Over the years, some people have accused me of intentionally "preaching to the choir," with claims that I "only want to fire up the cheerleading section." I can honestly say that while I've appreciated compliments and the popularity of some of my articles here on the Vine, I've never, ever written an article with that purpose. I've always tried to show people that subscribe to different ideologies why I believe what I believe, and if one person out of a thousand looks at my views a little differently because of something I wrote, then writing that article was time well spent.
This is the first article where I'm not doing that. In this article, I'm preaching directly to the choir, and I'm doing it intentionally. I'm a professional writer. This is what I'm good at. And this is arguably the best possible way for me to contribute to the campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama. So if you read this, and you agree, and you share this and you try to contribute yourself because of it, then I'd say writing this article was time well spent; that I contributed positively to the president's campaign.
Tonight, we wrapped up the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. We heard some amazing speeches... I'd go so far as to call many of them historic. President Obama's speech was only one that will be remembered after today. President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, and Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren all delivered incredible speeches. Even John Kerry and Joe Biden -- two men not exactly regarded as contemporary elder statesmen -- knocked it out of the park with their extraordinary oral gifts to the DNC and democrats everywhere.
We repeatedly heard that this campaign needs to be one of ideas. I agree with that, but I also disagree with it with equal fervor. This can't only be a campaign of ideas. The American people want more than ideas, they want leadership. And with a right-wing that has perfected the cruel art of spreading lies about the president, a conservative base that has become radicalized and trained to absolutely hate the president and everything he is, and everything he believes, and everything he stands for, and everyone that supports him... ideas aren't going to cut it. We need to form the debate on more than just ideas. We need to add something to that mantra, and make it stick, and get every democrat that's fired up and ready to go to understand it, and to know what they're talking about.
I'm talking about accomplishments.
Anyone that attempts to tell you that President Obama doesn't have an impressive number of accomplishments under his belt is either uninformed, outright lying, or well-versed on rivers in Egypt, if you catch my meaning. This president has done more in four years than many others would have ever even attempted to do in eight... or twelve, for that matter. It can't be sanely or intelligently denied... the man gets stuff done. He takes on more than most could chew, and he spits out progress. Real, tangible progress, that you and me can see around us. We just need to first be willing to open our eyes and look.
If you're reading this, there's a good chance you already know what those accomplishments are. The economy turning around, with 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth. A second Great Depression thwarted. The government shrunk through smart cuts in redundancy and waste. The American auto industry saved. Veterans getting better, fairer treatment. The Affordable Care Act passed. Marriage equality recognized. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repealed. The Lilly Ledbetter Act signed. Women's rights and equality and CHOICE upheld and honored. Al Qaeda on the run. Osama Bin Laden dead. College loans more affordable. I could do this all night, folks. Listing President Obama's accomplishments in just four short years would make Tolstoy's hands hurt from writing so darn much, and that content would dwarf War & Peace before you were finished.
What has his rival, Mitt Romney, accomplished? He's an expert at outsourcing American jobs, and an innovator in the field of offshoring the American dream. As a vulture capitalist, he destroyed American companies for personal gain... and laughed about how fun it is to fire people and shut down factories. His plan would destroy Medicare and Medicaid. He'd raise taxes on you and me, to help pay for cutting his own taxes to under 1%. When I need advice on my investments and my personal wealth -- or abusing family pets or shaving the heads of gay kids -- I'll give Mitt Romney a call. But America needs a president. And Mitt? You ain't no president.
If we want to see President Obama re-elected, we need to contribute however we possibly can to this campaign. No, I'm not talking about the dozen emails you get every single day asking you to chip in monetarily (yes, those drive me crazy too!). These contributions more than likely won't cost you money. Just a little bit of time, a little bit of effort... and a little bit of self-control when you're dealing with the opposition probably wouldn't hurt, either.
When you're talking with relatives, or friends, or work colleagues, or perfect strangers, and you hear someone say something akin to "Obama hasn't accomplished anything," or "he's the same as Romney," it falls on you to set the record straight. Tell them about President Obama's accomplishments. Explain to them the vast differences between his plans, and Romney's. If we want to win this election for President Obama in November, it falls on us to educate and inform the people around us.
I know how hard it can be to show some people the light. You need to understand that there's a small minority in this country that passionately hates President Obama, or at least the fictional version of him they've drawn up in their heads. Some people are going to vote for Mitt Romney, and that's the end of that; you can't change their minds, and with Romney's campaign admitting that they have little regard for fact-checkers, you can't give them hard data and expect them to pay attention.
Save your strength for the fights you can win. Find the people in your life that don't follow politics, that don't understand what President Obama has accomplished or what Mitt Romney's plans are, and patiently explain it to them. The child might scream louder, but the level-headed adult will win every debate. Be the adult. Because if you let the child scream long enough and hard enough for their toy, they're going to get that toy... and other children will start screaming too. The issues we face as a nation require intelligent, articulate, well-informed adults, telling other adults the facts, without a single tear in their eye or any flushing in their cheeks.
There will be times when you lose the faith in this idea. Some people are bullheaded enough to make you question your own convictions. But don't forget the mantra of this campaign. I'm not talking about the slogan, "Forward" (after this week, I really wish we could change the slogan to "Arithmetic," but that's a whole other thing). I'm talking about the mantra, one that some of you will remember from the '08 campaign. Repeat it to yourself when the going gets tough.
Fired up and ready to go!