Vote NOW

I voted early last week. I waited three hours in the sun. When I finally got to the voting booth I spent another 25 minutes on the ballot even with two cheat sheets for amendments and questions. The amendments, questions and local candidates were confusing, but who to vote for in the presidential election wasn't. I voted Obama.

Sure, each candidate has his positives and negatives. Most polls say Romney took the first debate and Obama won the second two. Throughout the debates and campaign season both gave supporters plenty to be proud of and plenty of fodder for the other side. We had Big Bird, binders, bayonets and some pesky economic numbers. After fact-checking and digging into campaign points and arguments, usually both had validity, it just depended which data they chose to use.

It comes down to individual choice on what is important, what drives me, what scares me and what inspires me.

Economy, foreign policy, environment and dealing with disasters are all important to me. But what is most important to me and drives me is freedom to be who I am, to be respected and accepted for who I am, and to give others that same right. I believe strongly in supporting and encouraging women, children and people who are discriminated against.

I've heard the argument that a Romney government would be better for the economy, thus better for women. A strong economy would be better for women and all of us. I don't believe a Romney presidency means a stronger economy. He has a five-point plan, but I don't believe he or anyone has control over unilaterally getting the economy cranking again. After the campaign rhetoric, the two parties handle the economy similarly while in office. In the last debate they largely agreed on foreign policy. For big picture items, Team GOP and Team Dem seem to be pretty similar. Score toss-up.

In the wake of Sandy, Obama did a great job handling the disaster and garnered Republican and Independent support from Chris Christie and Mike Bloomberg. Score Obama.

As a party, Republicans have proved to be less respectful of my rights as a woman. All GOP members don't subscribe to these views, but the party still harbors a congressman running for office who created the term "legitimate rape" and compared his female opponent to a dog. The vice presidential candidate was against the Fair Pay Act. He also voted to defund Planned Parenthood and women's clinics, which provide mammograms, pap tests and family planning services. The presidential candidate suffered from a "binder" snafu and hasn't been all that clear and consistent on where he stands on women's health.

This is the party which skipped sex ed and biology classes: a state senator said HIV/AIDS can't spread from heterosexual sex, another state senator defended his buddy's remarks about women not getting pregnant from rape or incest since he's never heard of a woman in that situation. This is the party that doesn't understand how the morning-after pill works. Not everyone in the party shares these positions, but the GOP allows men touting these views to run under their banner. The Democrats do not have representatives expressing such outwardly disrespectful views of women, our choices and our contributions to society. The GOP claims to want small government (W's record shows they don't always deliver), but wants to interfere with my personal choices. Take your small government and get off my body, please.

Neither party is perfect, neither candidate is perfect. In the last debate Obama and Romney agreed on quite a few big picture issues; either victory could be similar on these issues. On these big issues, Obama could have done more or he did too much, depending on who you ask. But on the issues that matter and impact me the most -- do I feel respected for who I am and will my rights be respected -- I believe Obama and the Democrats win, by a wide margin.