Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Yesterday, I voted for Barack Obama. I'm not at all sure I made the right decision.

Until recently, I was one of those "undecided voters". The group that critics said must be stupid or lying, and should forfeit their right to vote. Hey, David Sedaris even weighed in, as though his opinion has anything to do with anything. To his much-publicized quote on undecided voters: To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?” I ask, who is the flight attendant? Is it the media, who are having on-screen orgasms over Obama's victory? Yourself? Because his comment assumes that the choice is obvious, which of course to someone who had already decided, it was.

What critics of undecided voters rarely took into account is loyalty. How difficult it can be for one person to be affiliated with one political party for one's adult lifetime, to be born and bred into that party, but to vote for another. I get the impression that most undecided voters were either independents or Republicans. In theory, I never thought voting for the other team would be difficult. Not until I had to actually do it. It would have been different if Obama had completely won me over. But he had not. So should I stay with the Republican ticket, what's familiar? Or should I take a leap of faith across the other side of the aisle, even though I have some doubts about the candidate. I can't tell you how much I thought about it, worried about it, lost sleep over it. I'm used to being a Republican and hearing that political party get trashed. It always rolled off my back. But the criticism that undecided voters got? To say it made me angry would be an understatement.

I don't believe the two candidates were alike in many ways. I don't believe they were "the same", as critics accused undecided voters of thinking. I liked qualities in both candidates, different qualities in each. And I was/am fearful of some other qualities, again different for each. What I can say, which was encouraging, is that for the past 2 or so presidential elections, I always asked, when referring to the candidates "This is the best we could come up with?" But not this time. Although very different, I think both candidates had a lot to offer. Do I believe my life will be better 4 years from now? Or eight? Possibly. But I think that's largely dependent on me, and has little to do with who's president.

God forgive me, and I pray to that God that this never comes to fruition, but a small sliver of me didn't want Obama to be president for fear he would not be able to serve out his term. A heinous crime that might cut a life, and a presidency, short; something that would tear this country apart unlike anything we've seen before. But that? That is not a reason not to vote for the man.

I'm not all that worried about the economy. Which is to say that it of course concerns me, but the economy has historically had its ups and downs, and while by all accounts this is a pretty big "down", odds are pretty good that we'd be in a better financial place eight years from now regardless of who became president.

I've become a skeptic in my old age. Or perhaps I always was. I wanted to be excited by this election. Everyone else seemed to be. But more than anything, I was wary. Wary of the Republican party. Wary of interviewed Obama supporters who said things like "I won't have to worry about my mortgage anymore or gas prices anymore or all my bills", as though Obama was offering some sort of "debt-free" program that I was not aware of, or at least, am not eligible for. Wary of other nations who are so overwhelming enthusiastic about Obama. I could choose to believe that they sincerely want better relations with the United States and I hope that's the motive. But I don't believe these nations have Americans best interests at heart. One of my greatest concerns is how this country is viewed by the world, so for all that global and national enthusiasm, probably for that reason, I pushed Obama button. In high school terms, I succumbed to peer pressure. But I am still afraid how Obama will handle the ugly side of world politics.

Regardless, here we are. The dawn of a new day. You'll notice I turned off the comments for this posts, because I'm not interested in anyone's opinion at this point.

You have 4 years, Mr. Obama. Make me believe I made the right decision.


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