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Political commentary

October 8th, 2008 (01:12 pm)

current mood: contemplative

If you don't like Barack Obama, you probably won't like this commentary in The New Yorker, so by all means, don't read it.

However, if you're one of those people who intends to vote for Obama after taking a deep breath and hoping for the best, the commentary should make you feel better about your choice.

I, myself, have grown exhausted with being treated like I'm an idiot or some misty-eyed stargazer because of my political opinions. I'm not a socialist or a communist because of what I believe is the best direction for this nation to take in caring for its people and fostering the best in us all. I love my country and its liberties--liberties that come with risks as well as rewards. Also, apparently unlike many people noisier than I am--and this is NOT confined to a particular political party--I don't hate or hold in contempt my fellow citizens, even when they're flawed and even when their values and beliefs aren't the same as mine. I don't see how any of us can believe we stand on moral high ground when we're so intolerant and insulting to people who differ from us--and that is just as applicable to political ideology and spiritual beliefs as to those things over which we have no control--skin color, age, gender, national origin, and sexual orientation.

My core beliefs and values haven't changed from the first election I voted in until now--and I have voted for Republican candidates, including in one presidential election, based on those beliefs and values. As I've watched the GOP change over the decades, the gap between the party and my beliefs has turned into a Grand Canyon of difference, while the Democratic party has stayed mostly aligned with my beliefs. So I call myself a Democrat even though I'll go outside party lines to vote for those I think are the best candidates based on a range of issues.

Not this time, even though Barack Obama was not my first choice. Nor even my second. But when it became clear he was going to be the Democrats' choice, I listened and watched and read about Obama AND Biden AND McCain AND Palin. I'm not a blind follower, and I'm not a fool. Campaign slogans and promises mean very little to me. The executive branch is only one component of our government, but it's an essential part of global perception of and confidence in the U.S. Domestically, the White House needs to be able to work with Congress and make wise judicial appointments.

Is Obama the perfect candidate based on my personal priorities? No. I will not get everything I want. But who says I should? We as a people have the power to always work for those things we believe are right and just--not just when we vote for a president.

I feel calm and confident about my decision to vote for Barack Obama, and it helps to read commentators who take his measure and apply their conclusions to his leadership potential. That, ultimately, is what I hope for in a president: one who can lead all of us, not close himself (or herself) off from any of us.


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