Why I Voted For Barack Obama

I do not often talk or write about politics. Part of the reason is because it can be and has been a most divisive issue. But today is different. For the first time in my adult life I am concerned and scared about what the future will bring for this country. Not for myself, but for the two most precious gifts in my life, my daughters. Never in my voting history have I ever voted for a Democrat I would rather have walked across hot burning coals or chewed glass than vote for John Kerry or Bill Clinton. As trivial as it may seem to some, I could never bring myself to vote for a man, John Kerry, who threw his medals away. To me, this was not only disrespectful to his country, but to his fellow soldiers and sailors who sacrificed much more than he did.

I voted for Reagan and Perot. I voted for Dole. I voted for Bush Senior. I voted for W in 2000, and again in 2004. The remorse I have felt ever since my 2004 vote only deepened as I watched my retirement savings disappear in this financial crisis we are in. I cringed as we had to cut back on normal things we did with and for our children a gasoline spiked over $4 a gallon. Granted, all problems a country faces cannot be tied to a single presidency. And the current financial crisis is as much the fault of Clinton and the Democrats as it is of Bush and the Republicans.

After the primary season and the conventions, I was really open to either candidate. I have much respect for John McCain, the sacrifices he has made for the country, and the years he has given to public service. But watching Sarah Palin over these past few months, I could not ignore the fact that she would be one heartbeat away from the Presidency. To me, her far-right evangelical views are as much a problem for me as a voter as are the far-left liberals. The anger, hatred, vitriol that was coming out of her mouth made me feel sorry for her and McCain, sorry that they had to stoop to that level. The very fact that McCain could not control her or the message being put out by the Republican Party (and his campaign) was very much a concern for me.

There is fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in every campaign, and how I hate FUD. There was enough being spread by both parties that the grass should be growing in the fields for years to come. In the Georgia Senate race, Democrat Jim Martin is running ads saying that Saxby Chambliss wants to implement a 23% federal sales tax. No, Chambliss is supporting the "Fair Tax", a plan that would eliminate the federal income tax and the IRS. This is a plan worth at least examining and debating. Chambliss attacked Martin for being fired from his job by the Governor and voting to raise his expense account as a member of of the Georgia General Assembly by 27%. 27%??!!! Wow. The reality is was that the General assembly has not increased the per diem in over 10 years at that point.

All of the accusations against Obama have been troubling to say the least. "He is a Muslim.", cried republican supporters. In the words of General Colin Powell, "So what if he is?".

I am in no way a fan of Barrack Obama's views on abortion and his stated desire to pass a "Freedom of Choice" bill. The thought of the Democrats having control of the House and Senate, with hypocrite Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, is truly frightening. The though that Democrats might try and bring "imputed income" into the calculation of federal Income taxes, as they tried in the early 1990's, gives me pause for concern.

But W has done more to destroy the fabric of this country over the past eight years than anyone could imagine. A woman who thinks she has foreign policy experience because Alaska is next to Russia and Canada is naive at best, ignorant at worst. The thought of putting her into a position to be a post-McCain leader of the Republican Party and possibly president is, to me, unconscionable at best.

Four years ago, when friend and colleague Richard Schwartz said that Obama could very well be a presidential candidate, I scoffed at the notion. In the end though, I had to vote with my head and my heart. On October 20, 2008, I went to the Athens-Clarke County Board of Elections and voted. I Voted for Obama. I voted for Jim Martin for the Senate. I voted for Bobby Saxon over incumbent evangelical Christian Paul Broun for Congress. I voted for openness to discussion and against the hatred and closed mindedness of the Georgia delegation to Congress.

Hell surely must hath frozen over! Either that or I am a traitor and a Muslim sympathizer. Sorry, not even close.


Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library said...

Thanks for writing that! It expresses exactly how I (and probably a lot of other folks) feel.

Unknown said...

Excellent! Your eloquence is wonderful and I hope many, many people read this today. Not because I want them to vote for Obama (I do) but because it's nice to see someone state their views without spewing hate.

Ambz said...

Great Post! I too live in GA. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

The Crotchety Old Man said...

I hope there are hundreds more just like you out there. Thanks for sharing.

medium guy said...

I'm glad you did the right thing in the end. I have always been a liberal leaning democratic voter but in 2000 I really liked John McCain. I would have voted for him in the general election if he had made it - in fact I voted for him in the primary as a vote against W. However, he's really sold out over the last 8 years and I just don't think he can overcome the hypocrisy of his voting record combined with his poor choice of running mate. That said, it's time to move forward and support Obama as he seeks to guide us forward and heal wounds. All the best to you!

alaskablue said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. I bet if you wrote this in a letter to the editor of the ABH, there would be a lot more hate being spewed in the comments section.

Even with the election over, it's really hard to maintain civil discourse between the Republicans and Democrats. I hope that this isn't a harbinger of the next four to eight years. Ugh.

Cerulean Bill said...

Reading this months after the event, I think you've put the case very, very well.