While I make no secret of my political beliefs, I ordinarily try to shy away from outright endorsement of candidates. I used to think that politics was kind of like religion: something that’s a very important part of peoples’ lives, but something that’s bound to offend people if you talk about it much. Plus, I really don’t like to divulge too much in the way of significant personal information, and who I supported (or how I prayed) was no one’s business, I thought. But to me, my vote on January 8 is going to be one of the most important things I’ve ever done.
And I’m going to break with tradition and tell you who I’m voting for. I’m going to case my vote in the primary for Barack Obama. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same.
If you’d asked me a few years ago, I’d have told you that I was somewhat unhappy with politics. I was sad when Kerry lost the 2004 elections. But I’ve gone from “somewhat unhappy” to being truly afraid for the future of our country, and for being truly disgusted with some of the betrayals of the American people. I’ve been exploring jobs in other countries. Not because I want to send some sort of message that I don’t like politics, but because I don’t think I’m living in the America I was so proud to belong to. I hate alarmists, but, well, sound the alarm bells: America is in crisis.
Maybe about six years ago, I started getting disappointed every time I turned on the news. Something bad was always happening. And it’s happened every day for all these years. Most of the world hates us. Not all of it, but huge parts of it. While much of the world is already suspicious of our motives, we start a series of wars in Islamic countries and then go and issue proclamations expressing our support for Christianity. We seek to teach the “backwards” world about the benefits of freedom and democracy, by capturing them, transporting them to secret prisons, abusing them, and then torturing them in barbaric fashions. Does no one see the blatant hypocrisy? And when we point out that we already outlawed this, and that it flies in the face of everything that is America, we debate it. We’re at war against people who torture people and defy democracy, and we need to be able to torture people and defy democracy in order to do it, after all. The kings of democracy also have a whopping one state that permits same-sex marriage, something that more advanced countries have been permitting for years. And when we started calling it unconstitutional to deny people a basic civic right, we changed the Constitution in many states, and tried to change the Constitution. Forty-two states, and the Federal government, also passed laws explicitly prohibiting gay marriage.
When I graduate from college, I’ll have no health care until I get a job that offers it. But I count myself as lucky, because millions of people just don’t have health insurance at all. We tried to pass a bill ensuring that poor children could get health insurance, but we struck it down. Twice. We spend more than any nation on health care, and yet our system is among the worst. But people argue that there’s no problem, or that, if there is a problem, we shouldn’t pay for it.
Oh, and the American economy, kings of capitalism, is in the toilet. No offense to Canada, but it’s pretty depressing when the Canadian dollar surpasses the American dollar. We had an investment banker come in and talk to us a while back. He moved all of his money out of the country a few years ago.
I want to turn on the news and smile once. I want to stop looking at jobs in the Netherlands.
I want to be proud to be an American again.
I’ll admit that, at first, I didn’t want to support Obama. As much as he blew me away every time he spoke, I was really concerned about his lack of experience. Foreign policy is going to be huge, and he’s a one-term Senator. Why should he be the guy?
I think it’s the same reason that I’d be an amazing police chief, or an amazing president of my school. No, not hubris. Because he has a fresh experience. You spend too much time at something and you start to maintain status quo. Look at a lot of the businesses, especially small ones, that have been around for decades. What are they doing? Nothing new! Where are they going? Nowhere! They’ve built themselves a fabulous box in which to think, in which there’s really not a lot of room to maneuver. They found something that works and stuck to it. But this box–these blinders–prevent change. It’ll help you keep things going, but it won’t help you change the direction things are going on.
And if there’s anything we need, it’s change.
But don’t take my word for it. While I strongly support him, you owe it to do your own homework. Check him out. Read about his stance on the issues. And, living in New Hampshire, go see him speak. I always go in with high expectations and leave with them surpassed. And I’m firmly convinced that he’s the right man for the job. We’re not picking some arbitrary thing. We’re choosing our fate for the next four years. And we have an obligation–not just to ourselves, to our neighbors, and to the world, but to future generations–to make sure we elect the best person for the job.