for months, i've been posting a lot of silliness and the occasional serious thought about this election and, of course, barack obama, my candidate of choice. i realized this morning, though, that i haven't added much substance to all that noise, though, in terms of saying *why* i'm so enthusiastic about obama.
sure, his style caught my attention early on. but not just his clothes or his overall appearance. i mean his demeanor, his way of interacting with people, his way of speaking. i have since learned that those things that attracted me from first sight attracted me for a reason. after all, what is a president but someone who represents me? not just my opinions when deliberating--but me, personally, and you personally and everyone else in the united states personally, when speaking with a foreign leader, when trying to persuade legislators to make a particular decision, when trying to get governors and other executives around the country to agree on something. if i were choosing a representative for any kind of interaction, i'd want someone who can listen to everyone in the room (and consider the views of those not in it), gather all the information with a keen intellect and strong curiosity, analyze the information, synthesize it, and communicate it to stakeholders and others with a calm strength and clarity of both vision and voice. and that's the first thing i noticed about obama--that his natural communicating style is just what i want representing me in any discussion anywhere. that's what people mean when they say he can bring people together, and it's why so incredibly many people--including national and world leaders--have such great admiration and affection for him. how on earth would i not want that leading my country?
once i knew i liked him that much, i explored some more. i've been contributing to the campaign (mostly money, but a bit of time as well) for two years, so i get all kinds of information from the campaign itself and from supporting organizations. but i didn't stop there; i don't like to surround myself solely with those who agree with me or support the same people i do. i read whatever i can about him and his positions and about other candidates and their positions. especially not being a democrat ever before in my life, let alone being this enthusiastic about any candidate ever, real knowledge and understanding has been really important to me before i'd voice my support for someone the way i have.
not everything is sunshine and roses, of course. i'm a laissez-faire kind of girl, so i don't get excited about the idea of more civil-rights laws and regulations. do i want the world to be a fair, equal, and happy place? duh. but i don't think it's the proper place of government to make laws that try to *make* it that way. so how did i get to this place where i am overjoyed at the idea of this democratic pair taking over the executive branch (and apoplectic when i think of it being anyone else)?
first, because obama believes what i believe in every way that's important.
he believes, as i have come to believe after my three-plus years editing books on transforming the military, that a traditional military is not the security blanket it might once have been. it needs entirely different skill sets to do the kind of work being asked of it now and a completely different philosophy driving it. and he intends to help military families and veterans, a population that is astonishingly overlooked.
he believes that military might is never the first go-to response, nor is it the first category of tactics to initiate.
he believes that we are citizens of the world beyond our borders, not just a superpower to dominate or police it. this means participating in international organizations, such as the united nations, that bring world leaders to the table to discuss and, yes, sometimes negotiate such issues as trade, outsourcing of labor, the environment, and r&d.
he is more interested in helping stabilize and grow the u.s. economy than in spending $30 billion (if i've remembered that figure correctly) every week in a war that we never should have started and from which we should extract ourselves as quickly as we can safely do. this means real relief to those being hurt most by the current economic disaster, including seniors and those too poor to reliably afford utilities, health care, and housing. and he wants basic consumer protections in place for mortgages, health care, credit cards, and bankruptcy. and he has views i can describe only as reasonable for child and dependent care, education, and work-life balance.
he knows that education is the building block of every great society, especially a democratic one, and he means to ensure that education improves for children and college students, including those who are not native english speakers.
he believes in greening jobs, technology, transportation, and national security.
he believes in accountability in government just as there is (or, in some cases, should be) in the private sector.
these are maybe the first half of the things i've learned, and only at a skin-deep level. my head hurts too much to wrote more at the moment, but i'll aim for the other half tomorrow. the most important thing i can say is that you'll find detailed, clear, plain-english information about all of these and other issues on obama's web site, and i hope you'll read them if you haven't already. i hope that you'll make time to learn everything you can, if you haven't already (in which case thank you for being such a great citizen!) before november 4 so that you can pull that lever, push that button, or punch that chad with a full heart and peaceful mind.
if you haven't heard yet, senator obama received a beautiful endorsement this morning. i hadn't thought too much about what that would mean, but having heard the reasons; the detailed description of a careful analysis of both candidates whom he was considering, the state of the nation, the qualities of each candidate and his campaign and future plans; and the attention to tact, grace, and care that he described, i am filled with pride and happiness about it. read more here, and watch the fantastic endorsement and reasoning here.
john mccain, it seems, did not suddenly become evil in the past decade. tonight, he is giving (gave?) a talk at a big charity dinner where obama, members of the media, and apparently a zillion others were also in attendance. and i got a glimpse past the hateful beast he's been in recent years to the drily funny person i remember him being before he started this phase of his life. (i have no idea where it started, so i have to call it a phase, for lack of a better description.)
anyway, he said some very gracious things about obama amid the jokes, and of course i cried. i'm sure somebody'll post it on youtube; try to catch it.
big bad migraine day, so not much to say except to please remember that al gore was showing a double-digit lead at this time in 2000. elections are narrow these days; we don't need this one to be a squeaker. so please mark your calendar to vote two tuesdays from now, whether you're supporting my candidate or someone else (though of course if you're undecided, i'd be happy to recommend a candidate for you).
and remember that one candidate does not think that the united states should be beholden to international treaties, guidance, or "rules" like this one. and the other wants us to participate in the world community as a contributor and responsible citizen. imagine.