Reflections on the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections

Reflections on the 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections

 “WHILE we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable.” — Pres. George Washington, America’s First President, in a letter to Benedict Arnold, Sept. 14, 1775.

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” – Pres. George Washington’s farewell address on Sept. 17, 1796.

President Barack Obama, who garnered a total of 132, 115, 406 American citizen votes in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, made history. He won decisively and unprecedented first, with over 69, 500,000 votes, and was re-elected with 62, 615, 406 votes.

I recall these numbers as they prove that the American people are voters who care about progress and a progressive platform of ending the war in Iraq, universal health care, creating a new economy based on new forms of non-fossilized energy, rebalancing the tax code (to cut taxes for the middle class and small businesses), creating jobs, and in David Plouffe’s book, to reverse “the human toll of our nation’s veering off the tracks.” Their votes are not for sale.

Never mind that emails were distributed amongst Catholics who mischaracterized him as a Nazi and a Hitler, to which I questioned a relative, “How many Jews did Barack Obama incinerate?” For a while, our Thanksgiving dinner got tense because of the stance I took, to tell the truth.

Our votes count

After two elections, I stand tall, as my vote counted along with over 132 million other American citizen voters.

Now, over 18 million Americans without health care insurance now have coverage, and no one can be discriminated against for his or her pre-existing health conditions.

To some musicians with a “pre-existing condition of cancer,” Obamacare is a lifesaver as their cancer is in remission. With a new lease in life, they wear big smiles, singing to our community.

Even with the inordinate broadcast of a subscription only-cable television, promoting the president’s opponents, citizen voters used social media and the Internet to combat what is false and to neutralize what is incorrect and offered up more details on what the president stands for.

We also knew that independent voters (formerly from the East Coast) were voting for Barack Obama, when we door-knocked in Las Vegas. Why? They did not appreciate the former governor’s use of state national guards to patrol his lakefront mansion, treating a public waterway, as if his own backyard, and in their words, “an egregious inappropriate use of public servants.”

Never mind that ultra-conservative voters were vehemently against the president, falsely promoting him as the “pro-abortion” president, calling him an “Anti-Christ,” including a Catholic bishop in New Mexico who advocated for a no-vote for Barack Obama’s reelection during his homily, at a mass he celebrated for a national organization.

Even with that hideous falsehood, community folks — including Catholic priests and nuns — pulled me aside to say, “I am voting for Barack Obama.” Some went on to say, “he seems to be the more reasonable and more rational candidate, but do not tell other community folks.”

Why not? Do we have the courage of our hearts’ convictions to reflect us, like in our votes?

Honoring what our hearts tell us

I will not vote for a grumpy candidate, even if a grandfather in age, as social customs might say to give tolerance, as grumpiness communicates a troubled heart.

“All at once I saw that what makes a human being human is the heart with which one can give and receive love,” writes Henri Nouwen, in “Spiritual Direction.” That candidate is not being human to me, and his campaign reflects one singular color in his intimate circles, until recently, reacting to criticisms, he appointed a director of Native American interests.

I too will not vote for a candidate who has put down Muslims, Asians, Mexicans and women. It is a red flag saying stop, as it shows how in his reality, the only hero is himself, and he has made himself a “demi-god,” a god of billions, which he worships, and would like us to worship as well.

I will also not vote for a candidate who props himself up by lying in his television ads, plagiarizing and using falsehoods to deliberately misinterpret the US Constitution.

For when your heart is at peace, a person communicates how “we are born in intimate communion with God, who created us in love. And we will die into the loving arms of God, who loves us with everlasting love, “ Henri Nouwen reflected.

I will vote for a candidate who served us with integrity for decades, not one who is simply “advocating integrity,” and one who has come into a coalition, to negotiate to deliver progress to people in their legislative roles. I am not looking for a candidate who has not made a mistake, as it means this candidate has been in the frontlines, making decisions for us.

I once admonished a congressman in the Philippines who kept criticizing at the margins, as if he is not in the corridors of power, the Philippine Congress, and highlighting the mistakes of the administration. I told him that he could join or form coalitions so he might get the support of fellow legislators, for the laws that matter to the people, as “you are now with power to serve the people.”

In the U.S., I am propositioned left and right, to vote for insurgent candidates, as a protest vote at the American electoral system.

But, I am not protesting, I have the power of my words. I use it when I disagree with the White House. I freely write an email to the White House, as any other American can.

Twice, President Barack Obama responded with an email, and another a powerful letter, on why he is seeking diplomacy and why his security policy is multi-pronged, including self-defense for our country.

I only saw, from my vantage point as a citizen, the need for peace and how the injured and dead bodies, are not in our best national interests. Their families and our national treasury bear the brunt of a country’s wounded bodies and lost souls, a nation which has been perpetually at war with other nations in the world.

I will vote for the candidate who keeps evolving in decades of public service, from being a supporter of military might to that of vigorous diplomacy — a candidate who reflects the best of America.

David Plouffe fondly wrote in “The Audacity to Win,” “The greatest treasure of the campaign was the chance to be my best self, and to share this with a band of brothers and sisters who were also their best selves, as we met and seized our moment. Win or lose, I knew how fortunate I was to be in this position, managing a presidential campaign on the precipice of achieving something that would have a profound and lasting effect. I felt lucky to be working with this candidate [Barack Obama] and this campaign team, and with all our passionate volunteers, at this moment in history.”

Pres. George Washington’s prescient words still ring true, we cannot simply label someone Anti-Christ, nor exclude groups of people like Muslims, Asians, Mexicans, women, and judge them.  We should not allow unprincipled men who judged these groups, to subvert our federal government and blatantly spread lies about a government  built by the blood, sweat and tears of millions of Americans.

In Barack Obama, the best of America converged. I hope the next resident of the White House embodies the best of America as well. May God guide us to vote for the best embodiment of ourselves in the polling places!

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Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz, J.D. writes a weekly column for Asian Journal, called “Rhizomes.” She has been writing for AJ Press for 9 years now. She contributes to Balikbayan Magazine. Her training and experiences are in science, food technology, law and community volunteerism for 4 decades. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of the Philippines, a law degree from Whittier College School of Law in California and a certificate on 21st Century Leadership from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has been a participant in NVM Writing Workshops taught by Prof. Peter Bacho for 4 years and Prof. Russell Leong. She has travelled to France, Holland, Belgium, Japan, Mexico and 22 national parks in the US, in pursuit of her love for arts.

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