Why I’m voting for Barack Obama

[Let’s get the usual disclaimer out of the way, first things first.]

For those of you who haven’t noticed that I have a political point of view, forgive the intrusion, but this is my Election Day editorial, and for that matter, it’s my name on the masthead, so I pretty much get to say what I want here, right?

Don’t worry, this won’t take long.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because it changes the world.

Not because he will be the first African-American U.S. President, or because I agree with every single plank in this cycle’s Democratic platform (I don’t), or because I think he is my new bicycle, but because at this time in history, the strongest, most positive, most important message we can send the rest of the planet is this:

The American Dream is still alive. And so is democracy.  Because if Obama can grow up to be President of the United States, so can my daughter, and your son, and their friends, and their children, none of whom happen to be descended from the hale and hearty folks who came over on the Mayflower, puking and praying and putting up with the likes of John Winthrop all the way across.

So yeah, Winthrop was right.  America does have a chance to be that city on a hill, but the message isn’t some Reagan-era crap about how we’re right and everyone else is wrong; the message is that we know what’s right, and we’ll do our best to make it right for everyone.

And we’ll start in the voting booth around the corner, standing in line with our friends and families and neighbors, trying to make things right.  If things go well, maybe we won’t wake up Wednesday morning mumbling about leaving this country for good.


Making the inconvenient accessible

We finally made it out to see An Inconvenient Truth last night.

Remind me again why Al Gore isn’t running for President in 2008? Sorry, but I haven’t heard a good enough reason.

Personally, I’d like to see him grow his beard back, put on a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans, and go on a “No Bullshit” tour of the country where he gives the global warming talk, and then goes ahead and gives us some data on poverty, hunger, war, crime and health care, where he applies the same passion and attitude we see in Inconvenient Truth to issues that lots of different folks will see as “their” issue.

Oh, and screw the Democrats, Al – you don’t need a party. Just run. I’ll vote for you.

In other words, the movie is great and informative and digestible, and everyone should go see it. I worry that he’s preaching to the converted, but I still left the theater with a clearer understanding of the science behind the issues, and places like Mother Jones will give me all the political background I need to understand.

So, friends, go see An Inconvenient Truth, and then tell two friends about it. And then blog about it. In fact, you probably already did, and I’m late to the party.