Dear Media

If you support re-electing any President, it’s still OK to criticize them. That way they will do a better job the next 4 years.

You cannot assume that because I find fault with decisions made by this administration that suddenly I’m a “disillusioned liberal” who has come down from a position of exuberant (and unmerited) joy in 2008 to a bitter, cynical and unhappy 2012. I’m not.  But unlike the previous administration, I don’t find criticism of the President to be “unpatriotic”.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this administration. There are things I dislike, and some I dislike intensely (the continuation of covert wars, the fact that Guantanamo is still open, the assassination of non-combatant American citizens far from any theater of war). I will complain about them, and loudly. But don’t mistake this for the grumbling of an individual who is looking to exchange this administration for someone on the opposing party: it’s not, it’s just me celebrating my right and responsibility to participate in this country’s political sphere. I hold no illusion that the opposing party would have acted any differently on the issues I am against.

And above all, stop spreading the inane theory that the “Hope” posters we raised in 2008 were an expression of “hope that Obama would fix everything for us.” I, for one, held hope that we were electing an administration that would allow US to fix the things that had been broken in the previous 8 years. And I, for one, am happy that this hope is being realized: not as quickly as any of us would like, but I know that slow progress in the direction of improvement is far better than a quick march towards collapse.

I, for one, still have a hope poster. And it’s going up again this year.

As I watch the President this week attempt to compromise on components of the ACA, I see someone who is listening to the other side and trying to reach a reasonable middle. I see someone who believes that everyone should have health care, and that women should not be second-class citizens, and that we can work together to achieve that goal.

Who do I see on the other side? Inflexible, rigid, distrustful dogmatists who deny the reality of women’s choices in the twenty-first century, and want their religious beliefs to be the law of the land.

Why would I want to switch my allegiance to them? Why would I have any hope that they will be the ones to improve my lot, or the lot of the poor? Or that of women, or of children? Or of the gay person in the military? Or the sick and underinsured? Or the gay loving couple who wants the same rights everyone else has?

Why would I give them my vote? They have taken too much from us already, by reducing the national conversation to a shouting match in which they can cede no points, because their points are 3,000 year old and written, quite literally, in stone.

I prefer to look to the future. See you at the voting booth.

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