My Vote ’08 Why I am voting for Barack Obama

Four years ago I wrote my pre election installment, “Why I am not voting for George W Bush.” This time I have entitled my pre election installment,”Why I am voting for Barack Obama.” The shift from negative to positive is significant. My first pre election installment was based on a negative premise because the democrats at the time were in disarray and were only reacting to the Republican position. The GOP position, on the other hand, put forward platform positions that I profoundly disagreed with. This time the Republicans are in disarray and the democrats under Barack Obama are proposing many platform positions that I can whole heartedly support. Here are my reasons why I am supporting the Obama/Biden ticket this year.

Obama has stated that he will get this country out of the Iraq war. This is a war that we were drawn into on false pretenses and it needs to be ended as quickly as is responsibly possible. I have written at length about this. Obama’s voting record shows that he has been against the war from the outset and that he will responsibly take this country out of Iraq. This country sorely needs a different approach to foreign policy and as I have suggested in my installment, “Russia in Georgia and America in Iraq,” Obama is the only candidate who will do this.

America desperately needs radical change to its health care system and Obama and the Democrats are the only party that may be able to make these changes. I know many people who are hard workers and yet they have no access to respectable health care. Sure, they can stand in ‘welfare’ lines for medical help, but the care is substandard and the process is degrading. Why should they have to be treated this way? Why can’t the ‘richest country in the world’ not look after its citizens in a respectable manner? The Republicans under McCain will never deliver the necessary changes to health care in this country. They are strictly status quo.

I travel abroad regularly and I know that people throughout the world universally admire America, what it stands for, and yet they cannot understand the policies of the Bush administration. As a result the world-standing of this country is abysmal. Somehow, in the eyes of the world, Barack Obama represents what is best about America. Throughout Europe, from my personal experience, I have seen this to be true. Obama was in Europe when I was in there this summer and I spoke to many people about him in four countries. The view was the same. Contrary to what many people think in this country, how we are perceived in the world is extremely important. Again this goes back to my ideas about the Russian incursion into Georgia. It is not in America’s interest or even in the world’s interest for this country to unilaterally “rule” using brutish tactics. Diplomacy is the mature way, but diplomacy cannot work without moral authority, good relations and cooperation amongst countries. The Republicans under John McCain are simply a further extension of the old unilateral strong arm approach of the Bush administration. America needs a new face and Barack Obama can provide it.

Pursuant to this view, Obama is African American and has Islamic roots. It is the American Dream that anyone, if they work hard can get ahead and even become president. What an amazing thing that an African American may actually become president of the United States! This fulfills the American Dream in the eyes of the world. First, we saw Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice in high office, but now to see a black man in the Oval Office, the highest office will be utterly astounding and will greatly enhance the world respect for America. That Obama’s father was from Africa also means that most of Africa sees him as one of theirs. And even more, that Obama has Muslim roots, because his father was Muslin and his name is Muslim means that the Islamic world also sees him as one of theirs. He is not Islamic, of course, but he is perceived by the Islamic world as being “muslim-ish” which is close enough. If this country elects a “muslim” it will be a huge statement about America to the Islamic world that I think will undercut the moral authority of Islamic terrorism. The positive public relations that a personality like Barack Obama can bring to this country, after the abysmal face the Bush administration has put before the world, is enormous.

The Republican administration has had eight long years to elect conservative justices to sit on the Supreme Court. Another four years would be devastating for this country. It is critical that the Supreme Court reflect both conservative and liberal positions. Therefore it is extremely important that another four years not be given to the republicans to nominate more conservative judges.

Sara Palin may be a distinguished and wonderful person, but she is not qualified to be president of the United States. She lacks experience, knowledge and depth of character. The whole state of Alaska is not nearly as big as even the City of Los Angeles. On that basis the mayor of Los Angeles is more qualified to be president than the governor of Alaska. Joe Biden, on the other hand, is qualified to become president if need be. He was 35 years of senatorial experience and he is known to be a foreign policy expert. Barack Obama has displayed excellent judgement in choosing Biden, while McCain has demonstrated recklessness in choosing Sarah Palin. This country will be the laughing stock of the world if we position such an inexperienced and insubstantial person as Sarah Palin to such high office.

Finally, this country seems that it is about to make history by electing the first African American president. What a wonderful thing. I want to be a part of this historical moment. This, of course, is not a reason to vote for Obama, but it is a factor to be aware of.

But here is the bottom line: I would be prepared to throw away all of the above arguments if I could honestly say that this country was better off now than it was 8 years ago. Obviously this is not the case, and there is little doubt that a McCain/Palin ticket is simply going to be a continuation of the Bush administration regardless of what they say. Conservatism is conservatism and this country needs a new face and a new beginning. Barack Obama is young, intellectual and dynamic and can offer a new approach to how this country governs itself and treats the rest of the world. I am therefore voting for Barack Obama.

I agree with the words of Colin Powell when he recently spoke of John McCain, “As gifted as he is, he is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda, with a new face and a maverick approach to it … But I think we need a generational change.” What more can I say?

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