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The Sweep of History: President Obama and MLK.

I had hoped to write something sweeping and inspirational, as well as considered and smart and carefully argued, about tomorrow's presidential election - an election that feels as if it has been a decade in the making - but time has proven tighter than usual in the past few days, and so you get this: an impassioned plea to get out and VOTE tomorrow, if you have not already done so, and to VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HISTORY.

I first wrote about Barack Obama on February 3, 2008, for my previous blog, Loving The Wolf, in a fairly lengthy post in which I talked about my reasons for moving to the US from Britain in 1990, my choice to become a United States citizen, the coming economic disaster that George W Bush had led us into, and the future that candidate Obama (at that time, he was still campaigning in the Democratic primaries against Hillary Clinton) offered.

I ended that post with these words, which I still wholeheartedly believe today:

Clearly the campaign of 2012 has been unbelievably partisan - as has Congress itself for much of Barack Obama's presidency. 

Despite his appeal, and despite his very careful stewardship of the United States, balancing his progressive stance on social issues with a deft understanding of what was needed to pull us back from the brink of Bush's near-apocalypse, the GOP has tried not merely to block President Obama's agenda, but to deny the fact of his presidency, with the ridiculous "birther" distraction.

But no matter what opportunities for bipartisanship and progress the Republicans have squandered over the past four years, they cannot rewrite history - whereas Barack Obama did, simply by becoming the first multiracial president this nation has known.

I remember the excitement among our family and friends as we gathered together in January 2009 to witness the inauguration of the first multi-ethnic president of the United States. It was a turning point in history as thrilling as - and clearly in some large part the realization of - Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

President Barack Obama opened the door of the White House to every child born as a legal citizen of America, whether Latino, Black, Native-American, Asian-American, White - or whatever their racial origins.

He also achieved, despite the lack of a single Republican vote, passage of the most remarkable social legislation since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 - the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly called - even by the President himself these days - Obamacare.

I Got 99 Problems But Mitt Ain't One

As I said at the start, this is not going to be the lengthy, considered piece I hoped it to be, but just a word about Mitt Romney.

I still have no idea who he is - other than that he is a more comfortable liar than Paul Ryan, who at least looks like he's lying (and anyone who can't remember his marathon time is a serious fibber).

Romney has had so many positions on so many issues in the course of the past few months and weeks - few, if any, of them within a universe of my values - that he may well be, as one article suggested, closer to a sociopathic liar than a political liar.

I cannot conceive of an America presided over by him - although I confess, if tomorrow does not go as I believe and hope it will - I may have to.

Romney (at least in his many most recent incarnations as snake oil salesman) represents to me everything that is backward-looking about the Republican Party: disregard for women's rights, disregard for the poor, for those lacking in the highly fortunate circumstances into which he was born, disregard for those who struggle to move here from another country and work, disregard for the fundamental human right to public education and healthcare that I believe define a nation that wishes to thrive in the 21st Century and to regard itself as "civilized."

I am running out of time to write any more, but I have a few closing words:


The second are: VOTE VOTE VOTE - do NOT waste your hard-won right to cast a vote in our democracy. For a taste of the suffering endured by those who helped win that right, in this instance for women, please read this harrowing account of the treatment of women campaigners in 1917 who struggled to establish the right of female suffrage.

The third are: PROTECT THE VOTE.

If you encounter any problems voting, or witness anything that you think is irregular or illegal,  call the toll-free number: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

You can also download for free a mobile app, ElectProtect, which offers excellent information about your local polling place, as well as the opportunity to report any suspicious activity and even attach a photograph as evidence.

And, if you're unsure about certain measures on your ballot, or which politician best represents a progressive choice, offers - a site where you simply fill in your name, address and email address and are provided with recommendations for a progressive vote.

Please VOTE, it's your right and your duty as a citizen.  And if you don't believe that every vote counts, watch this brief video from our magnificent First Lady, Michelle Obama:


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