Commentary: We Can't Let Up in This Election

NFL cornerback and Ohio native Charles Woodson on why it's important to re-elect President Obama.

Posted: 11/05/2012 07:13 PM EST
Commentary: We Can't Let Up in This Election

There is only one day remaining until Election Day, and perhaps the near constant calls to get out the vote have lost their sense of urgency. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in swing states, you may have started ignoring the never-ending television ads or started forwarding campaign emails to the spam folder. Or maybe you snapped at the poor soul who happens to be on the other end of the line in your third election-related phone call of the night.

It can be tempting to tune it all out, but here’s the unvarnished truth: we can’t. Not this year. Not with this much on the line. We can’t afford to sit back and let this election happen to us because the stakes are just too high.

Every day President Obama wakes up he fights for us and we need to have his back. He is fighting for our children with his investments in Head Start and initiatives like Race to the Top. He is fighting for our families by fighting for an economy built to last where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. He’s fighting for our small businesses and those of us who depend on them by cutting small business taxes and helping us get the capital we need to invest, hire and grow. 

And think about how he fought for the auto industry — in my home state of Ohio we were definitely feeling the hurt. Even though it wasn’t popular at the time, President Obama took decisive action, stood up for American workers, and stepped in to rescue the industry. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney said we should have let Detroit go bankrupt, which would have caused those companies to shut their doors, devastating manufacturing in the U.S.

President Obama also gets it when it comes to education. He’s dedicated to making sure all children can get a quality education and attend college if they want to. President Obama strongly believes that education is an economic imperative, not a luxury, and that all children regardless of their zip code should have access to the kind of educational opportunities that he and first lady Michelle Obama did. From his Race to the Top initiative, which has already raised standards in 46 states, to doubling Pell Grant scholarship funding, to investing in HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions, he understands the significance education plays in our children’s future and has delivered on that priority time and time again.

He’s also fought for historic health reform. I’ve heard Mitt Romney refer to Obamacare as if it’s a derogatory word, but our president owns this term and will proudly admit that he does care that all of us have access to quality, affordable health care.

Thanks to Obamacare, 7 million African-Americans now have access to health care who would not have had it before. Thanks to Obamacare, we can finally get preventable illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and stroke under control. Thanks to Obamacare, insurance companies won’t be able to deny us coverage because of pre-existing conditions and charge women more than men for the same care. 

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has written off half the country as “victims” who won’t take “personal responsibility” for themselves. He still refuses to give specifics on his economic plan — and the little of it we do know doesn’t add up. This is what we do know: he wants to give even more tax breaks to the wealthy, which would be paid for by the middle class; repeal Obamacare on day one and gut key education investments.

The stakes are clear, and they are high. Romney will take us back to the same top-down policies that failed us before — that’s why we must work harder than ever to make sure Mitt Romney gets nowhere near the White House.

As the past couple of weeks have made all too clear, this race will be close. There is little question that the polls will continue to have their ups and downs, but one thing is certain: we can’t risk a Romney victory. We can’t let up. It is time to double down and work harder than ever to re-elect President Obama. 

In these next 24 hours, do not leave a single rock unturned. Vote early if you can and take your friends with you. Reach out and talk to your neighbors. Find your local campaign office and help with the Get Out the Vote effort. Never underestimate your ability to make a difference in this fight. Visit vote.barackobama.com for all of the information you need to make sure your voice is heard in this election.

In 2000, the election was won by a margin of 537 votes, meaning that a few hundred voters helped to set our country on the path that eventually led to financial collapse. This election could be just as close, and believe it or not, the stakes are even higher. We can’t afford to write off this election like Romney has written off half the country.

We have to finish what we started in 2008. There's more to do, but we're on the right track. We can’t go back; we have to move forward.

Charles Woodson is a cornerback and safety for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and played college football at the University of Michigan. He is an Ohio native.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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