High school teacher: Obama has my vote

NEED TO KNOW
  • Karen Johnson is a Democratic voter from Atlanta, Georgia
  • She says she's casting her ballot for Barack Obama this year
  • She believes in Obama's vision for America: 'He shares my social beliefs regarding equity, choice and change'
President Barack Obama has got the vote of Democratic voter Karen Johnson.
Karen Johnson

Editor’s note: Karen Johnson is a high school government and economics teacher. She is a Democratic voter from Atlanta, Georgia. To hear from a Republican voter, click here.

As the outcome of this election “malarkey” inevitably comes to a close, I find that I am trying to distract myself. I am nervous, I am overwhelmed and I am tired.

As someone who usually presents herself as an undecided voter, I found that there was no indecision on my part this time around. When I present my point of view on social issues, people assume that I am a Democrat. This is generally true: I lean left on most things social. I believe that every citizen should have equal access to high-quality, affordable healthcare. I am staunchly pro-choice and believe that women should have the power and the means to make choices regarding their reproductive health. I believe that no one should be denied the right to marry the person they love.

As a former teacher, I have observed that a “One Size Fits All” approach to education is a failing one and that some students will simply never succeed in the classroom environments they are given. I believe that the wealthy have a moral and social obligation to help those in need by paying more in taxes. That being said, I also believe that personal responsibility and a strong work ethic can lead to success in life. This ideal is the basis of our American spirit.

While I understand that the economy has been a central focus of this election, I resent the implication that social issues do not matter—they absolutely matter. Social issues help to drive the economy. Social issues affect average Americans in their everyday lives. Social issues define America. I will not ignore my social beliefs for the economic policies of a man who has never known what it’s like to live check-to-check simply because he offers tax breaks to wealthy Americans and might be able to jump-start corporations and their profit margins. If the previous statement is any indication, I will not be voting for Gov. Romney.

Mitt Romney is a smart and successful businessman. Four years ago, I liked him. He was poised, polite, intelligent and most importantly, a moderate. Sadly, the things I liked about Gov. Romney have disappeared during that sham of a Republican primary and throughout the general election. He continually panders to the Conservative Christian base of the Republican primary and this fact befuddles me. He already has the nomination. He already has a conservative running mate. Now, I want to see who Romney really is.

Gov. Romney has clearly expressed that he is primarily concerned with the 6% of voters who remain undecided (and more moderate than their decided counterparts). Yet the governor has repeatedly alienated almost every social group in the country besides white males. As a Republican governor, he supported a woman’s right to choose and helped pass legislation that afforded healthcare to every citizen of Massachusetts. Where is that Mitt Romney? This Mitt Romney changes his platform in order to placate as many people as he possibly can in order to win votes. The other Mitt Romney pretends to understand and empathize with the Middle Class. I can’t keep track. Yet his tactics seem to be working. It’s astonishing: In 2004, the Republicans gleefully called this tactic “flip-flopping.” Such short memories. I desperately want to know who the real Mitt Romney is.

At this point, I strongly believe that the majority of the Republican base doesn’t care who Mitt Romney is. They are simply voting against Barack Obama. This realization saddens me. To be quite honest, I haven’t been thrilled with the president’s performance these past four years. He has made mistakes, as many presidents do. I feel that he could have been more effective, especially in economic policy.

Still, I believe in his vision for America. He shares my social beliefs regarding equity, choice, and change. He has been diplomatic, thoughtful, and decisive when making foreign policy decisions. I respect him tremendously.

Truthfully, I am incredibly nervous about this election. I don’t see America the way that Mitt Romney sees it. Frankly, I don’t like the America Mitt Romney has envisioned. I’m still not even sure what his true vision is. We may soon find out.  

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