Why I’m Voting for Obama

Tomorrow is November 4, election day.  I haven’t voted yet, but I will definitely be doing so tomorrow.  Weeks ago Nicki from Stepping on Legos posted an Actively Choosing Hope Challenge.  The challenge:

Post on your blogs your best sales pitch for the candidate of your choice. Use words of hope and inspiration! Tell us why those of us sitting on the fence should fall off on your side! But here are the rules: you can not use the name of the ticket you aren’t supporting at all or otherwise reference the other ticket’s position on the issues. This isn’t about fear! This is about hope!

So here are my reasons why I’m voting for Barack Obama tomorrow.

HOPE and INSPIRATION.

I’m asking you to believe.  Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. . .I’m asking you to believe in yours.  – Barack Obama

Simply put, Obama gives me hope – he inspires beyond any politician I’ve seen in my lifetime.  I don’t want to discount how important this is.  I have spent my adult life under the Bush administration.  This is the first time in my adult life that I have hope for not only my future, but the future of my family. 

I work for an alternative school.  Most of the kids that come to us have been beaten down by the school system.  Our biggest problem is getting them to believe in themselves – giving them hope.  The first thing we ask them when they come in is to write down one dream they have for themselves so that we can help them figure out how to work towards achieving that.  I’ve talked to too many teens that without someone to believe in them and what they could accomplish, without someone giving them hope, they never would have graduated or moved on to accomplish dreams they thought were impossible – this is why hope and inspiration are so important.  We’re human.  It’s part of what we need.

It is what I have needed.  I know this.  I’ve been clawing through this part of my life wondering when and how we can begin to heal America, and then came someone who said that we have hope, we can believe in our ability to make things better than the past 8 years.  Oh, how I’ve needed this!  How we have needed this – as a country, as a people.

Health Care is NOT a dirty word.

I believe that every single American has the right to affordable, accessible health care – a right that should never be subject to Washington politics or industry profiteering, and that should never be purchased with tax increases on middle class families, because that is the last thing we need in an economy like this. – Barack Obama

It boggles my mind why we don’t have health care provided to all Americans yet.  This is something so important that should be a right of every American, not something that we have to go without if we are sick or hope to have enough money in our savings (if we have savings) to pay for.  Health care that is provided for isn’t a new idea – it’s tried and tested and works in other developed countries.  We need to step up and start taking care of our people and it starts here.

Proposition 8 IS a dirty word.

The California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in a broadly worded decision that would invalidate virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.  The 4-3 ruling declared that the state Constitution protects a fundamental “right to marry” that extends equally to same-sex couples. – LA Times

I’m going to go off on a slight tangent because there is one other very important vote happening here in California.  Proposition 8 is seeking to overturn the law that grants same-sex couples the right to be married.  First off, I’m absolutely livid that it’s even on the ballot.  I can’t fathom that we would deny two consenting adults the right to be a married couple.  I can’t imagine, for any reason, not being married to my husband.  I do equate this to Loving v Virginia that legalized marriage for interracial couples, which if you didn’t know by now includes my parents and myself and my husband.  I know that we have “domestic partnership,” but it’s not enough and it’s not right to deny adults the right to marry.  To be married!  It’s so basic a right, that I have rights to not only be with my husband to a right to our property to his care to our children, that we really do take it for granted.  Please, if you are in California, vote NO on Prop 8.

 

Back to the program.

The War in Iraq.

We can decide that real strength is asking the tough questions before we send our troops to fight. We can see the threats we face for what they are – a call to rally all Americans and all the world against the common challenges of the 21st century – terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That’s what it takes to keep us safe in the world. – Barack Obama

I never supported going to war in Iraq.  I don’t think that’s a moot point.  It’s very important to me that the leader that I choose for our country not make a rash decision that will put our brave men and women at risk again for reasons that I don’t believe are valid enough to send them to their death.  Pointing our weapons at a country and demanding that they be a democratic nation under the guise of protecting us from “terrorists” is not the good that I know this country has the ability to accomplish.  If we want revenge for 9/11, Iraq was not the place to be and I’m glad that Obama recognizes that and recognized it from the very beginning.  I like how calm, cool, and collected Obama is.  I like that I won’t have to worry about us going to war on a whim (or to funnel money into the pocket of our VP).  I won’t put it all here, but you can find Obama’s plan to responsibly end the war in Iraq here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/.

 

Diplomacy and Worldview.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.  – Barack Obama

We are, there is no doubt, a major world power.  With that comes tremendous responsibility and a lot of that responsibility falls on the leader that we choose to represent us in this world.  The way in which our leader treats other world leaders, the way in which our leader shows respect – or lack of – when in other countries or speaking of other countries is of the utmost importance.  We are first and foremost Americans, but with that includes our place as a world leader, as a country that has so much power to do good – or bad.  It is important that our leader have an understanding of the differences of this world.  We need a leader whose first thought is to extend peace rather than muscle.  We need a leader who understands the motivations and concerns of the rest of the world.  Obama has that worldview; the receptive worldview that we need to have positive progress as world leaders, and the understanding that in order for us to do that we need to work together, not against, with the other powers of the world.

Discussion and understanding about race relations.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.  – Barack Obama

It makes me ecstatic that our leader will have an understanding of race and race relations in the US as no other President we have elected has yet (I think Clinton was closest though).  I don’t think that this is an end to racism, but the beginning of a long anticipated discussion of what is really going on in America.  It makes me ecstatic and proud to show my daughter a person of color that is our leader.  I have had many discussions in the past with friends and family about the remote possibility of having someone as our President who can represent us – I don’t just mean us as in people who are not white – I mean, represent us as a people with different cultures and different experiences. 

It’s what I believe.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one. 
– Barack Obama

I am pro-choice.  I am against the war in Iraq. I am scared out of my mind about what the past administration has done to our economy and how we are viewed by the world.  I want tougher gun control laws.  I have to carpool to work with my husband because it was too much to pay for the gas for two cars.  I believe in the power of the American people, but I also believe that our government is there to help us when in need – not just when big business is in need.  I believe that we need programs so that it’s not a matter of survival of the fittest but a matter of being there for our own people. 

 

I want, more than anything, the future that I believe Obama can give my children.   

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5 responses to “Why I’m Voting for Obama

  1. Rock on Melinda!! What an awesome, amazing, inspiring and articulate post…

    I’m counting the hours until the polling places open tomorrow!

  2. Wow – this was really inspirational to me. And you know, I hadn’t really thought about what an Obama presidency might bring to race relations but it makes me excited all over again to think of having a president who really gets the very complicated and complex issues of being raised biracial since that is obviously an issue that hits close to home for me, too. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Every time I read a post like this it makes me even more excited than I was before! Don’t underestimate the life-changing effects of Hope!

  3. 3continentfamily

    Amazing post! Thank you for writing it. I wish I had the ability to be so articulate…Here’s hoping for President Obama 🙂

  4. What a fantastic post! I wanted to write something like this, and could never coordinate my thoughts in a manner that seemed to do it justice. I’m glad you (and a few others) could do it so well!!!

  5. Pingback: * « 3 continent family

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