Sep 11, 2012

From the Chair: Why Should I Vote for Democrats?

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The Republican National Convention and so is the Democratic National Convention.  The latest polls are out and President Obama got a bump from the convention and some wonderful speakers who laid out the stark difference between he and Mitt Romney.  President Clinton did an outstanding job of dissecting the falsehoods of the Romney/Ryan campaign, but he was not the only speaker that drove home the importance of knowing the facts and conveying them to voters between now and the election.

By stark contrast, Romney got almost no bump from the RNC or his choice of Paul Ryan. Ryan’s policies are so extremely to the right that most Independents don’t agree with him and that is very good for Democrats as we go into the last two months before this election.  With hard work and dedication, we can make a real difference, but we still have a lot to do.

The week before the convention President Obama asked his schedulers why he had a short day.  Only three stops!  He wanted to know why he wasn’t busy from sun up to sun down every day until the election.  President Obama is determined to win and we need to do everything we can to help him meet his goal of going back to the White House for four more years, but we can’t stop there.  We also need to make sure that Governor Kaine heads to the U. S. Senate, and our great Congressional candidates across the state go to the House of Representatives.

Why is it important that President Obama get another term, and as many Democrats to go to Washington as possible?  There are many reasons; here are some basic ones:

1)      Four Supreme Court justices will turn 80 during the next four years.  The balance on the Supreme Court now leans to the Right with four progressive justices, four conservative justices, and one typically centrist justice who often votes with the conservatives.  The winner of this Presidential election will more than likely replace several of those justices and could potentially influence votes for 30+ years on the court.

2)      Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, has opposed hate crimes legislation, opposed ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, opposed marriage equality, opposed transgender related legislation, opposed protecting LGBTQ youth, and has opposed same sex parenting rights while he has been in the House of Representatives the last twelve years.  He has a perfect 0 when it comes to supporting our community.  That is while voting to support both wars and all the spending associated with them proposed by the Bush administration.

3)      Romney’s stances have varied so much that it is unclear where he really stands on many positions, and he has put forth no clear plan himself for the budget deficit, improving health care for all Americans, and many other fiscally important issues.  He does however oppose marriage equality, would bring back Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and is not supportive of most other LGBT important issues.

4)      The Republican Party, in its Republican Platform, doesn’t just call for the Defense of Marriage Act to stand, but actually states, “We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.”  Yes, that is right, Republicans would enshrine in the Constitution of the United States the discrimination that we have in our state constitution here in Virginia.  No state would be able to legally allow marriage between same sex partners.

5)      The Republican Platform also states “We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.”  This position means that they support the denial of abortion services to all women even in the case of rape or incest.  In fact Paul Ryan, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, has supported legislation that would outlaw all abortion regardless of situation.  Women would have no rights in the case of rape, incest or even the life of the mother.

6)      The Republican Platform also states that “Voter fraud is political poison.”  The truth is that voter fraud is rare. The new laws passed by Tea Party led Republicans in swing states across the country focus on requiring picture IDs for voters, disenfranchising predominately poor, inner city, and elderly voters that have no access to get picture IDs or no need because they do not drive.  The goal of this movement by the Republicans is not to protect our voter integrity but to limit populations that would be more inclined to vote for Democrats.  Virginia passed a voter ID law this year.  You will need to bring some sort of identification to the polls with you this year.

7)      The Republican Platform supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Outer Continental Shelf, and even in more coastal areas near our beaches, bays, and rivers.  Yes, that even means opening drilling right off of our shores here in Virginia and exposing our own Chesapeake Bay to the ravages of oil spills such as those that have occurred in the GulfCoast and in Alaska.

We can go on and on with the extreme positions of this Republican ticket and the Republican Platform.  Many independent reviewers have called this platform the most extreme right platform ever supported by a major party ever in the history of theUnited States.  The list of extreme views goes on and on, and we have our own Governor McDonnell to thank, as he headed the Republican Platform Committee.

We also have to mention that the budget plan of Paul Ryan would dismantle Medicare as we know it, potentially ending the program for everyone under 55, while reducing taxes on the wealthy and raising them on the lower and middle classes.  And this is with taxes already at the lowest percentage rate they have been for the wealthy since WWII.  Romney has said that his plan and Ryan’s are very similar, although he has not produced a plan as specific as Ryan’s plan and has no intention of doing so before the election.

By contrast, the Democratic Platform provides acceptance, inclusion, fairness, and a sound pragmatic approach to our deficit, controlling spending, and maintaining Social Security and Medicare, as well as Medicaid programs.  It would not cut spending to Planned Parenthood, the arts, National Public Radio, or public television, and it would not dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education.  Mitt Romney has said that he supports all these cuts and more so that the budget can be balanced, but he will not raise taxes on the wealthy one dollar.

Earlier this year, the Democratic Party of Virginia passed a resolution supporting marriage equality put forward by the LGBT Democrats of Virginia.  Many state parties, local committees, and organizations across the country also have called for marriage equality.  On August 11, 2012, the Democratic Party Platform Committee unanimously approved language expressing support of marriage equality.  This stand, and the stand of President Obama earlier this year to support marriage equality, is a sharp contrast to the views of the Republican Party which they codified in their party platform.

Please make sure that you register to vote, find out all the facts, talk to others and motivate them to register, VOTE, and support the party and the candidates that will speak for you!  We have a profoundly important choice in November.  We can return to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place, and extreme discriminatory policies from the past, or we can move FORWARD!

Maggie Sacra, Chair, LGBT Democrats of VA Caucus