The Time for Choices

Up until this point I've been ambivalent on my choice for President. That isn't to say I haven't had my opinions (wouldn't you be disappointed if I didn't?) but I think a big test of each and every candidate is how they handle themselves on the campaign trail. Will you try and appeal to the lowest common denominator? Will you try to win by dividing and carving up public opinion, hoping to gain support not on the merit of your own ideas, but on the bad publicity and prurient fascination of the E! tv devotees?

I originally supported Chris Dodd in his bid mainly for this very reason. When no one wanted to stand up and fight the White House because of the fear of negative backlash in an election season, he alone rose to the occasion and drew a line in the sand with regards to telecom immunity and White House blank checks for the destruction of American rights. However, it was fairly obvious from the beginning that he did not choose his fights based on their sex appeal or front page possibilities, and though I have supported him through his candidacy and even now after he has withdrawn, I know it's time to choose a new candidate for President that I can feel good about.

There was a time when that person would have been Hillary Clinton hands down. When her husband was elected President she was a shining example of someone who is really committed to leaving a legacy of forward progress in our country, a strong woman who was an equal partner and not just an arm decoration for her husband. I liked her so much because she was an intelligent political thinker in her own right, ready out of the chute to tackle the health care crisis in this country.

However, after it was clear that her proposals were not going to pass in Congress, and after the Republicans turned her image of a strong, smart First Lady into something of an embarassment, she turned tail and bowed to political pressure, spending the last years of her husband's tenure as the dutiful, quiet wife who only supported safe charity work. As far as I'm concerned, she's been eaten alive by Washington, and what was spit out at the end of the feast was nothing more than the memory of a symbol with no meaning, no substance, and no ethics remaining. The lesson she learned from her experience as First Lady was to do whatever it takes to win, no matter what it costs politically or ethically. Now, the woman who stands at podiums and declares her commitment to change in America is unrecognizeable to me. And so, she has lost my vote.

At this point that leaves Barack Obama, and so I have decided to cast my small lot of democracy behind him. While I haven't been impressed with his tendency to let himself get embroiled in the mud slinging from time to time, I have to say he seems to sincerely want to bring about change in this country. Now, whether that is feasible, considering the cowering, pathetic excuse for a Democratic Congressional majority we currently are stuck with, I don't know, but at least the man has the balls to stand up and proclaim that everyday Americans still matter. That counts for a lot in my book.

No, he's not perfect. No, he's never been tried in situations of international diplomacy and foreign policy. But I mean really, come on, let's get serious - Dick Cheney came to the White House with tons of foreign relations experience and jeez, look at all the good that's done us. We'd have been better off if Bushie had sent a trained monkey to just fling poop at anyone who didn't speak English. We'd probably have a better international reputation these days. Or at the very least, a little sympathy.

I know he's not JFK or MLK come again. I know he won't stop racism, save New Orleans, or keep us from falling into hard economic times. Georgie has messed everything up far too much for anyone to fix those problems overnight. And yes, I know he's a politician. They do what they have to do in order to get elected, and their conduct after the polls are closed oftentimes is very different from the smiling promises they make while they want your support. But damnit, the man is convincing. And I think at this point, more than Hillary, or poor John Edwards, or even my beloved Chris Dodd, Barack Obama has a chance to edge us just a little bit closer to being a UNITED STATES.

Go Barack!

Here are some other people who share my opinion. (Very cool video)


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