Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Today's the Day
Our national nightmare is almost over. Eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration, an ordeal that saw two of the most loathsome figures in our political system impact rise to power, is coming to an end. Eight years of peddling hate, lies and mobilizing fringe elements of our society under the banner of "family values" has not only reduced our country's influence and prestige in the world, it's also robbed many Americans of their belief in the great things that this country can do. If George W. Bush can be President, I wonder, what's the point of being an American?
And so the past two years for those of us who are a watching this spectacle called politics a little more closely than the average American have been intense. As a right-of-center Democrat, I've had my ups and downs with today's candidate. I've gone from being on the brink of tears at his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention and throwing my support behind his candidacy based on his stance on Iraq, but then supported Hillary when I realized that she was the victim of a treacherous assault by the Democrats. I was offended by the Democrats after they sold me Bill Clinton back in 1992 as some sort of God-send only to ditch his brilliant and thoroughly capable wife in favor of a more fresh and thoroughly untested candidate. I saw Obama as a line-cutter, I didn't think it was his turn to lead, and so I supported Hillary.
That was until June of this year when it became clear that Obama was the Democrats' choice. And then I panicked. I threatened to vote Republican and cursed the Democrats for throwing away the election. Barack HUSSEIN Obama? I couldn't believe it. Not only were the Democrats traitors, I thought, but they were also stupid and deserved to lose. Secretly, I resolved to just not vote at all.
But then in the past few months Obama has revealed himself as the kind of person I do want in the White House. While the McCain camp flung high school cafeteria insults at him Barack just went about staging a spectacular convention in Denver (which followed a spectacular world tour that was marked by record crowds in cities across Europe and the Middle East). We finally have a Statesman running for office and it's a beautiful thing.
I also admire the fact that Obama doesn't trade in fear tactics. He's not trying to scare Americans about their gay neighbors or the French, all he has to do is point his finger backward to eight years of Bush-Cheney or direct the public's attention to the possibility of Sarah Palin running the country. Or at the unraveling of John McCain, who was once a visionary leader and then forgot the most important element of being a successful leader: be yourself. By turning himself into a consort of the wack right wing, espousing rhetoric and issues that shouldn't matter in an election to the highest office in the world, John McCain became a puppet for a dying institution.
So I'm off to the polls now and I'm voting for Obama. Yes, I've taken cheap shots at him over the course of the campaign and I've even tried to rattle some cages by supporting John McCain. But I want you to know that I wholeheartedly support the Democratic candidate, that while I questioned the procedure and thinking that landed him in this privileged position I do not question Obama's character or his ability to lead.
Finally, as a person of color, I have to say this: I have never been more proud of my country.