November 6 is almost here and the outcome will most certainly determine the long-term direction of our country. It will tell the world exactly who we are as an American People. It is perhaps as defining for the direction of our nation as the Civil War and uncannily the lines of demarcation are almost the same—the South against the North.
This weekend President Obama said the election is no longer about the candidates, it is about us—the voters. He is right; we are determining the future of America and the future of our children…and how the world views us. As with the Civil War, some are driven by economics, some by loyalty, and some by quest for individual rights. But it is about so much more than that.
As a woman, as a working middle class employee, as an African American, as a person nearing retirement, and as a veteran, I am scared to death of the possible outcome. I don’t mean concerned or reasonably fearful. I mean absolutely scared to death. I am afraid of Mitt Romney and what his election says about my beloved America—even the closeness of the race is disturbing. Because of how our system works, I am not so fearful about what he might do as President (that is, aside from the Supreme Court appointments) but I am fearful of what it means about how far we have come on so many issues—women’s rights, civil rights, education, race relations, separation of church and state, fair elections, integrity in our leaders, but mostly our world leadership toward democracy. It is a fight for our future versus a fight for the past.
I remember as a child sitting with my father watching water hoses being turned on some black people. I remember as asking, “Why do they hate us so?” And Dad’s response was, “Baby, I don’t know.” Today the fight is not just about race, it is about anyone who is not wealthy; it is about the undesirable 47 percent-those who benefit from Social Security, unemployment benefits, government retirement benefits, FEMA, etc. The world is watching.
I have watched scare tactics with our voting, people with signs saying “It’s the White House,” the rollback of early voting (which by the way hinders all hourly working voters), election machine/software irregularities, voter registration constraints, and the world is watching.
We have a candidate who has flip-flopped and outright lied throughout his candidacy and almost 50 percent of the electorate is turning a blind eye. And then, in this last effort he lied to American autoworkers who just came through a frightful period where he did not support throwing them a lifeline. So he scares these people—these Americans. The world is watching.
If you lie to and suppress the voting rights of your own, and protect the wealthy at all cost, then how can we be the leaders of democracy around the world. What must world leaders who support democracy be thinking? They are probably just as scared as I. You see, Mitt Romney is using tactics that we as a country have fought against in other countries as they found their way to democracy. You see, this election is about so much more than economics, loyalty and even the pursuit of individual rights—it is about the dimming of our light to the world.
We cannot let this happen.