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Obama's Re-Election, Say Amen

I was an Obama voter in 2008, and there are certainly issues I wish I'd seen him pay more attention to--primarily the immigration reform he promised.

Barely a month ago, I started attending a Methodist church in my neighborhood. Like other majority-black churches here in Washington, D.C., the topic of the election was never far from anyone's minds--or their prayers. The foremost request: the re-election of President Barack Obama.

I haven't gone to a Hispanic church in years, so I don't know if the subject's arisen in the same way there or not. But the prayers of my African-American Methodist neighbors showed them to be deeply worried about the prospect of a change of occupant in the White House.

In moments like this, the separation of church and state is dwarfed by other concerns--in this case, the turmoil a potential Mitt Romney presidency could provoke in a number of social, educational and health-care programs which could be affected by proposed Republican cuts (in the name of reducing the deficit), or by Romney's promise to repeal "Obamacare," a law which has given access to health care to 9 million previously-uninsured Latinos.

I--as a Latina voter and a registered independent--share those concerns.

The minute I set foot in this country from Puerto Rico I registered as an independent. Many moons, and many elections, have passed since then, and I've voted for candidates of both parties. I reject the blinders of partisanship: I look at the candidates for themselves and their proposals.

And it's been several years since any Republican ticket has made me as uneasy as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan do.

I'm disgusted by Romney's fickleness, his resemblance to a weathervane shifting in the wind. I don't see conviction in him. His immigration policies worry me, as does the company he keeps. Take his choice of Arizona law SB 1070 author Kris Kobach as his immigration advisor--or of Kobach's "attrition through enforcement" policy, in which harsh laws and aggressive policing are used to induce immigrant workers to "self-deport", as the cornerstone of his campaign's immigration policy.

I'm offended by his profession that he doesn't have to concern himself with the 47 percent of the country that doesn't pay taxes--saying they consider themselves "victims"--without thinking who that 47 percent includes, like the troops that Romney and the Republicans praise so much. It infuriates me to think that his policies would benefit the wallets of his billionaire colleagues at the expense of the middle class and the poor.

Ryan, for his part, made me wary before he was chosen as Romney's running mate--when, as a rising Republican star, he proposed a budget that would (once again) find the savings to reduce the budget deficit in cuts to the programs most needed by the country's working class and its minorities.

Ryan wants Social Security privatized and Medicare cut. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the Ryan budget, as passed by the House of Representatives in March 2012, made 62 percent of its cuts (about $3.3 trillion) to programs for the "have-nots"--including Medicaid, Pell Grants, and others. 

Nor do I like the war drums I keep hearing whenever either half of the Republican ticket starts talking about Iran or Syria. I remember too well George W. Bush's insistence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and therefore we had to intervene--and we all know how that turned out.

I was an Obama voter in 2008, and there are certainly issues I wish I'd seen him pay more attention to--primarily the immigration reform he promised. I've criticized him for expanding controversial programs of collaboration with state and local authorities in immigration enforcement, which have been one cause of the rise in deportation rates under his presidency. But I also understand that advancing a proposal on the scale of immigration reform requires both parties--and the last thing Obama has had over the last four years has been bipartisan cooperation.

I'm saddened by the slow pace of the economic recovery and by the continued scourge of unemployment, but I understand that much of what's going on in the economy today is a response to the failed economic policies implemented during the Bush presidency, and of the two Bush wars (in Afghanistan and Iraq) that helped create the deficit.

Another thing that worries me: in the four years since Obama's historic election, we've seen a new chapter unfold in this country's dark history of racism, which is even more visible now on many fronts than it was in 2008. The campaign has energized a right-wing base that, while they may not be enthusiastic about Mitt Romney himself, sees the opportunity to remove Obama from office. In the words of Jason Thompson, son of Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin: "we have the opportunity to send Barack Obama back to Chicago--or Kenya."

Whatever disillusionment I have toward Obama pales beside the dispiriting image of Romney and Ryan in the White House.

And so, when I go to my neighborhood church, every time I hear a prayer for Obama, for his reelection and for the chance to complete his agenda, I say: Amen.

Maribel Hastings is senior advisor to America's Voice

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jean L November 05, 2012 at 05:22 PM
why is this listed under 'local voices' in the Los Gatos Patch when the writer is a resident of Washington, DC?
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Hi Jean, most of the blogs on Los Gatos Patch are hyper local, but Maribel Hastings blogs for AOL and submits her posts to LG Patch to run on all Silicon Valley Patch sites. Disclaimer, Hastings is a dear former colleague of mine from our days at La Opinion, in Los Angeles. Hope you like the post. If you don't, you're welcome to write one in response or submit a letter to the editor. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz November 05, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Voted quite awhile ago. But Obama lost my vote this year. Not to crazy about Mitt either. I just really want to see Tuesday come & go. Has really brought out the very worst in people...
Mondy Lariz November 05, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Very well written and very accurate as far as I am concerned. The only missing thing is how far women's issues will be setback in a Romney Presidency. I am shocked to think that any women would vote for him.
Cathy P. November 05, 2012 at 11:37 PM
@Maribel: AMEN and break out the champagne! I can't wait to host my 2nd Inauguration Party in January 2013. Obama/Biden 2012.
Susan November 06, 2012 at 12:26 AM
If the President survives the Republican-led voter suppression and intimidation tactics, it will be the first time in 4 years the whack jobs don't blame/credit him for something. They'll blame Hurricane Sandy. They'll blame Gov. Chris Christie. The media. Teachers, firefighters, and police unions. The Nineteenth Amendment. They'll blame everything except the anti-American plutocrats and religious extremists that highjacked the Grand Old Party. And that's just fine by me. Clinton 2016 -- AMEN!
Dyan Chan November 06, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Adding my prayers!
Larry Cargnoni November 10, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Say hello to continued erosion of our constitutional rights and more executive-privileges, good bye to more of my family's wages, and God willing get the truth of what happened in Libya.....
Chris Jordan November 10, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Strange- a rash of dated letters! Good Morning Patch! I think election is over, more bums, more toxics, more deaths from sandy (= more homeless) but have a nice day (in other words- let the president do his job, let the cops do their job, let judges do their job, let other countries do their job... and request it shaken / not stirred.)
Homes & Estates Liquidation Providers H.E.L.P. November 18, 2012 at 09:19 AM
Very proud of the american people who saw through the BS that Romney/Ryan were spewing. The attitude toward 98% of the population in this country were insulted, lied to and discriminated against! That's right they insulted the poor, elderly, women, college students, latinos they never expected to lose the Asian vote but they lost EVERYBODY! 2016 Vote for Hillary Clinton!

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