I voted for change — change I could believe in. I voted for Obama and today I stand before you a defeated man. Progressive ideas did not triumph, Washington politics didn’t change and Obama did not turn out to be the Messiah. Every issue the president has tackled has been met with strong resistance from the right, lack of leadership on Obama’s part and an incoherent message from the left.

Two years ago, I voted for change and instead I got pocket change! In following the president over the last two years, I have fallen prey to grave disappointments, livid agony and downright anger. The administration’s failure to push a progressive agenda and its mimicking of the previous administration seems to run counter to everything that Obama stood for during the 2008 election campaign.

Over and over again we see Solomonic moves by the administration, which time and time again fail to persuade Republicans to be bipartisan. Take, for example, the administration’s push to remove the language cited by Republicans to be the famed “death panels” in an attempt to “ease” their “concerns,” only reinforcing the lie and pandering to a right wing narrative that painted Obama as a socialist for trying to pass healthcare reform. 

Pleas for a more forceful and progressive agenda have fallen on deaf ears and the result has been an extremely discouraged base. Attacks by Ramh calling liberals “fucking retarded” or comments by Robert Gibbs attacking the “professional left” saying that “those people ought to be drug tested” have only served to further frustrate the same people that campaigned for President Obama and got him elected in the first place.

But we cannot allow our frustration with the administration, to cloud our judgment this Nov. 2. We have to be smart this upcoming election. We cannot allow Republicans back into office and we most definitely can’t let Tea Party lunatics take power. To allow it would merely hinder long term goals and offer nothing but a more hostile environment for our collective goals.

Not voting this election cycle is synonymous with allowing one more vote to go unchallenged to the Republican wing nuts and Tea Party leaders who are gaining momentum and pushing for a radical agenda to tear down long established civil rights, institutions and protections offered by the federal government. Stripping the 14th amendment, eliminating the separation of church and state, taking away social security, discarding unemployment benefits and attempting to legislate morality, are all some of the wonderful goals of the fringe that is now up for election.

If we think that it is hard to achieve progressive goals now, wait until chaos, fear and intimidation enter our political process. Don’t believe me? I only ask that you think back to the ignorance and violent incitement of radical right wing nuts, calling for an overthrow of the government with chaos, anger, violence and bigotry at the forefront of their movement (from the assassination of Dr. Tiller during the lead up to health care reform, to the stomping of a woman at a Rand Paul rally).

There has been Glenn Beck-ization of the right wing, with the ridiculous positions of Tea Party candidates and the violent and devastating rhetoric of the right wing media machine. Today in California, the Democratic candidates represent those that actually care to fight for a progressive agenda. While it might be hard to find real leadership or strong progressive fighters, to punish them by not voting today is the same as letting others vote for you against your own self interest.

Today should be about giving a voice to sanity this election cycle; to neglect your civic duty should be unthinkable. Get informed, get out there and go vote!