(Max’s blog today comments on the reasons and needs for Barak Obama as our next president. I started this as a comment on his blogsite but decided to expand on it here)
I was raised Republican. More than that, my dad was a true believer in the political process and in the ability of the Republican Party to serve the needs of the American farmer. I loved my dad. In my adoring eyes what he said was law. He went on to be a local JP, county legislator, head of the county Civil Service Commission, and a member/advocate of the Office for the Aging and a national Hazardous Waste Task Force. He should have – probably would have – made a career of politics and serving his country had circumstances been different. In my home “democrat” was synonymous with “alien.” It was rare to have a Democratic candidate on any ballot much less having one elected. In my early twenties I was outraged when a co-worker slammed Republicans as caring only for the wealthy elite. I knew better: the Republican party was for the humble farmer. I say all this as a brief background to my political foundations.
As I grew older I became more disillusioned with the Republicans. I think Reagan was the final straw. But even then I couldn’t go Democrat. Now here we are after almost 8 years of King Dubya. He is arrogant. He is hypocritical. He is manipulative. He seeks to steal our basic freedoms in the name of American values. Is his Alfred E. Neumann “What – Me Worry?” approach to running the country a joke or is he really that stupid? He assumes that his way is the only way. That we need a “Marriage and Family Act” to tell us who to love. That we need a war in Iraq to remind us who to kill. Republicans want to impose their moral and – more importantly – religious values on the entire country and Dubya plays Mortimer Snerd while Cheney pulls the strings.
Enter Senators Clinton and Obama. When my son-in-law first mentioned Obama a few months ago I had never heard of him. I worried that his lack of public exposure and experience would cause him to be an ineffective leader. I was rooting for Clinton. I wanted to like her. But she left me feeling that she is just another arrogant, manipulative politician and in the end I couldn’t bring myself to trust her. I’m somewhat relieved that Obama will get the nomination so I don’t have to again be in the uncomfortable position of voting for the lesser of the evils.
So what do I really know about Obama? I’m embarrassed to say that I know precious little about his position on most issues. But I think he is a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel. I think he could turn us around if it isn’t already too late. If he can get the legislature and the judiciary to support him. If he can get his senatorial and congressional children to stop bickering and start working together. Obama is smart. But is he strong enough? It’s going to take someone who has strength of character and the strength to get others to stand behind him. Max is right. We need Obama.
I will admit to a nagging conscience that feels suspiciously like my father tsk-tsking at me for deserting my Republican farmer roots….But Dad, I cannot morally, ethically, or intelligently vote for more of the same. King George is dead. May he rest in more peace than he gave his country. Perhaps one day the Republican party will lose their arrogance but until then I will be voting for Obama and others who have a chance and a desire to bring us back to where we belong.