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What’s at Stake: Values & the 2012 Presidential Election

The 2012 presidential election presents young voters with a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America. Much is at stake and, as citizens of this great nation, we collectively shoulder tremendous responsibility to vote for the candidate who best represents the core values that have made us who we are as the United States of America and who will move us forward in difficult times.

At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, President Obama spoke clearly and compellingly of the values that guide his vision for the future of our nation. Citing the importance of morality in our politics and policy, the President asserted that “We can’t leave our values at the door. If we leave our values at the door, we abandon much of the moral glue that has held our nation together for centuries, and allowed us to become somewhat of a more perfect union.” He proceeded by enumerating the fundamental precepts that drive his policymaking and laid out a foundational framework for thinking about values in the public square. “Treating others as you want to be treated.  Requiring much from those who have been given so much.  Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.  Caring for the poor and those in need…Today, with as many challenges as we face, these are the values I believe we’re going to have to return to in the hopes that God will buttress our efforts.” The President also called on Americans to live out our values “not just with words, but with deeds.”

As young Americans, we stand by President Obama’s words and also his deeds. We stand by his values-based vision for our country which has led to the expansion of healthcare coverage for people who can’t afford it. We stand by his efforts to expand opportunity for all Americans by improving our public schools, increasing access to higher education and job training, and reforming our broken financial and mortgage systems. We are heartened by our President’s willingness to stand by gay and lesbian Americans, undocumented immigrants, and our brothers and sisters caught in the nefarious web of poverty that confines the lives and potential of too many in the richest nation in the world. In trying times, President Obama represents what is right for America and we are confident in his leadership, integrity and resolve to take us into the future better and stronger together.

The President faces an important test, however, in this November’s election. His opponents have significant financial resources and will stop at nothing to defeat him. Unfortunately for our country, they represent an out of touch, individualistic vision for the United States that significantly strays from our core values. Instead of presenting policies and practicing politics that emphasize the “greater together”, e pluribus unum nature that has defined America since its founding, they have each embraced the Paul Ryan budget which takes two-thirds of its cuts from services that help level the opportunity playing field for low-income Americans. Given that Mitt Romney is “not concerned about the very poor” in the toughest time since the Great Depression and New Gingrich’s solution for closing the opportunity gap for African American children is to put them to work as school janitors, this comes as no surprise. Yet it is no less disheartening. We are facing incredible challenges as a nation. We need a leader who puts the American people first rather than winning the next election.

The 2012 election presents us with a choice that will impact us in the short- and long-term and have significant ramifications not only on what gets done in Washington, but what type of country we want to be moving forward. Join us in supporting President Obama and affirming that, as Americans, we will emerge from these difficult times greater together rather than farther apart.

- Rod, Colmon & Josh

Rod Snyder is President of the Young Democrats of America
Colmon Elridge is Executive VP of the Young Democrats of America
Josh Dickson is the Director of the YDA Faith & Values Initiative  

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