I'm going to be the first to admit that I've not been very good at following all the election hooplah this time around. Perhaps it is because I've been working at self improvement mostly, and of course, holding down my job.
But last night I watched Obama's 30 minute prime-time special, and what I've been considering for some time now has been solidified--Barack Obama is the right choice for America.
Long time readers of my blog will know I have a penchant for voting third party, as I classify myself as a Libertarian. Hopefully I won't alienate my fellow third party voters by announcing that I will be voting for Senator Obama.
"But Ezra, you've always championed Liberty, the free market, all your rights all the time, etc.! Why would you turn your back on that?"
This short answer is that I've lost a bit of my idealism.
The longer answer is very long indeed, so if you'll bear with me, I'll explain.
Obama's policies are often called Socialist, and I'm against socialism, because it's charity by force. However, you need to also remember that we currently live in a country that is closer to Facism and Statism than a true Republic. And here's the rub, since the only candidates that would work to restoring the republican government (meaning "of a republic", not the GOP) are Ron Paul (not running) and Bob Barr (Libertarian), and neither has a snowball's chance in hell of winning, I've decided to try and at least move towards my least offensive option--Obama. By definition, yes, some of his policies are Socialistic. But given the current state of affairs, (a choice between Facism and Socialism) I think I'll take the latter.
Secondly, who are we kidding? Our government is spending billions supporting corporate america, big business and wall street. If we're going to help anyone, we should be helping restore our middle class--the class that built this country and made it great.
Party definitions have changed over the years. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican--but by today's pundits, he'd be called a statist or facist--he disagreed with states rights. (Remember, that's what the civil war was really about?) He suspended Habeas Corpus during the war. He obviously wasn't concerned about the constitution.
To clarify, I like John McCain. I think he's a great American who has a genuine love for his country and a desire to serve. As you recall, he and Feingold are responsible for much of the campaign finance reform in our country. He's got what he thinks is best for America at his heart. And I respect him for that.
I'd be okay with McCain as president if he'd chosen ANYONE else for VP. But Sarah Palin is downright frightening. "But the media is picking on her!" Yes, because it's so easy! Joe Biden doesn't come accross as a total bimbo in his interviews. John McCain could die in office, he is pretty old and has some pre-exisiting health considerations. And I'm totally unwilling to accept her as president. And it has NOTHING to do with her being a woman. He could have chosen Republican Senior Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, who was named one of America's top ten senators by Time Magazine in 2006! She's been lauded with praise, is very smart, and Congressional Quarterly noted that her presence at the negotiating table in the 107th Congress was "nearly a necessity." (See wikipedia entry on "Olympia Snowe" for more information)
Basically Palin was a bonehead move, and he could totally have taken this election with someone else, like Snowe. But my guess is he wanted to choose someone he could manipulate and tell what to do, who didn't have any real opinions of her own. (See Katie Couric interview where she's asked about Supreme Court decisions she's disagreed with.)
Obama is positive, inspiring, and fresh. The whole world is watching our nation, (as American elections are often treated as a spectator sport by other nations, including betting and wagering!) and screaming "America, don't be foolish, elect OBAMA!". They too, are tired of our Imperialistic tendencies, and want change. These countries whose relationships we've damaged by our involvement in Iraq will be willing to come back to America's side with Obama. Most likely, they will not under a McCain White House.
There's a myriad of smaller reasons to support Obama, his decreasing taxes for the poor and middle class, increasing taxes for those that for years have raided the treasury with tax breaks and incentives for moving their businesses overseas and laying off workers; his commitment to energy independence, while still being willing to increase production domestically to meet our needs; his commitment to rebuild the middle class; and his ability to listen to the American People. Won't that be nice? Have a government of the people, by the people again?
I realize you can and should argue my points. I know there are flaws--he may not come through with his promises! You might say. Well, same is true for any politician. We have only their word and their voting record with which to judge. "Obama doesn't have the experience" you might say. Well, true, he doesn't have the experience of being president. But neither does McCain. So he'll not have experience being influenced by special interests! You know as well as I do that the president's cabinet and advisors are as important if not more important than the man himself. He's going to appoint VERY smart people. For crying out loud, he has a personal endorsement from the CEO of GOOGLE, one of the finest companies in America! Trust me, he'll be able to get the answers if he doesn't have them.
Also, not having experience means you don't have predetermined conclusions about how things "should be", and you are open to creating new methods, ways of attack, and overall creative solutions to our problems.
Obama is certainly not our Savior. He's just a man. But given our options, to me, at least, he's clearly the best man for the job.
Moving on from Obama, I just want to quickly state the following about Prop 8, the measure to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry.
It's that simple. It's removing rights. The majority HAS NO AUTHORITY to remove anyone's rights. That's mob rule, and it's appalling and unbecoming of a Republic (We are NOT a DEMOCRACY. My rights trump your majority vote every time, remember?) This law legislates intolerance. Tolerance doesn't mean approval, it means allowing things you don't like to co-exist. Tolerant white folks, for example, don't actively fight to eliminate interracial marriages through law, even if they do think it's wrong, because they know they have no authority to deny that right, and this is no different. When it comes to US Law, there should be no such provisions on freedom.
Anyway, please write me if you'd like to talk, I'm open to discussion. Please vote, and vote not from a position of fear or hatred or any other emotion except love for country, and what you think is really best for her. Thank you.