Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Political Rant #1

One of the things I did NOT want to do when I started this Blog was to get political. I was worried it might open myself up to all kinds of attacks. But I've started to feel a little stronger about where I stand politically.  I've taken a whole new direction, and I'm not as afraid to stick my neck out a little now. (And lets face it really, who is going to read this.)  So when I heard something on the news today that made my blood boil, rather than walking around the house muttering to myself and having to explain to my 5 year old that Mommy was just fine, I decided to take the plunge and express my political self here on Quelsters Quorner. 

So, here it is.  Political Rant #1

Today I was AGAIN told why I, a white woman, am partial to Barack Obama. Apparently I'm voting for him because he is articulate and black. So would it be better if I didn't vote for him because he was black? Or maybe I should vote for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman. Or maybe I should vote for McCain because he's white. Help me out here, because I'm a little confused. Who should I vote for? Is there a vote that won't cast me as some sort of racist, or sexist?

Did it ever occur to the political pundits who spend the bulk of their time trying figure out how they can snag my vote before they write me off that maybe I'm voting for Barack Obama because I like him? Yeah, that's right--I like him. He inspires me. I like what he says. I like his ideas. I like that he thinks we should talk to our enemies. I  like that he wants to get our troops out of Iraq.  I like his health plan. I like it that when he speaks I don't feel manipulated. I like that he uses the word WE a lot because he recognizes that he needs us all to fix some of the problems in the country.  I like that he seems to actually listen.  I like HIM.

And although it has nothing to do with the color of his skin the articulate part does come into play. Look, we've spent the last 7 years listening to a president who can't pronounce nuclear. Call me shallow, but I'd like to have a president representing this country who speaks well. I think diplomacy is going to be very important in the upcoming years and I think someone who has a gift of speaking might serve this country well. 

Even Bush's most ardent supporters will tell you the man's strong point is not public speaking. But they argue, (and it's a reasonable point) that doesn't mean he's incapable of leading. Even though I think making your point eloquently is an important part of being a politician I can concede that point. It is quite possible that someone could act like the village idiot in front of a crowd but be able to make responsible and well thought out choices behind closed doors.

But does accepting that mean we have to concede that the opposite is also true. That if someone can speak well then he's surely going to lead this country to disaster because you can't be articulate and capable at the same time.  People act like Obama's ability to inspire is a crime. A sure sign that he'll be a crummy president.

And I guess I must be pretty dense. I've been told repeatedly that he has no experience.  Yet in spite of this I continue to prefer the man to any other candidate (Yes, even in the face of Rev. Wright). I don't know, it's like I don't think experience is the the most important thing. Almost as if I've looked at people who have vast amounts of experience and yet still managed to arrogantly ignore the advice of veted generals and completely muck up this war. It's almost as if I'd rather not have the experience of someone whose been an insider in Washington for years and years and perhaps might cater to lobbyist more than constituents. Golly, do you think? The complete inability of the other candidates to comprehend this is a big reason why I'm in the Obama camp to begin with, so whose dense now?

I remember years ago standing in line waiting to vote for president. It was Bush's first election and I was still laboring on who I would pull the lever for. What sealed it for me was a man on a cell phone directly behind me.  He was rather loud so I couldn't miss his conversation.  The person he was speaking to must have asked him who he was voting for because he vehemently replied, "I'm voting for whoever is going to give me the most money. Who is going to do the most for ME."  

Millions of  people voted for George W. Bush for that reason. Not all, but a lot. Voted for him because it would mean more money in their pocket.  I'm sorry, but that strikes me as pretty shallow.  And yet I'm mocked like an infatuated teenager incapable of understanding true love because I like Barack Obama.  

I've been told all my life that it's what's inside that counts. You don't look at a person's skin color, or gender.  You judge people on what you find them to be. Isn't that what America is about? Then why is it when I do just that I'm met with cynicism?  Why do people have such a hard time accepting that my preference for Obama has nothing to do with his skin color.  

I've found Barack Obama to be the best candidate for the job. And for the record, I've done due diligence.  I've checked out the websites, (Obama's webpage, FYI is replete with detailed papers he's written on the issues so he can't be that uninformed), I've listened to the news from ALL stations, I watched the debates, I've read papers. Voting is not a decision I take lightly. I've thought this out.

You can argue that I might be wrong about the issues.  You might even be able to convince me. But don't come at me with his skin color, and his ability articulate. It's insulting. Don't belittle me by assuming I only like him because of liberal white guilt. Don't patronize me by saying I only like him because he's handsome, or charismatic or eloquent. Obama deserves better, and so do I.