Endorsement: Barack Obama for President
A cursory search of the archives here will provide numerous examples of my distaste for the sickening charade that passes as American democracy in action. Aside from emotionally charged issues such as abortion, gun rights, and school prayer, the differences between the two major parties are negligible, especially in their comical willingness to subsume ôprinciplesö when engaged in the mad pursuit of money and power. The Democrats and Republicans answer to different masters, but serve at the pleasure of the same omniscient monarch: corporate America.
In ordinary times, a vote for a third-party candidate — Libertarian, Green, Independent — would feel good, even if the result is equivalent to whistling in the wind. But these aren’t ordinary times. With the blessings of an incomprehensible number of people, many of them connected to the Christian Right and the Grand Old Party, the administration of George W. Bush has bankrupted our treasury, wrecked the Justice Department, lied to the citizenry, and sent thousands of American men and women (more than 4,000 since ômission accomplished) to their death in a criminally conceived police action fobbed off as a ôwar on terror.ö Our environment, economy, health care system, Social Security, ports, infrastructure, and rule of law are on the brink of collapse û and not because of a spot of bad luck. The sacred Republican principles of “free markets” have been repeatedly invoked to justify an enormous redistribution of wealth, a tactic known as “socialism” and “big government” when a Democrat does it. And the rift between fellow citizens, the exacerbation of Us versus Them, is as wide as I’ve seen it in my lifetime, greater even than in the Nixon years following Vietnam.
John McCain’s war heroism prepared him well for this campaign. Only someone of tremendous courage would be brave enough to run as a Republican in the wake of the Bush juggernaut. But he has proved himself to be a repugnant, immensely dislikable candidate, with nothing to offer the beleaguered populace but worn-out nostrums that, after eight years of failure, ring less than hollow. His astonishingly poor judgment in selecting an unqualified and unprepared running mate seems, in retrospect, a desperate gesture made by a desperate man. Unfortunately for McCain, whose campaign gaffes and wrong-headedness on countless issues make him appear hopelessly oblivious to a nation on the brink of catastrophe, a desperate country doesn’t want a desperate President.
It wants someone like Barack Obama.
So much about him is politics as usual: the slick 30-minute infomercial featuring sappy vignettes of ordinary Americans struggling to feed their (seven) children; the willingness to engage in lowest common denominator simplifications of complicated issues; the broken promises, repellent alliances, and stage-managed glimpses of “real” human emotion. But so much about him is not: his mixed-race, immigrant’s ethnicity, which suggests the United States of America really is a land for everyone, not just the landed gentry; his obvious eloquence and blazing intelligence; his rare ability to unite disparate groups in pursuit of the common good; his equanimity and grace in the face of the most vile and untruthful aspersions. Barack Obama is a genuine leader.
Let us refrain from predictions and expectations. Obama will, no doubt, disappoint us in myriad ways. He will be imperfect and infuriating and hopelessly human. But we will vote for him with pleasure and conviction. Obama for President is not merely a refutation of George W. Bush, John McCain, and the Republican hate machine. It is an affirmation that Americans can heal their fractured nation and realize the promise of liberty and freedom.
Let us collectively lift the shroud that has blinded us for too long. Let us begin again. We have much to do — and to undo.
Let’s do it. Together.
MichaelKonik.com endorses Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.