I am passionate about human rights and civil liberties. I think all citizens of each and every country should have the ability to choose their government, choose their leaders, and choose their president. I think every voice and vote should count. I think every nation should be accountable to its citizens, and I think it should be every single person’s right to have a say in who runs their country, and how.
This is not the case in many countries around the world. This wasn’t the case in America, or my native country Finland, as little as 100 years ago. Minorities couldn’t vote. Women couldn’t vote. African-American’s couldn’t vote. Poor people couldn’t vote.
Much has happened in our countries since then. In America, and in Finland, all citizens above a certain age can vote, despite their gender, race or socio-economic class. We can all influence our country’s direction. We can take part in choosing who run our country. We can voice our opinions, and not worry about being pressured to vote a certain way, or worry about the election being rigged.
Still, many people choose to not vote. To be quite honest, this pisses me off. I believe that with rights and liberties also come responsibilities, and I believe it is our responsibility to honor the rights we have – rights our great grandparents and their grandparents fought for – by executing those rights. Women who lived in America pre-19th Amendment, which in 1920 gave women the right to vote in the US, would whoop today’s women’s asses for voluntarily giving up our right to vote (and also for voting for Romney-Ryan, a duo that seems to be out to kick the female population of America back to the dark ages when it comes to rights and liberties).
I know many people say “I’m not voting because I don’t like either candidate” – well, tough luck. We all have our check lists of the perfect spouse, the perfect friend, the perfect boss, the perfect child – and yes, the perfect president – but that image rarely exists in real life. Someone is going to win this year’s election and become the President of the United States, and that someone will be either Romney or Obama. Saying “I don’t like either candidate and therefore won’t vote”, in my opinion, is a cop-out. America will have a president – and not voting because there’s no perfect candidate won’t change that.
Now, in the past few days, I have read quite a few articles about Obama that truly bothered me. I’ve read about the drone war in Pakistan, about claims of secret executions of both foreigners and Americans in the interest of national security, about civilians living in utter fear and chaos because of decisions made in the US, under the Obama administration. I made this video days ago, but took a while to decide whether to upload it or not, because I wasn’t sure if I could stand behind it – but now I know I can. I know I can, because despite the undeniable fact that this administration has made many decisions and taken actions that I fully disagree with, I do still believe Obama was the absolute right choice in 2008 – and I believe he is the only right choice in 2012 as well.
I remember the emotion, energy and drive of 2008, even though I didn’t live in the US yet at that time. I remember the speeches and the promises, the hope and the sincere belief in something better waiting – and I know, and agree, that the past four years probably have not lived up to the expectations – but let’s be honest: the expectations were out of this world. No one could have lived up to those kind of expectations. Obama has, however, lived up to more of them than any other president would have, and I believe he will continue on that same track for the next four years, if given a chance.
I honestly believe this is a better world than the one we lived in four years ago. I believe this is a better America. I also believe it is my responsibility to take action towards what I sincerely believe to be the best option for the future of America, and Americans – And I do believe that is a second term for Obama. As a former student, as a tax payer, as a woman, as a future mother, as someone who is fully against using any method of torture as an interrogation technique, and as someone who believes in absolute equality, I could never vote for Romney. I am also worried that votes for the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, or the Green Party candidate Jill Stein, will end up working in the favor of Mr. Romney – we saw this happen in 2000, and I really hope we won’t see it happen again. I think many agree that the world would be a very different place today, had Al Gore won that election.
If I could vote, I know who my vote would go to. However, I cannot – because I am not an American citizen. Even if I didn’t know who I would vote for, I would figure it out, and I would go and vote – and though I know many people in America will choose to vote for a candidate and a party that scare the bejeesus out of me, I still want them to go and vote. Why? Because civil rights are only powerful when they are fully utilized, and having a voice and not using it is as good as being mute.
That is why I made this video – To plead to you Americans to go and vote on 6th of November 2012. Even if you vote for Romney. Even if you vote for that third candidate whose name I cannot remember and who stands absolutely no chance of winning – but please, just go and vote. It is not enough that you have the Right to do so – you have to also use that right. I really really hope you do.