Last week I filled out my absentee ballot, covered it with stamps bearing the likeness of His Holiness John Paul II, and mailed it to the US via the Vatican post office. This marks the second time I've voted in a presidential election from abroad. I can honestly say I've never voted Democrat across the board with such a clear conscience.
Two years ago I was so disappointed with Obama that I was ready to give up and vote third party in this election. It's too soon to know how history will remember his first (and possibly only) term, but if I were writing the books, I'd convey it as the biggest missed opportunity in American history. The guy surfed into the White House on a tidal wave of support, and while he may have inherited W's mess, he also walked in while the Democrats controlled both branches of Congress. He had all the gun powder. People were pissed off at the Republicans, and they were ready for a revolutionary. We know they were because he campaigned as a revolutionary, and won in the biggest landslide the Democrats had seen in over thirty years. Unfortunately, while his campaign slogan was Yes We Can, the motto of his administration has been Well, Maybe...If That's OK With Everyone Else. Instead of jumping at the chance to push through the legislation that his voter-base wanted, he wasted two years reaching out for an impossible bipartisanship, at the expense of alienating the people who put him in office in the first place. By the end of 2010, I figured that if he's going to cave to conservative pressure every step of the way, I may as well take the opportunity to voice my discontent, and send the message to the Democrats that merely not being a Republican is not enough.
But that was 2010. After that I spent a year listening to Perry, Bachmann and Santorum sound off on birth control and butt sex. I also had the privilege of overhearing their audience cheer for executions, boo a gay marine, and shout to let the uninsured die. And as usual, their ever-vile cheerleaders amplified their greed, bigotry, misogyny, and sheer ignorance in no uncertain terms. Standing next to that, how can Obama not still look like a beacon of light? A boyfriend with erectile dysfunction who forgets your birthday is still better than a husband who beats you.
But let's be objective for a second and think about what the guy HAS accomplished. Under his direction we pulled our troops out of Iraq and put a deadline on Afghanistan. He repealed DADT, and for the first time in American history, a sitting president voiced support for gay marriage. The DOW doubled, and unemployment is currently at a four-year low. GM is on top of the auto industry, and Bin Laden is at the bottom of the sea. Most significantly, he passed health care reform. To be sure, the Affordable Care Act is lukewarm and faulty and falls dramatically short of his campaign promise. Nevertheless it's a big step towards universal coverage, and it's certainly more than the Republicans did in the eight years they were in power. All this happened despite over four hundred filibusters, and two years with a House full of idiot children, stamping their feet and shouting NO every step of the way. Just think of what he could do if we gave him a Congress who would actually work with him.
Is the guy's record immaculate? No. Are we better off now than we were four years ago? Absolutely. For all his faults, Obama really is the best chance we have of achieving progressive change in the near future. Otherwise it's more tax cuts for billionaires, mandatory vaginal probes for women, and a big fucking anal probe for the working and middle classes.