Tomorrow, I will cast my vote in Louisville, Kentucky, Precinct D130 at Klondike Elementary School for Barack Obama. And below is why I will be doing so…
Civility in Government
The last 8 years of my life, I have seen the reputation of the United States of America go from a vibrant, hopeful and welcoming place to a self-centered, dogmatic and stubborn cloister. You could likely blame that on 9/11 or the economic woes of our irresponsible economic optimism, but when faced with those challenges the current administration tightened up its belt and stomped through the yard like an angry old man. Refusing to resort to the politics of peace and diplomacy while seemingly ignorant of the harm it was doing to we, a nation of individuals.
The rights and hopes of the individual, both home and abroad, have been treated with a disrespect unseen since the Cold War.
Call me wistful if you will, but I couldn’t help but to imagine what the prior administration would have done in similar circumstances. Clinton could be downright reprehensible at times, but he was always the consummate professional and mindful of the United States’ place as a leader and role-model for the rest of the world
That is what I am hopeful for with an Obama victory. To bring this nation back to a place where we are respected not out of fear, but admired because of our treatment of not only the people within our borders, but of those which our actions may affect. We cannot be a nation of frightened, confused and easily provoked individuals. That is not the nation that we began as and that is not our future.
The War and it’s Future
I was and always have been against the War in Iraq. Though, when the deed had been done and we were solidly there I believed that it would not be wise just to extract ourselves from the beehive that we had stirred up – I didn’t believe that would be responsible or would have the desired outcome.
I have come to change my stance.
Our war there is an unwinnable one and as it did when we invaded, it shows a remarkable lack of respect of sovereignity on our part. I want our military out of Iraq now. Our being there will only cause further aggravation and I believe with some civility returned to our own government we could begin to influence an international peace in that region.
The Rights of the Individual
So often in the last 8 years, I have seen policies that favor the nation and discount the individual. Whether it is the Patriot Act, healthcare or civil rights – these things have been given less weight than defense or the top-end of our economy.
Our individual rights granted to us as citizens are part of what makes our democracy novel. The guiding priniciples of our government should seek to benefit the individual with the ultimate goal of benefiting the nation.
Healthcare is an issue on which I feel strongly. I believe that it is our duty as a nation of individuals to help to provide that to all. Like roads, libraries and our own defense. No one in this country should fear becoming ill. While I am fortunate enough to have always had health insurance, I know plenty that go without. And should they fall ill, they should know that they will always be treated to the best of our nation’s medical ability.
The Continuing Civil Rights Struggle
Barack Obama’s campaign represents to me the triumph of those “Individual Rights” that make our country so full of promise. The confidence in those individual rights were the bedrock of the many great Americans that stood before him on the precipice of great change – Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass and countless others. Those incremental challenges have led to where we are now – when a man of mixed race is not viewed as some novelty, but as a serious and competent leader.
The perspective that he has on this issue will hopefully shape many of his decisions – sometimes in small measures, sometimes in grand. To have his perspective is uniquely American and best represents the nation as a whole.
What an amazing step forward we have already taken in casting aside race in nominating this man for president! When I was in 4th grade (1987) and we held a Democratic primary election in our classroom (keeping in mind that it was at least 80% white) – the man who won was Jesse Jackson. Looking back, it would have been a terrible choice if it had actually happened – but consider that a roomful of white children in a Southern state chose a black man as a candidate. I knew even then that our generation was taking a step forward by casting off our segregationist history. I feel proud about that time, and that is one reason why I feel proud now casting a vote for Barack Obama.
Equal Rights for All
And if the future will follow the past, the next major struggle we will see in America will not be over race, but over the rights of the gay community. To not treat these people – these friends and family members – as equal citizens with equal rights is on par with any sex or race discrimination. As ridiculous as considering women or non-whites partial citizens with partial rights, so is considering those who do not and can not follow the given path of man-and-woman. It is my hope that the breakthrough that would be electing Barack Obama would continue to debase the injustices against the gay community.
I am voting for Barack Obama tomorrow because I believe in his attitude towards government as an institution for the people, by the people. I believe in a nation of individuals that respect the rights of the individual, and respect the power of individuals united in a common cause of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We, perhaps unlike any nation on this planet are comprised of so many walks of life, so many different beliefs and so many opportunities that we cannot and must not retreat into policies of exclusion and negativity. Hope and liberty are what we as a nation were founded upon and with out it we shall fail.