arnoldcam

Life as I know it… plus commentary

Why I am voting Obama

with 7 comments

Enough people have asked me (some repeatedly) that I feel it’s important to explain why I’m voting Obama.  To vote Democrat is not a light thing for me.  I’ve voted Republican all my life.  I like the idea of less government, respect for unborn life, and focus on growing the economy.  Sure, there are things I don’t like as well, the elitism, the disregard for the working class, the sometime over-involvement of church and the knee jerk opposition to change.

Add to that the highly controversial Bush/Gore race and the decision coming down to one state and the recounting and the chads and the Supreme Court.  You remember how divisive the mood of the country was?  Add to that the last eight years.  I honestly think Bush cold have been an OK president.  You heard right.  Unfortunately the test of 9/11 and Katrina and Afghanistan and Iraq were simply unexpected and simply above his ability to lead…

…Which leads us to the present.  Proverbs tell us “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  I’ve always understood this proverb to be symbolic, a literary picture.  How tragic that people have actually perished in our vision-less times.  At times, the partisanship in the government seems so adamant that one side could find the cure to crime in society and the other side would vote it down simply because it was not their idea.

Vision then, is what I feel our country sorely lacks and so desperately needs.   Funny thing Vision.  It’s a lot like gravity.  In small amounts its effect are negligible but pile particle upon particle and the you hear the mighty and powerful song of the planets in their pull towards each other and their binding to the sun.  Looking back at the history of the country, it’s not always the quiet breakthroughs in science and industry that stir change in the malaise, but rather, the orations of a leader who can excite the hearts of the masses to movement.  It was not the burden of taxation without representation that fueled the American Revolution, but rather “Give me liberty or give me death”.  It was not the lesser known “I sat at my desk and got all kinds of things done today” speech that has been remembered down through time but rather the “I have a dream” speech.  A dream.  Not very productive.  Not very concrete.  And yet somehow, the idea of something better than we are now sparked a movement.

To bring this into today, I don’t believe that Barack Obama is going to be able to do everything he says he can do.  The Jon Stewart shows recaps his acceptance speech this montage:

BO: I will rebuild our military to meet all future conflicts; I will restore our moral standing; I will end this war in Iraq; I will also renew tough, direct diplomacy; I will cut taxes; I will build partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty, climate change, genocide and disease…
Jon Stewart:… and on the second day…. (audience laughs) 

It IS a lot and Stewart’s take is funny.  But you know what Obama is good at?  He makes good speeches.  He brings people together.  He find ways for opposition to find common ground.  He selected a VP who criticized him on the campaign trail.  He found a way for the 18 million who voted for Hillary Clinton to come under his banner (Yes I know there are hold outs, but seriously, have you seen their websites?  I don’t think even the second coming of Hillary would satisfy them now).  And foreign governments (and citizens) are actually happy to have an American president on their soil.

More than his stated policies and stances, I believe Obama can point the way to hope for our country.  He can ignite that desire to work together again.  I know that sounds somewhat idealist but look at what’s already happened.  After his speech at the DNC, people are changing their minds about Obama.  People like my dad who have voted Republican longer than Obama has been alive.  I think McCain’s go it alone, maverick and sometimes anger fueled temperament will cause more alienation, here and abroad. Imagine President McCain provoking an already irritable Russia into a new Cold War.  Obama is 180 degrees the other way.  Remember politics just over a year ago.  People were done.  In steps Obama and suddenly first time voters are flocking to register and even work for the campaigns.  Sure his acceptance speech could be seen as showy, but look at the other side of the coin… 80,000 from all over the country flew, drove and hiked their way to Denver to be a part of what they saw as history.  Rather than call him a rock star, we should acknowledge there’s a sea change in how the citizenry view politics and their willingness to be a part.

I am positive there will be bumps in the road but I am equally positive that we will head in a new and better direction in the country.  And that’s why I’m voting Obama.

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Written by arnold

August 31, 2008 at 12:49 am

Posted in Politics

7 Responses

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  1. So the ability to sway the masses with your hypnotic speeches is going to be a good enough reason to a give a man the reins to run the country? Germany did that once….

    Peggy C

    August 31, 2008 at 4:32 am

  2. LOL. You played the Hitler card 🙂 One candidate promoting ending the war, restoring our reputation overseas, transitioning the country to alternative fuel and national healthcare; the other advocated extermination of the Jews. The analogy doesn’t hold water to me.

    If you read all that and decided he has one reason to vote that way, then sure, you could come to that conclusion. I think if everything else were equal, vision trumps. In 2001 the Republicans got control of the White House and Congress so their policies could get passed unimpeded and here we are. It’s not that I think the Democrats hold the magic answer, but rather, for the boat to get to where it’s going, I believe it’s got to tack once in a while. I don’t think it’s good for either party to be in control too long. At the end of Clinton’s last term (though many Democrats consider that a golden era) the country was becoming increasingly liberal and the signs were beginning to show. The same thing is happening now and it’s time for a righting of the ship.

    And I’m not alone in my interest. According to numbers released by the Nielsen Co., the Democratic National Convention in Denver was the most watched ever, attracting an average of 30.2 million viewers over the four days — more than the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

    arnold

    August 31, 2008 at 7:46 am

  3. Very nice explanation. I’m with you on just about everything you said.

    And I’ll add that Hitler was not the only good orator in history. Good guys like Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, and MLK Jr. were great speakers. Billy Graham might be one of the most persuasive speakers in American history, but (rightfully) no one compares him to Hitler. It’d be good if we would stop comparing people we don’t agree with to Hitler.

    the kyle

    August 31, 2008 at 8:19 am

  4. I don’t think of Obama as evil like Hitler, but I DO think that when you come across someone with that same hypnotic sway over people you have to stop and ask yourself just how much power you want that person to hold. You all know what they say about power….and yes, I asked myself that same question when Reagan was coming into power, because he did have a charm over people.

    (As a side note: Why do people not stop and think that there was a time when Hitler had not fully formed his diabolical plans? He was a guy who got into power and then let that power entice him to diabolical acts. Even if his plan was fully formed prior to that, it’s still an argument against letting persuasive people get too much control.)

    Charm is a problem–it has no usefulness to anyone but the person possessing it. It’s not like kindness or humility–charm has ulterior motives, and that is what I perceive in Obama. A lot of promises that he has no power to keep, but the ability to charm people into believing in him long enough to get him where he wants to go.

    The reality is that I agree with your response about “righting the ship”–I do think it is bad form to have either party in power for too long, and I think our nation’s history shows that we tend to swing one way for a while, then back the other way for a while, as a self-corrective measure.

    Of course, your response that “you’re not alone in your interest” only reinforces my first point….someone with the power to hold a hypnotic sway and draw over people is someone you need to keep a very close eye on. I don’t believe that we have heard any real goals from Obama–everyone says the “pie in the sky” stuff on the campaign trail, but what is his REAL goal when he has power??? Once he has enough people swallowing his visionary statements that don’t really tell you anything substantive about HOW he will implement any changes, he’ll have to take some sort of actions, and that’s when we’ll learn who he really is and what he really believes.

    And you’re going to think I’m a McCain supporter, but I’m not. I’ve been HIGHLY disappointed in this campaign (as I have a few times before), and I’m not looking forward to voting. But I’m quite suspicious of the charm and soothsaying coming from Obama, and I’ll continue to keep a wary eye open if he comes into power. And I’ll bookmark this page so if things go wrong I can say “A HA!” 🙂

    Peggy C

    August 31, 2008 at 9:56 am

  5. You know, Arnold, for all of that flash and charisma, you’d think that the polls would reflect a change in Obama’s favor. However, CNN.com reports that he and McCain are still deadlocked.

    Maybe the American people don’t care much about vision and lofty speeches after all…

    USA Cubby

    August 31, 2008 at 9:37 pm

  6. A lot of Americans don’t care. But he did get an 8 point bump right after his speech. But the polls really are a media gimmick to create news.

    And I don’t understand why we want a bad speaker as president. Think of a great national leader that hasn’t been a good communicator. Would a poor speaker make a better president or be less prone to wanting power because he’s a poor speaker? The idea that a president somehow has more power when he speaks well doesn’t make sense to me. The constitution does a pretty good job of restraining individual power.

    I think it’s the content of the speeches that really matters, not how well they’re delivered.

    P.S. Peggy, in case this bookmark thing comes back to haunt us, no one is saying that things won’t go wrong — but it’s not like our current president has made everything right with his inability to speak effectively.

    the kyle

    August 31, 2008 at 11:13 pm

  7. For the record, George Bush is a terrible speaker. He creates new words on the fly.

    Reading your reply, Peggy, and with my talent for random association, I pictured two things. 1. You and me back at the music store imitating the Letterman show and saying “Hep meh! Hep meh! Ah been hyp-mo-tahze!” and 2. Saruman speaking at the DNC and all the democrats covering their ears yelling “Don’t listen to him!”

    I think my analogy about vision as gravity holds true. The only reason his vision is so vibrant right now is because it is a shared vision. Millions of thoughtful people have considered his stance and as a result of their reason have bought in, me included. ANd I’m with Kyle, while charm gets you to listen to the speech, content is what gets you to buy in or not.

    To me, the sad part of the election process are not the people who are joining the Obama/Biden camp but the uneducated few who merely parrot what they’ve heard on TV ads (Not you, Peggy, you’re top 5 intelligent girls I know). It’s amazing how many emails I get from my own (distant) family members who still forward me He’s a Muslim emails and There Was Once a Young Charismatic Leader and Everyone Loved Him and His Name was Castro emails.

    As for the close race, I think it just shows the party loyalties many people have. There are hard core Republicans who would probably vote Bush again. At a (roughly) 30% approval rate, that’s half the Republicans. The real interesting thing is the 10% or so who are undecided…. or as I call them, the unwilling to decide. The election will be decided by them and I seriously believe many of them won’t know who they’re voting for until they get in the booth and just pick a name.

    arnold

    September 1, 2008 at 8:13 am


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