Kerry Washington, Star of ABC’s ‘Scandal,’ on Why She’s Voting for Barack Obama
We, the people.
Throughout our history, we’ve expanded the meaning of our nation’s founding phrase, to include more and more of our citizens because we believe that the American dream isn’t about any one person or segment of society. It’s about all of us, working together to move forward.
That’s also what this election is about. And it’s why I’m voting for President Barack Obama.
For me, like a lot of American women, this election is a very personal one, because the stakes are higher than ever before. This election will decide the fate of the rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for, rights we’ve fought for—not just our right to choose, but our ability to get an affordable education, equal pay for equal work, access to quality health care and a lot more.
President Obama knows the importance of women’s rights and women’s health. He was raised by a single mom, and he has been surrounded by smart, strong women ever since—he’s married to one and he’s a father of two. So for our president, women’s issues aren’t just political, they’re personal for him as well.
When President Obama made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the very first bill he signed—he did so because he believes the hard work of our daughters is just as important as the work of our sons. He fought for Obamacare so women can access quality, affordable health care. He put two more women on the Supreme Court because he believes women should have an equal voice in the decisions being made at the highest levels of our democracy. And he knows we still have work to do.
President Obama is fighting for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help stop pay discrimination before it starts, and he has a plan to cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years. He’ll also recruit 100,000 more math and science teachers, in order to prepare and empower more girls to pursue high-paying jobs of the future in careers like science, technology, engineering and math.
Our president’s strong belief in women, and in the equality and opportunity we deserve, is without question. However, where I see bold exclamation points in President Obama’s values, accomplishments and plans for the next four years, I look at Mitt Romney and see mostly question marks. There are a lot of answers Mitt Romney still hasn’t given women. Why won’t he stand up for equal pay? Why won’t he support renewing the Violence Against Women Act? And while I am surprised that Romney won’t commit to those things, I’m even more concerned about what he will commit to.
Two weeks ago, Romney told a newspaper that eliminating a woman’s right to choose isn’t part of his agenda. Within two hours, his staff had to correct him, confirming that, yes, the real Mitt Romney would “of course” support legislation to restrict and deny that right. Romney can’t hide that he once called Roe v. Wade “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history,” and has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood. Romney also supported one bill that would turn women’s health decisions, like having birth control covered in our health plans, over to our bosses, and he even once said he’d be “delighted” to sign a bill that banned all abortions.
Almost every day Romney promises to repeal Obamacare. Doing so would let insurance companies go back to charging women more than men for the same care and would deny insurance to millions of Americans with preexisting conditions at the very moment when they need coverage the most.
Not a single one of us can afford to be silent. Suffragettes went to jail so that women could vote. Unless we exercise that right, our democratic process becomes irrelevant. If we don’t use our voices this year, we will waste our hard-fought political power and we will risk losing many more precious rights and freedoms.
We, the people, especially us women, have to make sure our leaders know how we feel, what we think and what we care about. Together, we need to stand up for the kind of America we want—one where women and girls are equal, strong and proud, and where we all have a president who has our back.
Go to vote.barackobama.com. Register. Volunteer. Vote. Make sure our next president is one who is thinking and caring about all of us.