Antoinette Fischer, a self-proclaimed super voter, waited in her car for her husband to finish voting – a task they have come to view not only as a civic duty but as a patriotic expression. Adjusting the beaded string of American flag pendants around her neck, Fischer described ending the wars in the Middle East as the foremost issue in the election.
“I’m very war-weary,” Fischer said. “I believe that we can keep a strong military and have a strong defense without having to get involved in every war all over the world.”
Even more than the ailing economy and civil rights issues, two concerns Fischer has for the upcoming four years, the treatment of veterans is a matter of personal importance to her. “I come from a family of veterans,” she said. “We are very patriotic people. And I want to support our troops with my vote 100 percent.”
As her husband walked past the rows of parked cars covered in candidate pos ters and through the parking lot where, earlier that morning, voting lines stretched down the street, Fischer, a life-long Miami-Dade County resident, said she was proud of having done her own political research. More advertising money was spent on the 2012 presidential campaign than any other. But Fischer said she was “not at all affected” by all the spending.
“I do my own homework,” Fischer said. “There are so many lies being told in the ads that I can’t let them affect me.”
Her unease about the future of civil rights was shared by other voters at South Miami’s American Legion polling place. Crystal Tavares, a Dade County schoolteacher and University of Miami graduate, described her vote for Obama as a way to make sure that certain rights do not get neglected. “From a social perspective,” Tavares said, “it is important to me that gay people are allowed to get married and Planned Parenthood continues to get funding.”
Tavares said she has confidence in the economy. But, like Fischer, she said she sees her vote as a way to ensure her values and beliefs are accounted for and that her friends and family are fairly represented.
After all the talk about the election turning on economic policy, issues of basic fairness and equality proved most important to these voters. “I’m concerned for our future,” Fischer said, echoing the now familiar campaign slogan of President Obama. “I’m concerned about going forward and not backwards.”