If it was entirely possible that someone was not aware, it will be election day in the United States by the time we all wake up in the morning. I've been reading a lot about the election for the last several months, but I haven't really written about it. I can count on one finger the number of times that I've ever written about politics and I'm certainly not going to start writing about it a bunch now. It's a little late in the game, if that phrase is proper. However, I did want to express myself about my choice in case anyone was curious. One formality first:
I don't think that's going to surprise anyone, at least not anyone that knows me well at all. But how did I --how does anyone-- really make a decision to support one candidate over another? I wouldn't set out to change anyone's mind who has already made a decision, especially between now and when the sun comes up. But if you find yourself a member of the one in seven registered voters who are still undecided at this late hour, perhaps if I document my process it will help you vote with more confidence. It's the least I can do.
As background, my parents --my mother most specifically-- were Democrats and my upbringing has perhaps leaned me in that direction. But I find myself sometimes thinking more conservatively as I grow older. As one illustrative point, I find myself sometimes leaning more pro-life than pro-choice. I'd never dream of restricting a woman's rights. I've just grown to understand the preciousness of life a bit better. This leads to an inner conflict I didn't have as a teenager when I thought pro-lifers were insane and throwbacks to the Dark Ages.
But that's just one issue. And I'd never want to be a one-issue voter. Except lately, I've come to understand that these dedicated individuals are just that; dedicated. They've drawn a line in the sand and said that the people who represent them shall never cross it. Ever. There's a certain heroism to that. There is a certain valor to looking at an issue as
black and white and not allowing shades of gray to convince you to compromise when you really don't want to. I may not feel that strongly about many issues, but I want to say that I'd fight to the death for someone else's right to feel that strongly about one. And they shall not be denied that right by me, even if I disagree with them wholeheartedly. It's a truism that makes America great.
I don't recall how I first heard about Obama. Perhaps it was this video:
What made this special to me is not the celebrity endorsements or the interesting video cuts. Barack's voice and speech cadence is easy to listen to and so easily lends itself to music that I imagine this song incorporating his speech wrote itself. The next president is someone who we will hear speak many times over the next several years. How about choosing a candidate because they are easy on the ears? If they speak plain english, but eloquently and with subtle style... Perhaps that may seem superficial but it's important that leaders be charismatic in order to be taken seriously.
About a month ago, there was a special on 20/20 or 60 minutes that profiled both candidates and their wives quite deeply. I really liked the fact that it was very fair and bipartisan and showed the human side of both men and their families. I really enjoyed the interviews. Contrary to what you might hear, neither of them is actually evil! When the show was over, I felt that no matter what our country will be led by a good person that I could get behind. It's really too bad that only one of them can be the president and the other will likely fade into obscurity. I was left wishing for a way to vote them both into office.
I'll mention the war briefly because someone would say that I have to. I think that we as a nation have failed in this and every other conflict for the past dozen+ years because we have lost the stomach for protracted wars. Where is Bin Laden? What happened to the search for him? Can we just forgive our enemies without conceding defeat to them? I don't even know the difference between the need for justice and the need for revenge anymore. Neither candidate has a magic wand for this issue. I don't really want to talk about this and so I'll just stop there.
The issue that really clinched the deal for us --and by "us" I mean Lisa & I-- was the fact that back in June of this year, Barack Obama very publically proposed legislation to better track SIDS and stillbirths, bringing attention to an issue I care deeply about. If you can look me in the face and tell me that you can't at least consider the guy for that reason alone, I don't want to hear anything more from you.
Beyond this, I listened carefully to what some of my friends, ministers and other people I looked up to had to say. For instance, check out these blogs:
- Nikomas Perez's Posts About Politics
- Derek Brink's Posts About Politics
- ...and a lot of other sites I bookmarked: My Bookmarks on Delicious Tagged Politics
No matter what, it's time to vote. If you need one more strong push to do so, understand that 48 months is a very long time. Want to feel that down to the marrow? Listen to 48 Months by Sinister Dane [mp3] or download the mp3. Once you're done head-banging, pick yourself up off the floor and go vote!