Why I will vote for Obama | AspenTimes.com

Why I will vote for Obama

Su Lum
Aspen, CO Colorado

Since I am incorrigibly cynical about the entire political process and have not, with the exception of Jimmy Carter, voted for a president in recent memory without holding my nose, it might seem unduly optimistic and idealistic of me to endorse Barack Obama, whose message is one of change and hope.

A couple of summers ago, an ad in the paper said that Barack Obama would be talking at the tent with Walter Isaacson. I had heard something about Obama on NPR ” probably references to his speech at the Democratic convention, which I did not watch ” and, in a move uncharacteristic if not unprecedented, went over to the gondola, bought a ticket and went to see him.

Obama was not running for president back then. In fact, during the talk he strongly predicted (to a murmur of boos and hisses) that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee. He was a young senator from Illinois with an eclectic heritage and international upbringing, who spoke on a number of subjects (the war in Iraq ” which he has always opposed ” pro-choice, education, the religious right) with intelligence, humor and grace, and I came away thinking, “Hell, I wish HE was running!”

My only other trip to the tent that summer (I was on a roll) was a tête-à-tête between John McCain and Joe Lieberman, the most vapid event I ever wasted my time on.

So now Barack Obama is really running and, who would have thought it, he has a chance of winning! Have we come to our senses? I can’t believe it, but there is a shred of … hope. Moi, HOPE!

We had a string of murders of our leaders: John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and of those such as the civil rights volunteers who followed them.

Then we had a long string of shame: the Vietnam War, Nixon and Watergate, Reagan and the Contras, old Bush bombing Iraq, Clinton bombing Bosnia, and the biggest travesty of Iraq again.

I’m not a flag-waver, but if I were, I wouldn’t put an American flag on my luggage traveling overseas these days.

And it’s not just that the world is ashamed of us, we’re ashamed of ourselves. We have been fed lie after lie by our government, lies exacerbated by the media (who, if you will recall, were all for tromping Iraq); we lapped it up and now are choking on our own bile. Lies, lies, lies ” we can’t believe anyone anymore.

We don’t just need a change, we need an overthrow.

I don’t know if Barack Obama can do that. I used to think that it didn’t much matter who was president ” even Nixon didn’t take us down with him. Then George W. showed us a thing or two, and we are howling for someone to pull us out of this abyss.

We had eight years of Clintons, so we know what to expect. Hillary fixing health care? Give us a break. Been there, scrapped that. The Republican candidates are (except for Ron Paul, whose other issues make him unelectable) all for winning the war, staying the course. John Edwards has some good rhetoric against corporations but is running last.

Opponents say Barack Obama’s time hasn’t come yet, that he should be more “seasoned” in the political arena. You know what? I don’t want him to be “seasoned.” I don’t want him to be as cynical as I am. I want to vote for someone I really ADMIRE. I think he’s a wise, idealistic young guy who can give this country the shot in the arm (or kick in the ass) that it so desperately needs.

If you’re a registered Democrat, your only chance to participate is next Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Rio Grande Place (the old youth center behind the courthouse). Doors close at 7 p.m.

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