The night of the election, before I went over to the Square to watch the results, I lingered in the lab at Weatherford College on the U.S. 380. My professor and I paused for a bit to talk about politics and why we voted the way we did. The discussion was frank and logical and lingered around the center of the political spectrum.
From her side, having made her career in the sciences, (and being a woman) she couldn’t get behind the Republican social policy platform, especially their take on science and women’s reproductive rights. However, she acknowledged that President Obama is a divisive figure, through a combination of policies and xenophobic reaction to a black, Democratic president.
She also stated a logical preference for small government. And so, in a time when cooperation is needed, more interested in getting things done, Romney got a vote.
I agreed on a number of points: science, social issues and small government for instance. There have always been issues, however, where the states will screw things up and the federal government steps in: Jim Crow is a prime example. I’m also a veteran and agree we must maintain an effective military and the 2nd Amendment. In the longer economic view, however, health care costs are a worrisome burden for the middle class.
I wasn’t blindly optimistic in 2008; the most I reasonably expected of anyone in Washington was to stem the bleeding and point the economy in the right direction. Add in a restoration of American soft power and prestige abroad, and my vote went Democratic.
So, the Dr. and I agreed on a lot, it’s just a choice of what we emphasized and why that steered our votes apart. And we did so respectfully, with the keen understanding that our differences do not make us enemies. In similar fashion, I’ve had spirited debates with my philosophy professor there regarding politics and religion.
If anything comes of Weatherford on 380, hopefully, it’s that: an increase in civil discourse. I consider myself a centrist, willing to listen to the conservative view. However, as the Republicans pandered to the Tea Party and became more extreme, I tuned out. We have a centrist party right now, and a far right party.
Yes, Obama won again. No, Republicans can’t win an election on a national level by waving the Confederate flag to the exclusion of women and minorities and hope enough angry white men turn out to tilt things their way.
I may be Latino, but let me say: we are not socialists, we’re not waiting for handouts, and we’re not destroying America. In fact, the dream of working for a better living is why we’re here. For all the election’s talk of handouts, the fact is, the majority of welfare recipients are white.
And speaking of Latinos, we’re why Texas is on its way to being a swing state in a decade or two. See you at the polls in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
Angelou del Angel