Saturday, November 01, 2008

I Endorse Barack Obama

And, I voted for him yesterday.

There, I’ve said it. For months I’ve said to my temporal friends, and written a bit to my cyber friends, that I could never vote for Senator McCain and, when she came along, Governor Palin. I couldn’t. But, I honestly wasn’t ready to vote for Obama.

I’d love to sit this election out, vote for the Libertarian candidate. That cop-out, that I’ve been taking for the last three national elections, is foreclosed for two reasons. I know a bit too much about Bob Barr and could never vote for him. More importantly, I live in Georgia. My state doesn’t matter. Better said, it hasn’t mattered in a national election since Jimmy.

This year it seems that it may. So I can’t throw away my vote. Yet, I cannot cast it unless I believe that I am doing the right thing.

Some history for you. Despite what my conservative friends say, I am an objective, independent person. I’ve never been and I don’t think I will ever be a member of a political party, as none that I’ve seen has a perfect slate whose lever should be pulled (I’ve never actually seen such a voting machine, for you younger people, read a book or do a Google search). I’m eclectic in my voting choices. McGovern, Ford, Carter, the Libertarian, Clinton, the Libertarian, the Libertarian, the Libertarian.

That brings us back to this year. It is time to not cast a protest vote.

I don’t believe all of what Obama says, as eloquently as he says it. I actually don’t think he is as radical as he has been portrayed or as he has talked. He is a pragmatic politician, Bill Clinton without some of the character flaws. He cut his teeth in Chicago politics.

He is a very intelligent person. You don’t get to be the president of the Harvard Law Review if you are a dullard (nor do you get admitted to the law school). I am prejudiced in favor of smart.

I could give you a litany of social reasons why I’m going to vote for him. I could list some of my reservations about some of what he, coupled with a totally liberal congress could do. I won’t. Instead, here is why it is time to vote for Obama.

He is, and I hate to say this, the Tiger Woods of American politics. Tiger is the cultural descendent of Muhammad Ali. Stay with me here.

Tiger was a prodigy that delivered on the hype. He had smarts, physical ability and an enormous talent. More importantly he had, and has the will to use his smarts, physicality and talent to become the best golfer in the history of the game, see that he needed to change the way he played to remain the best player, a couple of times, and then, last year, play a major tournament with a serious injury and win.

Ali was the forerunner of what I just said about Tiger with an attitude attributable to his era, the Sixties.

Tiger and Ali have another quality. They aren’t any one thing. Ali is a black man though he became early on, and remains, a world man. Tiger is a mix of races and cultures. Black and, I believe, Tai.

Obama with his racial and cultural diversity and his studied, practical bent is uniquely qualified to deal with the world we face.

Most of us are one thing, not really, but we see ourselves and each other as a “something.” I’m white, middle-aged, upper middle class. I could add a few more categories. Most of you reading this, will categorize yourself.

Ali, Tiger and his generation, and I think, Obama don’t see themselves that way. We don’t live in America any more. We live in the world. What we do affects the rest of the world, it always has. More recently we’ve learned that what the rest of the world does, affects us.

Obama understands that last part. I don’t think McCain does. I’m sure that Palin does not.

It is time to pass the torch from the generation of people that are older than me to the generation of people that are younger than me. I’m quite happy to skip my generation, to a generation of people that see themselves as a part of the world, not needing to defend themselves from the world.

I’m not talking about terrorists. I’m talking about rational people in the world dealing with each other rationally on economic and security issues, together protecting themselves from irrational terrorists. I’m talking about people who are willing to talk to those that oppose them “without preconditions.” The alternative to talking is fighting. If the talking doesn’t work, and you are steadfast in your view, then fight. But throwing a punch first is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people around the world, the people that live and die with you economically and socially.

John McCain doesn’t understand that, Barack Obama does.

For those of you on the fence, take a shot at a fresh, intelligent, modern thinker. Stale, plodding, mid-twentieth century non-thinkers have not done us well, security-wise or economically.

It is indeed time for change, not the change that Obama advertises; but for the change that he may well bring. An America that doesn’t rail against those that are different, those that seem to be economically ascendant. Rather, an America that participates in an inevitable world economy that needs security against those that would try to destroy all of us.

Is Obama the messiah? No. But he is the best choice for the world we have just recently found ourselves living in.


Keith said...

I guess I will characterize myself...

I'm a white, Scottish, middle-class, a little left of center, follower of Christ who believes in the Golden Rule.

Thanks for a very thought out post Dave.

Cynthia said...

Oh, bravo. I've lost my words recently, but you just described pretty much to a tee why I'm voting Obama.

Jeni said...

And if you haven't read one of Keith's most recent posts -which I suspect you may have already done -about what Obama really stands for in essence, do it -or to others who haven't, check it out. Both of you have put into words my feelings, my sentiments about this candidate. I had made my decision sometime back as to who I would vote for, but couldn't really put my reasoning into words that really explaining my feelings about not so much Obama, but other things that enter in to this decision. Thanks for a very well thought out post about a very important decision. Wish I could convince some of my relatives who seem to think McCain is the savior this year to read this and grasp your reasoning here.

fermicat said...

I voted for Obama, too. My vote was based on his temperament and intellect. He was the best of the available choices.

dr sardonicus said...

I'll be honest; I've reached the point where I consider the worst Democrat to still be better than the best Republican. The GOP has spent the last 30 years running just about everybody who has a lick of sense out of their party. Today's Republican Party consists almost entirely of warmongers, con artists, and religious fanatics.

Obama is far from perfect - I don't really think he's all that liberal - but he's far preferable to four more years of rule by psychopaths.

Art said...

Dave, I'll try and forgive you for voting for Obama. The Tiger and Ali comparison falls far short. Obama could never be in Tiger's league since Tiger is a proven element who has proven that he is a professional and has demonstrated a superior level of perfection. We also know that Tiger is a capitalist and his life is an open book without advocating radical socialist views with questionable friends. Obama has achieved a level of success and he is very smart, but he chose a radical and extremely liberal path. No conjecture here and his actions are like breadcrumbs on a worn path.
In 4 years if Obama wins, this country will fall into a society of entitlements and apathy that take years for a recovery.
Heaven help us as the Democrat party destroys this great country.

Art C.

j said...

I don't think Obama really expected to win the primary let alone the election. At the age of 47 with nothing on the resume that lasted more than a couple of years I think he was just making a trial run for '12 or '16. You can see the fear in his eyes at the realization he will be the leader of the free world.

So now you have it. A radical leftist as Pres (that would probably be on the no fly list if he wasn't a senator) and both houses of congress. I'm sure the Dems will find someone to blame when things don't go well even though they have total control. Probably drag Bush up every chance they get. I can predict the 2012 campaign theme now "we need more time to fix 8 years of Bush".

Lifehiker said...

Dave, you did yourself proud. Lawyerly in a personal way. I love the "Tiger" analogy. And, like you I have a libertarian stread (call myself a "liberal libertarian).

Those who believe Obama's an empty suit just don't get what his improbable life journey has done for him. He's "wise" way beyond his years, and wiser than McCain could even dream of being.

And as far as the "socialist" tag goes, Obama knows that all successful presidents are mindful of the "middle". Both Obama and McCain have had to cozy up to the diehards in their parties in order to get their hard work in the election, but, once president, their primary constituency becomes the vast "middle". For us, change is step-by-step, not falling off of cliffs. Obama will not make the mistake of going to far and alienating us.

I'm 64, a republican, fairly well off, Christian, and a successful businessman with a very good education. I'm voting for Obama for the same reasons you are. I'm hoping it's a landslide.

Dave said...

I hope that I'm right. Jay and Art, you may well be right, I hope you aren't. I should have said that my comparison among Ali, Tiger and Obama should be made early on. Ali proved himself, Tiger did likewise. I sincerely hope that Obama will do the same.

TM said...

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Hedy said...

"(that would probably be on the no fly list if he wasn't a senator)"

Are you fucking kidding me? It's one thing to attack him for his policies/record, but because of his name? That's just ridiculous.

But I'm not surprised.

Here's what it comes down to: Fear versus hope. McCain and Palin, just like Bush/Cheney before them, want to keep everyone fearful while they rape the economy and the Constitution and foreign countries in the name of freedom/oil. At least Obama has a message worth listening to, and not the same sorry-ass shit from the past eight years. Fear or hope. Yay, Dave.

j said...

To clarify for hedy - the no fly comment was a reference to his shady anti-amercian associations. Not his name. Someone named Barry O'Barry would receive the same comment from me. You are the one sensitive to his name not me.

DaleC said...

One problem with the analogy. Long before the accolades and hype, Ali and Woods had beaten the best competition available on their level. They had a record of accomplishment that was clear and easily understood.

Hedy said...

J: Fair enough. I guess Obama's so-called 'anti-American associations' didn't bother me any more than McCain pallin' around with the likes of G. Gordon Liddy. My bad.

DaleC said...

Yeah, a guy who spied on the opposition party is exactly the same as a guy who murdered innocent Americans. A guy who was your friend and became a criminal is exactly the same as a criminal who became your friend.

The same? Wow! Just "wow".