Regular readers (God forbid) of this blog will know that I have a penchant for bashing the Republican Party. Recent events in the campaign of Mr. McCain (see previous post) have convinced me that doing so is not productive, as it only helps fuel a politic of hatred–be it intentional or not. In fact, that is the one thing for which I pity Mr. McCain; the campaign has gotten away from him and has become deeply visceral and hateful. I don’t think he intended that. The man is a honest to God hero, having given years of his life and the full usage of his arms to the country as a soldier and POW. Surely he wouldn’t intend to cause the kind of hatred that has been forming, to the extent of which even his own constituents boo him for daring to suggest civility and speak words that are (shockingly enough for almost any politician) the truth. I really want to believe that Mr. McCain simply listened to and trusted in the wrong people.
I have decided to be more mindful of my often hateful speech about the Republican Party. Now, this does not mean that I will not criticize what I think is an error. This does not mean that I will not object when I feel that the party oversteps its bounds. This does not mean that I LIKE any of the Republican Party’s candidates. It doesn’t mean that I think Bush (or Palin, for that matter) are any less clueless, that the war was anything less than an act of irresponsibility (if not insanity), or that the current woes of the nation should not be placed on the past eight years of administrative cock-ups. It also doesn’t mean I’m not going to be backhandedly sarcastic from time to time. It just means that I won’t be as intentionally mean anymore.
With that in mind, I want to do something that I don’t see a lot of people doing in this campaign. I want to tell you why I support MY candidate, Barack Obama…and I want to do it without saying anything negative about Senator McCain.
I support Barack Obama because I believe he embraces the concept of “change” as more than just a campaign slogan. With both parties using the word in their literature and on their posters, it is hard to even know what the word means anymore. Surely BOTH parties can’t truly be for change, right? I’ve got to say that I think Mr. Obama is the guy who really embraces the word-after all, he was the one saying it first. If nothing else, the concept of “change” can simply mean that he’s going to get in there and run the country as a Democrat would, thereby changing from how the previous eight years have gone. But more than that, I have already seen a notable shift in American politics because of Mr. Obama. He’s already STARTED the change-process in how he runs his campaign. Everything from the way he’s raising donations to the types of public appearances he makes show that he is a different kind of politician. I welcome that.
I also support Barack Obama because I think he has already shown his progressive thinking in his effort to respond to the economic crisis that was officially addressed in the last message from the White House. Mr. Obama played to his strengths. He called upon his economic advisers and with their help presented several recommendations for change. He was cool, collected, and presented his ideas in such a way that even I understood them.
I support Mr. Obama because-I’m sorry, naysayers-his position as a community organizer and political mediator really DOES mean something. Ever been to college? Most of America hasn’t, in fairness. I guess that’s why they don’t know that every accredited and many non-accredited schools in America now heavily stress programs centering around community development. In fact, at many schools, GPA is directly tied to their individual program. The highest educated minds in America are being taught that community MATTERS, and that having a positive impact upon a community is not only noble but is critical for the survival of said community. As a community organizer, Barack was practicing that spirit YEARS before it was in most curriculums. It’s not meaningless. It is hard, nearly executive-level work-you just don’t get an executive paycheck. Take it from someone who got put on academic probation once for failure to report service hours (me).
I also support Barack Obama because I think he has the insight to install GOOD people into the roughly 3,000 presidentially appointed offices. Yeah. It’s that many. Senate only approves something like 600 of them. Barack-again drawing from the economic proposals-has already shown that he surrounds himself with people who are helpful, bright, and who aren’t just going to sit on their hands. I’d love to see 3,000 of them in the government.
I support Barack Obama because he had the guts, the audacity, and the heart to choose Joe Biden as a running-mate. Joe is, of course, the guy who once said of Obama (in the primaries), “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” This of course did not sit well with many who misread his comments as laden with racial insensitivity. Biden maintained that he meant to pay Obama a compliment, but that it came out wrong. Obama, I guess, believed him. Obama in his choosing of Biden showed a long memory in choosing someone who paid him a compliment. He showed a spirit of forgiveness and progression when he chose a man who accidentally embarrassed him internationally. But more than that, he showed a great insight in choosing a man who has been in politics for 30+ years, but whom Washington alums still refer to as an “outsider.” He chose experience, but he also chose the odd-duck that doesn’t get invited to the really good Senate keggers-just the Wyoming ones. In my book, that’s smart.
I support Mr. Obama because of his eloquence. I know that’s a shallow reason. I also know that critics will say that he uses the word (if it’s really a word) “uhh” too much when he speaks on the fly. But, I do the “uhh” thing, too…so I can forgive that…and I’m sorry, but it’s important to me to have a president that will deliver his speeches clearly and understandably. (Okay, so this isn’t a primary reason that I’m voting for him…but I wanted to mention it, because it sure adds a lot to his charisma.) As Chris Matthews said directly following Barack’s speech at the DNC… “I’ve been criticized for saying that the man inspires me-and to Hell with my critics.” As arbitrary as I think words can be, it’s nice to know that the man is able to string them together in a way that rivals and sometimes even supersedes Bill Clinton.
To borrow from the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s ringing endorsement of Mr. Obama, I support him because, “He would be the first chief executive in more than six decades whose worldview was not formed, at least in part, by the Cold War or Vietnam.” Think about that. A man who probably can’t SPELL glasnost, much less know what it’s all about (I had to Google it myself, only remembering the word because I’m pretty sure Harry Anderson said it on “Night Court” once when talking to Yakov). A man who didn’t see his friends die or get hurt in a war founded with no reason (I envy him that) and is not jaded by the memory. A man who is not burdened by the mistakes of the past, but who is focused just on the present to create a better future. A man from an entirely new GENERATION to Washington politics. That’s huge. That’s relevant. That should happen.
Now a few popcorn-points of why I support Barack…just to break up the monotony…
- Because he is the son of a Kenyan and a Kansan, thereby possessing a rich cultural experience.
- Because of his stance on the war in Iraq-which MUST end before any more of MY generation has to die for no good reason.
- Because he knows that Osama is the real enemy and is the guy we should have been pursuing with the majority of our force these five to seven years.
- Because I too think that ALL Americans deserve health care.
- I’m in the middle class-uhh, if I’m that well off… Obama has done more to address the middle class in his speeches and has a more comprehensively developed set of plans to help the middle class than any other candidate I can remember in my lifetime, Democrat or Republican.
And, in closing, I’d like to again quote the St. Louis Post Dispatch…
“Finally, only at this late point do we note that Barack Obama is an African-American. Because of who he is and how he has run his campaign, that fact has become almost incidental to most Americans. Instead, his countrymen are weighing his talents, his values and his beliefs, judging him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.
That says something profound and good – about him as a candidate and about us as a nation.”
I think that last point alone shows just how capable Barack is to bring change to this nation.
…and those are at least a good majority of my reasons for casting my vote for Barack Obama on election day.
Thanks for reading all of that.