Monday, May 14, 2012

What's Not To Like?

I'm crying "Uncle". After going through a spell of unmitigated frustration responding to political posts on Facebook, I'm giving up and taking a "what will be, will be" attitude. I've decided it is a total waste of time to try to correct misconceptions. People, it seems, believe what they want to believe despite the roaring cognitive dissonance that you'd think holding such conflicting opinions would seem to cause.

Facebook friends who post that they support civil rights for women, gays, blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, nevertheless plan to vote against Barack Obama, who: signed the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, signed the first piece of legislation that included gays under the umbrella of federal hate crimes, signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment bill, allowed the State Department to offer same-sex benefits for employees, proposed the Pentagon repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (which finally happened), called for federal agencies to support gay partnerships and became the first president to publicly support gay marriage, increased funding for tribal school and the Indian Health services, signed an executive order for his cabinet to consult and work with tribes on issues impacting Indian land.

Facebook friends who post that the economy is their main concern nevertheless plan to vote against Obama, who: increased spending on infrastructure (George W was the first president not to do so), authorized a bail-out that saved the American auto industry, authorized a $789 billion stimulus plan (1/3 for tax cuts for working families - 1/3 to states for infrastructure projects and 1/3 to states to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc), instituted new consumer protection from predatory credit card practices, ordered the federal government to make more loans to small business at lower rates, extended unemployment benefits for a million laid-off workers, expended agricultural benefits to farmers, signed the HIRE act (gives tax cuts to small business to hire someone unemployed for at least 2 months, allow small business to write-off equipment purchases more quickly), negotiated a deal with Swiss banks for government to get access to records of tax evaders and criminals, ended the Bush-era policy of offering benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs, gave tax cuts to 95% of working Americans, ordered the closing of off-shore tax havens, proposed doubling the Child Tax Credit.

Facebook friends who post that treatment of veterans is their primary cause, nevertheless, plan to vote against Obama, who: ordered the Pentagon to cover expenses of families who want to be on-site when the bodies of their loved ones arrive in the U.S., provided upgraded body armor to soldiers, funded new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles, initiated policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses, ended the practice of awarding "no-bid" defense contracts, authorized construction of additional health centers for veterans, pushed for new "G.I. Bill" for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, signed bill giving assistance to caregivers of wounded veterans, eliminated co-pays for veterans who are catastrophically disabled.

Facebook friends who worry about healthcare, nevertheless, plan to vote against Obama, who: removed restrictions against Stem Cell research, expanded Children's Healthcare Program to cover 4 million more children, reversed Bush-era restrictions forbidding Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices, signed healthcare reform (which prevents insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, prevents rescission so insurance companies can cancel coverage for people who keep policy current or become ill, closes the "donut" hole on prescription drugs, caps individual's out-of-pocket expenses, small business get a tax credit for offering healthcare, families keep children on their plan through college or age 26 and incidentally, illegal immigrants are NOT eligible for healthcare coverage).

Facebook friends who believe in the importance of education, nevertheless, plan to vote against Obama, who:  authorized construction funds for broadband access in K thru 12, increased funding for school construction, increased funding for student loans, eliminated the banks as the middle man between students and loans while passing the savings on to students, changed the rules making it easier to re-finance student loans.  

Facebook friends who cite the environment as one of their main issues, nevertheless, plan to vote against Obama, who: rescinded Bush-era rule that weakened the Endangered Species Act, announced the federal government would once again engage in Superfund clean-up, proposed a new refuge for wild mustangs, cancelled Bush administration permits for mountain-top removal, re-engaged in treaties to protect the Antarctic (from which Bush had withdrawn), overturned Bush policies to allow uranium mining near national parks, executive order for new strategies and commitment to protecting lakes and oceans. 

Facebook friends who say they want more ethics in government, nevertheless, plan to vote against Obama, who: ordered White House and federal agencies to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, placed limits on lobbyists access to the White House, signed measure strengthening reporting requirements for lobbyists, ordered that lobbyists are no longer permitted to serve federal and White House boards and advisory panels, companies and individuals who are delinquent on taxes can no longer bid on federal contracts, developed "Do Not Pay" list for those who are deemed ineligible due to fraud and abuse.

So, I ask, what's not to like? Which of your issues do you believe will receive better treatment with a Mitt Romney presidency and a Paul Ryan budget?

*Thank you to Robert P Watson, Ph.D, Professor of American Studies, Lynn University for compiling a list of Obama accomplishments, of which I cited only a part. Says Professor Lynn - "like all presidents, Barack Obama has made mistakes. But, as a presidential historian, I have been struck by claims being put forward by Obama's many critics and the news media that he has accomplished little when, in fact, his presidency is easily one of the most active in history."