Saturday, November 1, 2008

And I endorse...

Well, I think it’s time to officially endorse a candidate and I’m going to go ahead and endorse Barack Obama. Consider yourself endorsed by me Mr. Obama. And consider yourself special too, because this is the first time I’ve ever endorsed a Democrat candidate for President of the United States. That’s right. I’m one of those people. I voted for Bush, not once, but twice. I voted for Bob Dole and George Bush the elder as well. That said, I’m not a Republican. Actually, I’m a registered Democrat, but that’s because I live in Chicago and prefer that the pot holes in my neighborhood be repaired in a timely manner.

It’s easy to look back and cast ridicule at my voting record, but I’ve voted my conscience in every election and consider myself an informed voter. In my first foray into electing a President I voted for George Herbert Walker Bush, who I thought had been a pretty good President. Retrospectively, I wish he’d finished the job in Iraq—the mistake of not doing so really killed his son’s presidency. But, alas, Slick Billy Clinton won that election and like most presidents elected from the party of the mule, the economy thrived and the foreign relations and defense suffered.

Willy C ran for a second term against Mr. Viagra himself, Bob Dole, who was a nice enough guy and an honorable man—aside from pimping himself for erection meds, just wasn’t a match for the charisma of Clinton and in fairness to Bill, to say the economy was good under his presidency was an understatement of extreme proportions. Clinton made two big mistakes as it would turn out. The first was that he didn’t do enough to curb the rising threat of Islamic Fundamentalists. It was naïve, in retrospect, to assume that their anti-American hatred would never play itself out on our soil. They got more and more bold under Clinton’s presidency.

The second mistake was Al Gore. The party of the donkey could have forged a monopoly if Clinton had picked a Vice President who wasn’t equal parts robot, zombie and computer generated voice. Being a good leader is more than having a good policy, it’s inspiring others to follow. Al Gore is a smart man, but he couldn’t inspire a meth junkie to get high.

So, at the end of Clinton’s 8 years in the White House, after he worked wonders with the economy and stained a nice girl’s blue dress, I voted for Georgie the Moron. I didn’t like him as a candidate. I liked him better than Gore though. Al Gore just wasn’t a leader. Bush, like him or not, showed strength and leadership ability in that first election. It’s easy to ridicule a vote for Bush now. We know he’s a moron. That wasn’t always the perception of him though. To say so is revisionist history. In fact, after the attacks on 9/11, he was a strong, solid voice that calmed the nation and gave us resolve for what needed to be done in a brand new world.

His War on Terrorism was supported on both sides of the aisle. It’s important to remember that while he was the spearhead, on the whole, we as a country wanted to kick someone’s ass. That’s where things went awry for Georgie the Moron. Knowing that he was in over his head, he let people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld run the country. It turned out that Georgie wasn’t such a good leader after all. And worse, he’d picked really bad people to rely upon to help him. I still judge Georgie to be a good man, I really do. I think he’s a poor judge of character though. I think he listed to the wrong people and the deeper they dragged him into the mud, the more he had to depend on them to not let him go.

But I get ahead of myself. He was running for re-election in 2004 against John Kerry, who I still do not believe is a good man. The Donkey’s really screwed up by not offering up a candidate that the American people could get behind in this election. Had they trotted someone, anyone credible out, I would have voted for them. Once again, Bush was in a “lesser of two evils” election. The last time, I judged him to be the lesser of two those to evils, this time, I chose the evil I knew over the evil I didn’t. I firmly stand behind my vote, knowing full well what a mess Bush made of things, because I think Kerry would have made a worse mess of them.

It turned out that the final four years of Bush were a nightmare. His first term, was ridiculed for decisions he made based on bad intelligence. We invaded Iraq because we thought they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. The thing that people tend to forget is that the intelligence was real and widely believed, even if it was false. Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t need much of an excuse to declare war and in this, they had it.

He also was ridiculed for not anticipating the amount of time it would take to withdraw from Iraq. But he wasn’t the only one. Again, it’s easy to point the finger at him, but a few things happened that—though they could have been foreseen, were not. First, the people of Iraq didn’t play their part. This left us with a mess because their failure to get organized quickly allowed our many enemies in the area to use Iraq, a country to which they held no particular loyalty or ownership, as the battleground on which to fight the USA.

When your “military” depends on hijacking planes for an air force and suicide bomb-laden zodiacs as a navy, and the enemy does you a favor setting up shop with their Army and Marines at your neighbor’s house, you lick your chops and go pick a fight.

They did. I still think this clusterfuck saved the citizens of our country another attack on U.S. soil. I would still rather engage the enemy on Iraqi soil than in New York and Washington D.C. I don’t think it was planned that way, but that’s what happened.

A few years ago, it was thought that the central focus of this election would be immediate withdrawal from Iraq. It’s not. The reason for that is that both parties know that removal for removal’s sake is a danger to our country, our allies and the entire Middle East region. Both parties know that immediate withdrawal from Iraq is a bad idea. John Kerry planned to do just that. Four years later, it’s accepted that this strategy would have been a dangerous and disastrous one. People who criticize a second vote for Bush tend to overlook this fact.

You thought this was going to be an endorsement huh? Well, it is, but my reasons for voting for Obama are the result of the lessons I’ve learned from each of these previous elections in which I had the privilege to vote.

Here are few things I know about our government. It’s a bad idea for either party to be in charge for too long. More than 8 years of any party in charge is a dangerous thing. If the economy is great then there’s a good chance our foreign policy is messed up and vice versa. No matter how much prosperity we’ve had under an administration, giving either party more than eight years spells danger. It could be argued that more than four years is spells danger too.

I also think that more than 8 years of one party picking Supreme Court Justices is a bad thing. I think balance in that branch of government is essential. Those two reasons, of course, lead to a vote for the Democrat candidate in this election.

But those reasons, are really only tie breakers and I’d be lying if I said that it came down to tie breakers this time around. In this election, I don’t think it’s a battle of the lesser of two evils.

I’ve long admired John McCain, but I’m afraid that this campaign has painted an ugly portrait of him. Instead of running HIS campaign, he ran the campaign the elephant party wanted him to run. He’s been a puppet in much the same way that Bush has been. He hasn’t run the campaign of the “maverick” he has at times been throughout his political career. He’s made me think of him as a puppet and as dangerous. Still though, it may very well be that he’s running that campaign because the monetary support of the far right is the only way he stood a chance of getting elected. It may very well be that he chose Sarah Palin as a means of pandering to that money.

As much as I don’t want him to win, a part of me still thinks that once he had the presidency, he’d revert back to the John McCain I’d often admired throughout the years. But once again, I’m not casting this vote for the guy running against the guy I’m afraid of or worried about either. I don’t think the country will suffer from a McCain presidency. I’m not casting this vote out of fear of the candidate running against the one I support.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because while I’m not a fan of big government, I think that his plan for our country economically is the right one for us right now. The only place money trickled down under the rule of the elephant party was into the pockets of people who were already rich. It’s silly to assume that the giants of industry would do anything but be selfish. The distance between the rich and the middle class is vast, while the distance between the middle class and poor is much closer. It’s time for the bottom two thirds (and that’s not two thirds in terms of number of total people by the way) narrowed their respective gaps. That happens from the bottom up, not through trickling down.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because the state of health care in this country scares me. I think our neighbors to the north will tell you that universal health care, while having some advantages, is not the ideal either. Both candidates realize that a happy medium is needed. I tend to think Obama’s ideas favor someone of my age, income and social status.

I’m voting for Barack Obama because I’m tired of the elitist attitude of our foreign policy. I think the idea that we only sit down to talk with people that promise to do what we tell them to is the very antithesis of democratic. I think that the notion that sitting down with extremist leaders validates their cause is about as ludicrous as the idea that inviting a Santa Clause to the White House on Christmas validates his existence.

I think that the idea of John McCain’s about a League of Democracies does nothing but further separate the world instead of bringing it together. I think that you only pick sides before you play and in this case, play = war. I think that we have a body that’s supposed to bring the nations together and it’s called the United Nations. I think it’s corrupt, ineffectual and impotent. I think that has happened because of our reduced standing as a country in the eyes of the world. I think the world, as a whole, believes in the ability of Obama to make us respectable again.

I’m voting for Obama because I believe he listens to the people. I’m voting for him because I believe he is a leader. I’m voting for him because while he may be inexperienced, I think he can unite, galvanize and motivate our country. I’m voting for him because I judge him to be a good man, with common sense and integrity. I’m voting for him because I believe he is intelligent. I’m voting for him because he is well spoken and can effectively communicate, not only with his constituents, but with his peers in the governing of the world’s countries.

I’m voting for Obama because of a gut feeling that he is something special. I’m voting for him because I think he has a chance to be a once-in-a-lifetime type of leader, like Kennedy, Roosevelt, Lincoln and Washington before him. I’m voting for him because when it’s all said and done, when all the facts are weighed, personalities taken into consideration, past lessons of my voting life accounted for the summation of facts completed, I believe Barack Obama is the overwhelming right choice for our country.

So, with all this said, I will cast my vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday. Time will tell if my decision was right or wrong, but I’ve never cast a vote I regretted because I’ve never voted without reason—whether you agree with those reasons or not. This is the first time though, in any election, that I have been so adamant in my support of a candidate. I am voting for Barack Obama for President of the United States, and I urge those readers who are able, to cast their vote the same way.

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