During the last election I was asked by a friend, “Are you better off today then you were yesterday?” The assumption was that if I answered yes I should vote Republican and if I answered no then I should vote Democrat. The problem though is that the question itself is flawed. The question forces us to consider nothing but our own situation and assumes that this is all that matters in deciding what candidate will be best for us, when in reality we should be considering not what is best for us as individuals, but what is best for all of us as a country. The American Dream is that we are all given the opportunity to be anything we want to be, but the fact is that while this may be true for some, for others their situation makes it harder to obtain this dream. Today the line between the haves and the have nots is growing bigger and bigger, the middle class is growing smaller and smaller, and as this next election gets closer we all have to ask our selves, are we as a country better today then we were yesterday? To answer that let’s consider what has happened since the last election.
Today it is illegal to pay women less then men for the same job. (The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act)
Today uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid can get affordable insurance through the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Today, Americans investment in General Motors has saved GM from bankruptcy and thereby has saved hundreds of thousands of jobs not only at GM bus also at the thousands of companies that supply parts and services to GM. With out this investment, which has been fully paid back, the loss of jobs as well as the domino effect on our economy would have been staggering.
Today tobacco companies must disclose all poisons contained in their products, must limit any advertising directed towards minors, and can no longer use words such as “light”, “low”, or “mild” to give the impression of being healthier.
Today our children can not be denied medical insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
Today health insurance companies can not cancel your coverage because you get sick.
Today young adults can be covered by their parent’s health insurance until they are 26 years old.
Today a health insurance company can no longer put a cap on the amount they will cover over your lifetime.
Today for new health insurance plans, preventive medical care is free. This includes screenings for mammograms, vaccinations, vision screening for children, Autism, HIV, and the list goes on. For a full list Click Here.
Today, in an emergency, you can no longer be charged extra for out of network doctors or hospitals.
Today the Mathew Shepard Act allows the government to pursue hate crimes motivated by a persons gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and for the first time extends legal protections to transgendered persons.
Today businesses that employ unemployed workers will receive breaks on payroll taxes.
Today our ability to regulate Wall Street, prevent consumer credit fraud, prevent mortgage fraud, and overall prevent financial collapse is stronger due to the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. At the signing the President announced, "There will be no more taxpayer-funded bailouts. Period."
Today our standing in the world community has been elevated due to the open dialogue that President Obama has created with the Muslim world. While extremists in the Muslim communities will never be our friends, the trust level between the U.S. and moderate Muslim countries and their citizens has increased.
Today peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, moderated by the Obama Administration, have resumed.
Today our mission in Iraq has been completed and our combat troops have been withdrawn, as promised by President Obama, and thousands of our troops have finally come home.
Today our commitment to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban is back on track and hopefully that will end soon as well.
Today it is easier for students to receive Pell Grants for College and the President has doubled the amount of Pell Grants given out.
Today Students will be forgiven the balance of their student loans if they have been faithfully repaying their loans for 20 years. In addition borrowers will only be required to pay up to 10% of their discretionary income each year on student loans.
Today, if it passes in congress, we have the potential for lower taxes for 98% of our citizens and increases only for the 2% who can afford it.
Today we have the possibility of ending the legalized discrimination in our military against homosexuals.
The answer is, Yes, today we are better, and no matter how loud the Tea Party and their candidates want to yell, no matter how many lies and falsehoods they and their friends at Fox News want to tell us, no matter how often Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh want to claim that we are going to become a socialist nation, that our rights are being stripped away, that the Bush Administration had nothing to do with creating this mess, that President Obama is failing at every thing he is doing, the fact is today we are better. Yes we may still have a long way to go but the fact is that it will take much longer then twenty months to recover from the economic slump that our last administration got us into. Have we spent a lot? Yes, because we are finally investing in rebuilding our own country and not waging wars in others. We are finally putting the U.S. people, businesses and infrastructure before those of the rest of the world. Finally we are taking care of business at home, not just overseas. And to do this it takes time and it takes investment. In order for a company to prosper and grow it needs capitol, it needs to invest in itself and the same is true for our country. There is an old saying that goes, “it takes money to make money.” And for those disillusioned by our President, for those still out of work, and that includes myself, remember this, you elected a man, not a magician. Just like the rest of us he is human and some of our problems will be solved and some of them will not. This is a task bigger then any one man or woman. This is a task that requires patience. This is a task that can not be solved in twenty months or even in one term. And when we go to the polls in November we should only be asking ourselves one question. Are we better today then we were yesterday? Well are we?