Re-Electing Obama Essential to Preserving Social Safety Net

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President Barack Obama (Nashua, New Hampshire, 3-1-12)

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President Barack Obama (Nashua, New Hampshire, 3-1-12)

COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama was scheduled to appear at Nashua Community College during the middle of a snow storm. That morning, my 85-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer's, made her daily appeal not to have to go to adult daycare. I told her she could have the day off as my sister, who couldn't make her commute to Massachusetts, was able to check in on her.

The day before, I had taken Ma with me to NCC to pick up the ticket for the event. When I returned to the car and showed her the invitation embossed with the Presidential Seal, she couldn't remember who Obama was. She had voted for him despite his having beaten her beloved Hillary.

Driving to Nashua, I got blocked by a line of snowplows, three abreast, clearing Route 3 and slowing traffic to 40 mph. I wanted to pass them, open up the throttle and fly by. They eventually peeled off and it was rough sledding the rest of the way . At one point, changing lanes as the exit neared, I hit an unplowed patch in the slow lane, started to skid, and almost went off the road.

Inside the NCC gymnasium, I was one with a crowd of hundreds who were happy for a chance to see Obama despite having to brave the bad weather. As I listened to him, I thought of how my disappointment with him led me to quit the Democratic Party in protest, registering as an independent and even voting in the Republican primary. As the GOP candidates descend further into Cloud Cuckooland, I wonder if it's time to come back.

The Republicans who retook the New Hampshire legislature in 2010 have slashed spending on social programs, which will result in cutbacks to services for people like my mother this summer. What am I going to be able to do with her in a few months?

On the road back home, it's a repeat of my morning's journey. Three snowplows, except now they are going 30. They seem to symbolize the government: Frustrating, but without their help, I and many other drivers would be off in the ditch. They are slowing me down, but they are also providing me with an essential service that would turn this road into a dangerous wasteland if terminated.

Obama will get my vote this November as he will preserve the social safety net.

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