Someone I love very much voted for President Obama on Tuesday, but I can't reveal their identity. This person is surrounded by friends who have vocally and stridently supported Mitt Romney.
While Romney's concession speech called for unity and prayer for the president, Republicans from the highest levels of the party to voters on the streets have been less than conciliatory in some cases.
I personally don't mind the nasty backlash I've gotten on Facebook and in personal emails. But for my anonymous loved one, who did their best to make an informed decision, I wanted to put together a list of ideas to keep in mind if the Romney-supporting friends start firing off talking points.
Maybe you, or someone you love, is an anonymous Democrat surrounded by disappointed Republicans. This list is for you:
- First, your vote mattered. We’re learning that the Romney campaign REALLY underestimated and undervalued women, independents and minorities. The Republicans are so unhappy because they totally BELIEVED they were going to win this thing. Republicans didn't trust the math. They didn't believe the national polls (nearly all of which accurately predicted the president’s re-election).
- I assure you, President Obama was born in Hawaii. He’s not a Kenyan.
- Obama is not a “socialist." If he were, he would have a (single-payer) socialized health care. He wouldn't support private/charter schools. He wouldn't advocate tax cuts for businesses. "Socialist" has become a nasty-sounding name that’s supposed to scare people. But if I called you “green,” no matter how nasty it sounds, that doesn't make it true.
- My Republican friends told me the president would take all my freedoms.
- Obama has passed ONE gun law and that was to expand gun usage in national parks and on Amtrak trains. The claim that he will take everyone's guns because he hasn't taken everyone's guns is strange logic.
- Republican secretaries of state attempted to restrict voting in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Republicans shortened early voting hours and tried to pass tough voter ID laws even though there was no evidence of in-person fraud. The Democrats wanted people to vote. High turnout is always good for Democrats.
- NYC Mayor (and multi-millionaire, independent) Michael Bloomberg endorsed Obama. He’ll pay more taxes. He’s cool with that. He’s one of the wealthiest men in the world. I don't think he's considered a fiscal fool by his Republican friends.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY
- Obama wants to raise taxes on married people who make more than $250,000/year. These would be lower than Clinton-era tax levels. Ask yourself how you did during Clinton. That’s how you’ll do under Obama tax policy.
- Your Medicare and Social Security will stay the same as it’s been for four years. Obama found a way to save money by cutting the fat on Medicare through Obamacare. I’ve talked to the people who wrote the law. It doesn’t raise taxes and it protects Medicare.
- I was on food stamps for a very short time right after I graduated from college. I hated it, but I needed the help. Food stamps allowed me to eat so that I could work harder. Welfare didn't make me lazy. It helped me when I needed it. In fact, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the people who benefit most from food stamps are the elderly, the disabled and the working poor. They work and they still need help.
When Romney supporters say Democrats just want “stuff” and we’re “takers," think carefully about all of the Democrats you know.
Most of us want:
- Fair taxes (so that Romney pays at least as much as I do in taxes. Some anaylsts say Romney overpaid in 2011, but normally pays a lot less than middle class Americans)
- Same-sex marriage
- Abortion rights, or at least the right to choose (especially in cases of rape or incest or health of the mother)
- Health care coverage for pre-existing conditions
- Reduced interest rates on college loans
- Disaster relief
- Protection of our national parks (Romney wanted states to have the option to drill for oil and natural gas on national land without federal consent)
During the Democratic National Convention in September, Michelle Obama said, “[President Obama] believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
That goes to the heart of what re-electing President Obama means to me. Good luck with your friends.