I am writing you this letter on the eve of the 2012 presidential election. Your mother and I are most excited, as expectant first time parents, about your arrival into the world and the ways our lives (your mother's and mine) are soon to change in the most wonderful ways. I cannot explain precisely what compels me to write this letter. I can only imagine what the world will look like through your eyes 20 years from now when you cast your first general election vote for the next President of the United States in 2032. There are some things that you will probably have a hard time fathoming. For example, you will never know a United States that has only elected white men to the highest executive office in the land. You will also never know a United States that has only had men preside as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
But what I want to share with you tonight is what we fight for when we go to the polls tomorrow.
1. The notion and principle that all Americans should be able to receive affordable health care coverage. (I know that in the year 2032 that it seems crazy that there was ever a time during which that was an issue. But in 2012, both the reality and the very ideal hung in the balance.)
2. The concept that women should have the freedom to make reproductive health decisions with the advice and counseling of their physicians and without the intervention/interference of nonsensical government policies written by men who know not the first thing about the reproductive health of women. (Seems like a no-brainer, right? It was on the line in 2012.)
3. The ideal of America as a beacon to immigrants who want to work hard and make better lives for themselves and their families. (You would think that anyone who has ever seen the Statue of Liberty would get this one right. Mary, in 2012, there were a lot of people who were just blind to the Lady's torch light.) Believe it or nor, for a time we denied citizenship rights to kids who were brought to this country, pledged the flag from the time they could talk, and knew no other country as their home but America. It seems backwards writing it now. I can only imagine how it must strike you, Mary.
4. Science. (In 2012, one party was just absolutely against it. Incredible, I know.)
5. Gay marriage. (Unbelievable to you in 2032, I know. But at one time, this was actually an issue.)
6. The notion that every American should pay his or her fair share. You know, as a son of the rural south, you would think that the parable of talents would ring somewhat familiar to the concept of paying your fair share. But there was a time when Prince John and the Sherriff of Nottingham wrote our tax code/policy.
7. A pragmatic internationalist approach to foreign policy. (Mary, I hope you don't know a world with ongoing mid-intensity conflicts and constant saber rattling by neo-cons.)
8. The notion that the right to vote is a sacred, fundamental right. Believe it or not, in 2012, there were people trying to make voting more difficult. What's worse, a lot of the obstacles thrown up had a disparate disenfranchising effect on minority populations.
9. A belief in the affordability of higher education for all Americans. (I hope that rings true, wherever you are studying when
you read this letter.)
10. A belief in each other. Believe it or not, there was a candidate who thought that Ayn Rand's objectivism was the right prescription for our country.
Mary, all of those reasons are important, but that is not why we are voting for President Obama. We are voting for Barack Obama in the morning for one, simple reason.
Your adoring father