At the request of some of my friends, who are dismayed at what they see as an over-abundance of negativity (um, hello, have you met me?), I’m making this post — entirely positive. An endorsement with no reservations, and no slights (perceived or otherwise) against other candidates:
I am supporting Barack Obama for President.
1) The man represents a move away from the bitter partisanship of the past. His legislative record (especially in the Illinois State Senate) is one of forging bi-partisan support, including some unanimous votes — something almost unheard of in modern politics. He is our best chance to heal the divide in our country, and he appeals to Independents and moderate Republicans, opening the possibility of a near-landslide victory in the general election, or at the very least a clear mandate.
2) Obama is the embodiment of a generational shift in authority. For the past 30-odd years, our country has been a battleground between those who fought in and supported the Vietnam War and those who protested against it. Liberal vs Conservative. Blue vs Red. Obama comes from a generation that doesn’t carry that baggage. As a result, he motivates younger voters in a way I haven’t seen before.
3) Obama is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. Hearing him deliver a speech gives chills to even a cynic like me — and has moved others to tears. One of the most critical jobs of the new President will be to repair our image abroad, reforging alliances that have been strained to the breaking point. What better job could there be for a moving, emotional speaker? Our image at home needs repairing as well, and Obama has *already* rekindled a pride and a hopeful spirit that I had feared lost. He makes people believe that we can be the nation that we were always taught we were.
4) Obama is right in all of his policy stances, and especially on the war in Iraq. Obama is also the best answer to another critical question of the next term — the “unitary executive” and unreviewable executive authority. Obama is the only candidate who has said that he’d roll back that power-grab, and abide by the laws of the land.
5) Obama is not afraid to have the courage of his convictions — not only does this make him eschew the triangulation and poll-driven calculations of traditional politicians, but it also allows him to have the courage to tell people what they need to hear, instead of pandering to what they want to hear. He has told church audiences that they need to embrace “our gay brothers and sisters.” He has told black audiences that they’re not living up to MLK’s dream because of rampant intolerance within the community. He has told debate audiences filled with Hollywood elite that they need to “show some thought” about the presentation of sexual and violent content on TV. He says what he believes, and is honest about it. (Note, this is one of the things I also like about McCain, but that’s a topic for another day)
6) Barack Obama has the potential to near-instantaneously change how the rest of the world sees us. Think of the at-risk teenager, living in what has been called “the Arab Street.” How likely is an Islamist recruitment argument going to work, when the teenager can see that the “face of America” is a brown-skinned man named Barack Hussein Obama? I’m not saying it will be a magic cure, but it certainly changes the argument, in a dramatic fashion.
For these main reasons, and many others, I’m proud to be an Obama supporter.
Now, I’ll follow positivity with begging: if you live in a Super Tuesday state, VOTE TODAY. Please. (And if your primary or caucus is forthcoming, for that matter.)
This primary season allows us all the chance to have our individual votes count even more than they do in the general election. This is not the “pre-game show” — this is part of the main event. The races are close, and will be won by the so-called “ground game” — getting people to the polls. As has long been true, History is made by those who show up.
If everyone with an interest showed up and cast their vote, the polls and the pundits would be meaningless, drowned in a tidal surge of participation the likes of which has not been seen in this country in a long, long time. Please.
This is especially important for younger voters (40 and under). The reason why most politicians don’t address our needs and opinions directly is, bluntly, we don’t vote. They know that the older generation goes to the polls, and so it makes more political sense for them to cater to that vote. A massive turnout by younger voters could change that, for good, so it’s in our best interests to show up. Please do so.