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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why I'm for Obama

A dear friend who is a Republican asked me this: This may sound disingenuous, but tell me why having Obama in office is going to be so great. I'm surrounded by conservatives who, while they don't come out and say he's the Antichrist, nevertheless are filled with trepidation that he's going to take away their money and their right to bear arms and so on. On the Republican side, we were resigned that Mccain was our guy, the only choice we had, so we voted for him. All the Dems I know (all 3 of you) were very excited about Obama, and I'd just like your perspective.

It's a fair question and one that I've thought about plenty, during the long primary and during the general election. It has a lot to do with what I value and what I think the role of government should be.

First let me say that although I understand concerns of conservatives, like gun control, the truth is that the president is not all powerful and we have three branches of government which provide checks and balances. Certainly Bush spoke about and advocated many things that did not happen because he cannot change laws, only Congress can do that. So some of the concerns and the rhetoric about Obama are sort of silly, IMO, because that's just not the way it works. Even someone like Reagan, who won by huge majorities both times he ran, was unable (or unwilling) to change many things that he had talked about.

Anyway. Just some of the reasons that I like Obama. The race thing is really important to me. I think the symbolism of finally having someone other than a white person as the leader of our country is really powerful. It sends a message to Americans and to other countries. It says we're open to people who are different, we respect them, we recognize that they are more than the color of their skin. That matters to me.

I also think, have always thought, that Obama is really smart. He taught consitutional law. He knows a lot about government and history, and he brings that understanding to his management of our country. We need that now, more than ever, because there are a bunch of serious problems facing the country simultaneously.

Also, he's well-read and well-traveled, he has a broad understanding of the world. I think we need that. I think Bush's approach to foreign countries and foreign leaders damaged America and made us less effective in the world.

He also obviously surrounds himself with good people, people who are smart and experienced and clear-headed. Someone in such an important leadership position needs good advice and needs to have to ability to take that advice and use it. I think that ability will be a big benefit to America's effectiveness, both domestically and abroad.

And he will prioritize the things that are important to me. He will strengthen government agencies like the EPA and HHS, instead of letting them whither and die. He will appoint an Attorney General who will apply the law in the ways that I think it should be. He will support scientific research. He will use his bully pulpit to talk about things that I think are valuable.

And I just like what he says. I like his optimism, I like the way he talks about working together and taking responsibility for our country. What he says is what I believe. Read one of his speeches:

Democratic National Convention speech in 2004

"Yes We Can" speech in New Hampshire, 2008

Speech on race in South Carolina, 2008

Election night speech



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