From the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
From the Constitution of the United States of America
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
One thing that always struck me about the how these documents were worded is that I strongly believe our founding fathers recognized that what they would create would need to be not only an enduring bedrock of our nation but also a living, growing organism that would need to change as the nation and times change. The phrase “in order to form a more perfect Union” to me says we will constantly strive to reach that goal. I strong feel that they carefully chose these founding words to expand rights and not to restrict, or take away rights. We have seen those rights expand through the writing of the Constitution itself with the Bill of Rights, through the Women’s Rights movement, through the Civil Right Movement, and we should continue to move towards expanding rights.
Some reasons why I cast my vote in favor of President Barack Obama:
In Support of ‘Life’:
- Life includes the quality of life for all, which includes not only improved healthcare, but universal access to that healthcare.
- Life includes ensuring we are good stewards of our environment, to make sure we continue to have clean air and water. It also means looking not only at increasing our energy production in environmentally sound ways, but also looking at becoming more efficient in our energy consumption.
In Support of ‘Liberty’:
- Liberty includes not having an oppressive government controlling many personal decisions. But liberty is also a balance between those personal freedoms and the general welfare of communities that form our union.
- Liberty includes expanding the rights and equality of all citizens of the United States of America and not just those of people who agree with your own personal ideology.
- Liberty includes expanding women’s rights, including very personal decisions that involve our own choices on reproduction. I am pro-life much as Thomas Friedman states much more eloquently in his article, Why I am Pro-Life. I am pro-choice because I believe I have the right to make the most informed decision that affects my health and my body. I am NOT pro-abortion and therefore believe that the best way to reduce abortions is not through over-regulation but rather through comprehensive education and affordable access to healthcare (which includes preventative measures).
- Liberty includes expanding voter rights, for if we truly want to call ourselves a democracy then restricting these rights works against that.
The Pursuit of Happiness can include many, many things.
- The Pursuit of Happiness includes equal and affordable access to education.
- The Pursuit of Happiness includes the right to marry the person you love, regardless of that person’s gender, race, or religion. There was a time that marrying outside your religion was supposed to destroy the foundation of marriage and that didn’t happen. There was a time that interracial marriages were supposed to destroy the foundation of marriage and that didn’t happen. It is time to realize that same sex marriages will also not destroy the foundation of marriage.
- The Pursuit of Happiness includes livable wages and opportunities for gainful employment. This is also tied to education, not only higher education, but vocational and technical education as well. There are way too many jobs out there that can’t be filled because people lack the necessary skills or training.
There is also justice, which means examining outdated laws, reducing the prison populations, and keeping the Supreme Court politics neutral. There is domestic tranquility that includes being a strong union, but also leading in a disruptive global setting. Providing for the common defence has been fairly safe for quite some time. Even with the argument of military spending cuts, I want to see spending cuts in unnecessary military contracts and not cuts in the support of our troops. Promote the General Welfare includes increasing research, supporting PBS and NPR, improving education, healthcare, etc. Above all though, Promoting the General Welfare means expanding rights and not restricting rights.
Those are just some of the things that led me to vote for our current President, President Barack Obama.