In my last entry, I said that I was voting for Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election. In this entry, I'm going to explain why...
The first time I heard the name Barack Obama was back in September 2007 while eating a slice of pizza at a local restaurant. The TV positioned above the doorway was tuned to MSNBC, the volume just loud enough to be audible. The issue being discussed was Barack Obama's lack of patriotism due to the absence of a flag pin on his lapel. I distinctly remember the camera turning to a very serious Hillary Clinton who said, "I wear a flag pin on MY lapel, I don't understand why somebody who loves this country wouldn't!"
At that moment, I knew I would not be supporting Hillary Clinton...
The next time I heard news of Barack Obama was in February. The primary race between him and Hillary was neck and neck, the articles plastered all over the internet. It was about this time that the Jeremiah Wright "scandal" came to prominence, one of the lousiest fabrications I've ever seen the mainstream media latch on to. Not only was the quote "Goddamn America" taken completely out of context (I watched his entire sermon, it was one of the best condemnations of tyrannical policy that I've ever seen), but Jeremiah Wright had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign. I'm glad it happened, though, because Obama's response was the most mature speech on race in recent history. From then on, Barack Obama had my full support.
Then, something happened that nearly crippled my hope for the future of America. In late June, the house and the senate passed an updated FISA bill which granted retroactive immunity to the telephone companies that participated in the warrantless wiretapping extravaganza that occured under the Bush administration. The bill set a precedent saying that phone companies could spy on American citizens without their knowledge and not be held accountable for violating the fourth amendmant of the Constitution. When I learned that Barack Obama supported this bill, I was upset. What really broke my spirit, though, was when he announced that he'd filibuster against the portion of the bill that granted retroactive immunity. He refused to follow through, a lie that betrayed his core supporters and called the message of his entire campaign into question.
After months of thought and research, I've returned to the Obama camp, albeit with a much more pessimistic view of America and its politics. I now know that Barack Obama is not campaigning for me, the twenty something cynic. He is campaigning for the average American. The poorly educated, xenophobic, apathetic average American. And that's fine. There are millions more average Americans than there are of me and, in this country, they are more important.
When elected, Barack Obama WON'T balance our budget. He WON'T put an end to the fundamentalist drivel that pervades our education system. He WON'T usher in a new cultural revolution that garners the respect of our international peers, and he WON'T stop the corporate lobbyists from running our government with their bottomless bank accounts.
Barack Obama WILL be a well-spoken and intelligent face for America. He WILL diplomatically discuss foreign policy issues with world leaders, hopefully earning our country some international respect. At home, he WILL be the positive face that the poor and middle classes desperately need.
When I vote for Barack Obama, it won't be because he is a demi-god capable of solving our mountain of foreign and domestic issues. I'm voting for him because he understands the wants and needs of the majority of the American people. He cares deeply for the average American, something that is integral to running this country, but also something that I will never understand. This November, I cast my vote for Barack Obama, the man willing to sacrifice everything he has to inspire a backwards nation to work for a better tomorrow.