Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and many of you have the chance to go to the polls and vote in the primaries of the presidential election. I should have done this before now, but it's not too late for me to tell you why I'm voting for Barack Obama. Here it is:
1. I believe he is the most likely candidate to bring a swift end to the costly war in Iraq--or at least, to our participation in it. The civil war (are they even calling it that yet?) will probably go on for years, but our presence there is not making things better. It's only getting Americans killed and turning our foreign policy into target practice for the rest of the free world.
Mr. Peevie said to me yesterday that this single issue is becoming a litmus test for a presidential candidate. It seems likely that McCain will get the Republican nod, and he seems committed to the surge and a long-term commitment of troops to the region.
2. He has creative, aggressive, and bold ideas for dealing with this country's most urgent and far-reaching domestic concern: energy. We use oil, gas, and electricity often without even thinking about it--but we need to be paying attention, and not only when we're complaining about how expensive gas is. (Maybe it's good that gas is $45 per gallon because we will finally begin to be willing to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels!)
Look at John McCain's web site. He doesn't even mention energy, gas, alternative sources of energy, fuel--nothing. Also, nothing about poverty, helping low-income working families, or education, either.
3. Obama is better equipped than anyone else in this race to understand and respond to national and international issues in an open-minded, fair, and politically sensitive way. We as a nation will gradually shed the image of a bossy, narrow-minded, jingoistic bully, and we will regain the admiration and respect of other nations who look to the United States to set the standard for human rights and self-determination.
4. Obama is believable when he talks about changing the way politics works. I'm not saying that I naively believe that the system won't change him, or that he'll be able to do everything he says he wants to do. But Obama makes a strong case for making bi-partisanship, process, and fairness realities in our political environment. Reading his book The Audacity of Hope actually put a glimmer of hope for our political future in my cynical soul!
To my Republican friends (you know who you are!), I am respectfully urging you to become a crossover voter, like lifelong Republican Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower. She described Obama as "a man who can salve our national wounds and both inspire and pursue genuine bipartisan cooperation. Just as important, Obama can assure the world and Americans that this great nation's impulses are still free, open, fair and broad-minded."
To my Democratic or undecided friends, I am respectfully urging you to make a choice for change: change in the direction of the war in Iraq, change in our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels, change in politics-as-usual (including the influence of special interest groups), and change in the grumpy, mildly depressed political mood of our country. (You feel it, too, right?)
This hope for change, this anti-depressant in the form of a candidate, is Barack Obama. Vote tomorrow!