.

In fact, in almost every way, Obama is better than Romney, if for no other reason than that he knows what his policies are and can communicate them effectively. Romney has changed his positions so many times on so many different issues that he makes Senator John Kerry, who bore the ‘flip-flopper’ label in the 2004 presidential election, look positively decisive. Does he support a woman’s right to choose? Depends on the day – earlier in the campaign, he said he wouldn’t pursue anti-abortion legislation in an interview with the Des Moines Register. Almost immediately, his campaign “clarified” the remarks by saying that Romney is pro-life, according to The Huffington Post.

What about funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency? Well, in the Republican primaries, he wasn’t a fan, according to The Daily Beast, but he’s been suspiciously silent on the subject since Hurricane Sandy started ravaging the East Coast.

There’s a lot of value in a leader who can stick to his guns, especially when the stakes are as high as they were just last week when Sandy caused a state of emergency. Obama was such a strong leader in that situation that even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a staunch Republican, effusively praised the President. Such leadership was also shown when Osama Bin Laden was taken down – something that caused a spike in Obama’s approval ratings, according toABC News.

The worst thing about all the flip- flopping is that Romney is often adamant that his positions never changed. I can’t see someone like Romney being effective in such a situation, especially when he’s someone who lies about almost everything. Romney just doesn’t strike me as a strong leader in the slightest – but I still believe in Obama’s ability to lead.

I’m aware of how unpopular it is to say that I still have faith in the hope Obama once promised, and I’m not sure I do to the same extent. However, I do know that Obama has the right ideas for this country to continue moving forward. He’s more honest than Romney is, he’s done far more than anyone gives him credit for and I know he wants to finish the job he started in the last four years. I’m ready to give Obama that chance. There is still hope.

I still have hope.


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