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Why I’m Voting for Barack Obama

June 26, 2008

I don’t consider myself an activist. It’s not that I don’t care about politics; there are those who would claim (some of them students) that I am a political junkie. As frustrated as I am about the political process, there’s something about the twists, turns, and upheavals that appeals to me. I’m one of those guys who follows several different news outlets. Some domestic. Some not. I’m one of those guys who will listen to neo-con nut jobs just so I can know what they’re saying … and so I will know how to respond if it ever comes up in conversation. I love talking politics, and I love talking about multiple perspectives; and one of the reasons I love talking politics is because I have a pretty firm grasp on my own political thoughts.

It goes without saying that I never had any intention of voting for any of the Republican Candidates who sought the GOP nomination. It’s not that I’m a party voter; but I know a couple of things for certain:

  1. The Republican Party does not represent, anywhere in it’s platform, my world view — either socially or politically.
  2. The Republican Party does not, in any of it’s platform, give me the impression that they care about anybody who isn’t making 6 figures.
  3. The Republican Party has already spent my daughter’s future, and their only solutions have been to try and privatize social security, back out of the Kyoto Protocol, and put our country in a war that we did not need to fight, while at the same time ignoring other very real threats.
  4. The Republican Party has shown itself to be Pro-Corporate and Anti-Worker.
  5. Under a Republican President, the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, and the middle class is slipping into a decline.

When I think about the issues that are important to me: universal health care, equal treatment under the law for everyone, and a fair tax system: I find that most of the things I support are part of the Democratic Platform. I’m also Pro-Union… so I guess it’s more like the old style Democratic Party. I believe that if we must have a government, then that government has certain obligations to the people who hold it up.

One of the common arguments I’ve heard against universal health care goes something like this: “Well, the government has shown that they can’t do anything right. So why depend on them for Health care? Another one, amazingly enough has gone something like this: “We don’t need no socialism here! Goddamn commies!” And another, which is actually almost reasonable, asks “How are we going to pay for it?” Libertarians would say to leave it to the market and that competition will fix the problem. Well, if time has shown us anything, it’s that HMO’s are interested in stock prices than how much it costs a family of four to buy health care. Republicans say pretty much the same thing… but then, most of them can afford health care. I see health care as a basic human right — not a privilege. Driving is a privilege. Voting is a privilege. The ability to go and see a doctor rather than wait out the flu — that is simple human decency. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party support the idea that everyone deserves to be healthy… and this includes having access to appropriate preventative care.

I watched the Democratic Primaries with a lot of interest; and it became clear, fairly early, that there were only really two contenders for the nomination: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. To be honest, I wasn’t a Hillary supporter — but I would have voted for her over McCain. I don’t have anything against her: her gender didn’t bother me, and her lack or abundance (depending on which news cycle you watch) didn’t bother me. In matters of policy, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are nearly mirror reflections. My only real issue with her was that she is a Clinton; and while I have fond memories of the 1990’s and I think Bill Clinton was one of our better (though not best — NAFTA has proven that) Presidents, I am sick of political dynasties.

Here’s what I liked , from the beginning, about Barack Obama:

  1. He voted against the war.
  2. He speaks out for and reflects an optimism that our country is sorely lacking.
  3. He supports the idea of universal health care.
  4. He supports energy independence.
  5. He supports civil liberties and our rights as individuals.

Do I think he’s going to march into the White House and change everything overnight? No. It will take more than Barack Obama. But I do think that if there’s a chance for real change, we need someone like him. Is he a politician? Yes. But I think that anybody who wants to run for office is a politician. There are no altruists in the halls of power.

On the issue of third parties: I think all parties that have enough backing should have a say and a place in the election. And there’s nothing in what Barack Obama says that indicates he would object to third parties.

I pretty much only have one disagreement with his stance on issues: I think anybody who is in love and above the age of consent should be able to get married… and I think that playing word games is a junior high school game that we need to get over. But is this one issue enough to make me vote third party, or [insert noticeable spine tingling shudder] for McCain?

Not on your life.  Not on mine, either.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2008 7:56 pm

    Maybe you should be an activist? Although at your own pace, of course…

    I agree with almost everything in your post except:

    I don’t think driving should be a privilege. This seems to be a mantra in the US. (Where did that come from?) I have recently heard that some states/ localities are taking away driving privileges/ rights for completely unrelated infractions as a kind of punishment.

    In my opinion, in a country in which it is very difficult to get around without driving- I think a driver’s license should almost be a right. Unless the state can provide transportation opportunities for everyone who needs to get to work, I can’t see any other way.

    And voting is definitely not a privilege- its a right.

    But a good post otherwise!

  2. September 1, 2008 5:42 am

    Good day!,

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