I fulfilled my civic duty today. One of them, since of course voting is just the first step in being a good citizen. NY only has early voting for good cause, but when I explained I get easily overwhelmed (this is putting it mildly) by crowds they took that as a medical/psychological excuse why election-day voting was too burdensome. Thank you, NY Board of Elections – I would have done it but you spared me a major ordeal by being a bit flexible.
After all my angsting over who to vote for, whether to vote, I ended up voting for Obama. A few basic reasons:
1. I am at heart an inside critic. I’d rather find a broad, somewhat influential group I agree with broadly and then work from within to try to fix the things I disagree. As long as there’s something worth saving, and I think there is much worth trying to safe with the Democratic party.
2. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a boy I knew who died from a brain tumor that I was very close to, and the work that drew me to do at Sloan Kettering. Specifically the many families bankrupted by medical costs that exceeded their insurance plans. I believe in my heart of hearts that if you get sick we as a society care for you, and we don’t let you go broke trying to pay for that care. Even if it means healthy people pay for sick peoples’ care, directly or indirectly. The ACA isn’t perfect, but it’s the best tool we have to make sure healthy people are paying into the pool so it’s there when they need it. Right now it’s very important to preserve it, and that means having a Democrat who can veto any attempts to repeal it before parts of it take affect.
3. This year’s race is close, and I’m just old enough to remember Ralph Nader. We can’t afford a repeat of that.
Plus, judges. There’s simply too much relying on the judicial branch these days and too many federal judgeships that need filling. I’ve looked at some of the candidates Romney would likely be considering and that also helped push me over the edge.
All of which means I felt voting for Obama was the right thing to do this year. Granted, I am in New York so my vote will likely mean nothing in practice, but it is good to feel like a citizen in good standing.I did introduce myself to the Green party and voted for all of their candidates down ticket – not because I was voting straight ticket but because they seemed the best for the job. This doesn’t mean I’m a dyed in the wool Democrat by any stretch – now it’s time to begin that internal critique I was talking about. I’d lovely to see the Democrat party move toward the Green party, and I’ll be looking for ways to make that happen on the local level.
Don’t you forget to vote! And don’t think that’s the end of the story once you do – there’s more work to do.