Saturday, October 18, 2008

To Help You Decide II

If you’re still trying to decide who you’ll vote for in the Presidential election, I want to persuade you to support Barack Obama. My support for Obama comes with reasons. These are NOT those reasons:

1. My support of Barack Obama is not just because we were friends in high school. I have lots of high school friends whom I would not consider supporting for President of the United States. If you’re my friend now I might not support you, should you run for office (in fact, you’d likely be disqualified by your associations!).

But my friendship with Barack Obama does give me some advantages over people who are trying to get to know who he is. My friendship did make me pay attention to him earlier than most Americans did. But mostly my friendship allowed me to trust him when he speaks. The man I see now rings true to the kid I knew then. So I'm not afraid his good words are shallow or deceptive, while some of my undecided friends are: “He speaks well, but…”

And when I read the smears about his character (patriotism, Christian faith, ideology,…), I can ask “Does this ring true to the Barry I knew?” None of them do.

2. My support for Obama is not because he’s the Democrat. I have voted for Republicans and Democrats for President. And until this year, I’ve always gone into the booth holding my nose (figuratively). I registered (D) this year because I ignorantly thought I couldn’t vote in the primary otherwise.

3. My support for Obama is not because he’s African American. I will admit that if all things were equal and I had to choose between a white man for President and a black man--after 43 straight white male Presidents--I’d vote for the black guy. Without apology or shame. But, not to worry: All things are NEVER equal. So I have to look at all things. The Presidential election is no time for “he-looks-like-me, she-could-be-in-my-club, we–could-have-a-beer-together” identity politics. And I don’t support the view that says we should elect an unqualified black man to “make history.”

4. My support for Obama is not simply because “he gives good speeches.” While I think inspirational speeches have their place, they are not enough. Fortunately, Barack Obama offers way more than good speeches and delivery. More of that in later posts.

5. My support for Obama is not because I think he’s perfect. He’s not running for Messiah. We’ve got one of those, and I’m quite satisfied with Him, thank you. He’s not running for Savior. I like the Real Savior of the World. But for President I do want to vote for someone whose character, intelligence, abilities and plans can make a positive difference in our nation and the world.

Next: To the issues.

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