Race to the White House

Volume 112, No. 10October, 2012

Election day is Nov. 6, and Local 802 has endorsed Barack Obama. We asked Local 802 members who they’re voting for and why. Here’s what some of you told us…

I was an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama in 2008, and I plan to vote for his re-election in 2012. Like most of my liberal friends, I have been disappointed at some of President Obama’s actions and missed opportunities; but I admire his steadfast determination to remain the dignified, intelligent man he is in the face of the scorn and hostility shown him by Republicans and others who have openly insulted and belittled him. Rampant racism still has a strong place in our society, that is obvious.

The substance of the Republican campaign consists of lies and distortions about the Obama presidency. It is obvious to me that a Romney presidency would be a disaster for our country. Obama needs a strong showing in this election so that he can continue to carry out the mandate given him by the voters. Working people, unite and stand strong for Obama!

Susan Kagan

I’m voting for Obama, because he passed mortgage bills that have actually helped me and many of my friends keep our homes. His weatherization assistance program helped me and many others replace our old boilers, and replace windows. He actually did pass a healthcare plan. He helped to save the American auto industry with the “cash for clunkers” program. He ended a war! The list goes on!

Gregory M. Jones

Americans elected President Obama in 2008 even though he had no experience in the private sector and little experience in the public sector. Today, 23 million people are unemployed or underemployed, we have an additional five trillion dollars in national debt, and we are in the worse economic recovery since the Great Depression. President Obama is not solely responsible for getting us into this mess, but he is responsible for not being able to make it any better in three and a half years. Some will say the Republicans fought him, but the job of every President is to work across party lines. And even when the Democrats had complete control of the White House and both houses of Congress, he still failed to produce anything that stemmed the tide of recession, job loss and debt.

Worst of all, President Obama campaigned that he would bring people together. But the country is more divided than ever. He could have used his office to force both sides of Congress into a compromise health bill with bipartisan support that would stand the test of time, but he did not. The result is a piece of legislation that will remain a source of bitter disagreement and challenges long into the future. Furthermore, the President’s words have divided the American people, pitting poor against rich, demonizing people who are successful, blaming others for failures and fanning the flames of jealousy and envy.

In contrast, Gov. Romney is a proven leader. He has years of experience in the private sector, successfully rescuing and rejuvenating companies and turning around the Olympics, in addition to serving as governor of Massachusetts. During these years, he has shown he can get people to work together for the common good. As a bonus, with Gov. Romney you also get Paul Ryan, a brilliant thinker with a big heart. With President Obama, you get Joe Biden.

Bob Haley

I support President Obama for number of reasons. The most relevant to me are women’s rights, marriage equality and fairness in taxation (billionaires pay their fair share). Also, of course, Obama wouldn’t try to dismantle any union.

Susan Wendelken

I definitely plan to vote for Barack Obama on Nov. 6 because I feel that he has done (or attempted to do) so many things that I see as for the good of our country.

It is also clear to me that – even watered down by Congress as it was – his Affordable Care Act has helped and will continue to help millions of Americans gain access to health insurance.

I believe in the Keynesian economics that got America out of the depression in the 1930s so I was pleased that his stimulus bill (also drastically watered down by Congress) nevertheless created millions of jobs.

It has become evident over the past three years that not even an enlightened and committed president can accomplish many legislative goals over the determined obstruction of a cynical congressional opposition and so I will also vote only for Democrats and independents for House and Senate seats.

Jack Gale

I will vote for Obama and every Democrat on the ballot. Victory for Romney and his party would be a real disaster for our country. Look at what they’ve already done whether in power (as in eight years of Bush) or out of power (as in making sure Congress doesn’t work). The brutal financial powers behind the G.O.P. oppose organized labor at all costs and the populist Tea Party movement (although a million miles from Wall Street) is anti-culture and anti-science. The vision of these forces controlling the most powerful nation the world has ever seen is frightening indeed! Even if you don’t like Obama, think of who we need to keep out of office and vote for him anyway.

Darius Brubeck

I’m voting for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Perhaps America needs to hit rock bottom to shake off the two-party stranglehold that puts the interests of billionaires, the military-industrial complex and empire ahead of its ordinary citizens – the “under $100,000 per year” earners. With the advent of the Internet, there is no reason why we can’t have a true and effective third party now.

Jeffrey Ellenberger

I’m voting for Romney/Ryan because when they reduce the deficit and let America produce and use its natural resources, the country will be solvent, businesses will flourish and music jobs will be plentiful as a result.

Jim Sakofsky

I was born on a plantation in the 1940’s. I lived under the Jim Crow laws, abided by the degrading signs that instructed where people of color could sit, what water fountain to drink out of, that I must ride on the back of the bus, and either walk to or be bused to the black schools distant from our homes even if a white school was closer by.

The world I lived in during the struggle for equal rights to all citizens was a chaotic, dangerous cauldron, see-sawing between vicious racist acts and hard-won victories. We endured jailings, attacks by sheriffs’ dogs, assaults by Fire Department water hoses and assassinations.

Dr. King said long ago that it was not the color of a man’s skin but the content of his character that would presage his greatness. Barack Obama came along with the character, the love, the respect, the gifts that could lead, bless and heal the nation.

Although an embittered and angry Congress refused to work with President Obama in fulfilling his mandate to the American people, I would like to see him complete the work he began.

I don’t see in Romney or Ryan the same content of character or the real concern for individual or national destiny. Both have agendas to get rid of Medicare, which I and seniors nationwide are saved by. Both are woefully out of touch with the day-to-day realities of how women, minorities and poor people live. Romney and Ryan simply want to be in control to advance their own agendas and their own best interests.

Dorothy Goodman

Both Obama and Romney will make us broke by spending money we don’t have on international nonsense instead of helping Americans.

In contrast, Ron Paul wants to cut a trillion dollars out of the budget in the first year without touching any of our social programs by ending all the wars, closing unnecessary military bases and ending unnecessary other foreign aid.

I’ll worry about Paul’s domestic policies once I know we still have a country to worry about. We can’t help anyone else if we’re bankrupt ourselves and we shouldn’t be thinking about helping foreign countries until we’ve taken care of Americans that need help first.

There’s a difference between isolationism and non-interventionism. We’d have better relations with other countries if we didn’t meddle in their internal affairs and just minded our own business.

Being anti-war used to be a liberal Democratic view yet now the only candidate who would end all the wars on his first day in office is a Republican. Very sad.

Gregor Kitzis

I’m voting for President Barack Obama. The choice is very clear: should America be run like a business where only the strong survive, and you’re on your own, or is America’s success based on ideas and collective sharing for the greater good?

President Obama inherited the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, and two wars which have contributed to the economic situation. An analogy of comparing the state of the U.S. is one where a patient needs a treatment regimen to treat cancer, but has a severe case of pneumonia. I would think that you have to get the patient well enough first, in order to survive chemotherapy and related cancer treatment.

Without the stimulus, the demise of the auto industry would have thrown us into a new Great Depression. It is now thriving and workers are being hired. There is a healthcare program now in place that does not allow you to be turned down for pre-existing conditions, keeps children on your insurance till age 26, will close the “doughnut hole” that seniors pay for, and will allow consumers to have real choice when the exchange system opens in 2014.

Contrast this with the Romney/Ryan plan of making Medicare a voucher plan and repealing the Affordable Health Care Act. Another do-it-on-your-own idea like Ryan’s 2005 debacle of making Social Security a private type investment plan. Since 1976, the Republican platform has waged a war on a woman’s right to choose. Ryan – along with my New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett – sponsored a bill to make it a crime and give “personhood” to a fertilized egg. Recently they have tried to wiggle out of their stances. How can you trust the fox to guard the hen house?

Finally, the Republican “loosely” veiled racist voter suppression laws would throw us back to the poll tax days of segregation, and Romney’s questionable tenure with Bain Capital, recently filing for bankruptcy, and part of the shadowy world of private equity has indeed saved some companies, but shut down many others while still reaping millions in fees. His refusal to release more tax returns flies in the face of past Presidential candidates of both parties including his own father. Romney’s saber rattling in foreign affairs harkens back to a Cold War mentality that no longer applies to the post 9/11 world.

Yes, it is a slow recovery. However it’s very clear how President Obama’s effort is forward looking to the present and future, continuing a long tradition of sharing the burden to solve problems that has been a cornerstone of our success as a nation. Our government is the average person’s mouthpiece and you need a combination of private enterprise and government to continue the well-being of the U.S.A.

After all these years of his intellectual shell game, the recent video at a fundraiser for a group of wealthy donors shows us clearly how we finally get to learn what Romney really thinks. Anyone who displays that level of cynicism and contempt for nearly half of his fellow Americans is unfit to serve any public office, let alone the presidency.

Joel Zelnik

I am voting for Barack Obama, Senator Kirsten Gillebrand, Representative Charlie Rangel and – when the time comes – for whoever the Democratic candidates for mayor and other senate and gubernatorial races are. There is simply no other way for me to vote and I hope I can convince a few of you undecided voters to consider what I have to say on that.

What people must understand is that the country doesn’t need a new president: the country needs a new Congress.

We also need to break the stranglehold of tribal warlords, otherwise known as Republican governors, state attorneys general and Supreme Court justices, who are disenfranchising millions of voters and ruining their states’ economies by not putting people to work. Outside of Wall Street, they are the single greatest threat to the citizenry that foreign-raised terrorists could only dream of inflicting on the U.S.

The country is not broke, but it would seem that our legal system is. Our legal rights as women, people of color, and the working class are once again in danger of being taken away by a cadre of ideologues who have been bought and paid for by Big Finance, Big Religion, and Big Insurance (and the Koch brothers).

Now more than ever, it is important to convince your friends and family that there is no other way to vote this fall.

I am spending time this summer helping people in Philadelphia obtain voter IDs because of the new laws passed by Pennsylvania’s evil governor, Tom Corbett.

The right to vote has always been a cornerstone of citizenship, and for some that right is being taken away, along with early voting in order to rig all elections this fall for a Republican sweep.

That is an outrage, and every single legislator who backs those laws should be voted out of office (including “Blue Dog Democrats”).

Super PACs can spend hundreds of millions to spread lies to the lazy and uninformed, but they can’t pull the lever. Much to their dismay, one person still equals one vote, and I urge all of you to pull the levers for the Democratic candidates in all races this fall, especially the local ones.

Sandra Pearson