In case you haven't noticed, I'm a political junkie. I get riled up about every election, I try to goad my friends and acquaintances into talking politics. I'm optimistic and idealistic. I believe that voting does matter and that things can change for the better.
Over the last few elections, I've tried to get behind candidates but have been disappointed. This year I'm starting down that same path. The candidate that I've started to get behind is Barack Obama. Man, I love that guy.
To prove that I like him not just with puppy love but as a candidate, here are a few highlights from his platform:
1. Foreign Policy. Obama is the first candidate I've heard take a progressive foreign policy position. He abandons the antiquated notion of pulling back from hostile foreign powers and argues that we should actually increase our ties and dialogue with our enemies. It was ties and dialogue that prevented the Cold War from becoming a hot war.
I believe in democracy (and the republicanism that we practice as Americans) and capitalism. They are good doctrines that generally work. I also believe that they are infectious. As people begin to taste freedom, they become addicted to it and will ultimately fight to the death to attain it. If we increase ties with our enemies, democratic and capitalist ideas will inevitably infiltrate their culture and real change will begin. I also believe that countries with intertwined economies will be less likely to go to war with each other. If we really want to protect our troops, let's do what we can to prevent wars from happening. The best way to do that is to open up dialogue with our enemies.
2. Poverty. Unlike all the other candidates (except Edwards, whom I also really like), Obama is a champion of the poor, not the middle class. Our society will be judged not on how we treated the privileged, but how we treated the poor. This is a running thread throughout Christianity (which many claim as the foundation of our nation) as well as every other religion. We should work to create a society where there is no poverty, not a society where the rich can ignore the impoverished. Our country is suffering from a spreading gap between the rich and poor and unless we work to reverse that trend, we will all be left poor.
I am however cautious. I liked Bush in 2000. He talked about humble foreign policy, centrist politics and uniting the country. Every promise he made, every reason I voted for him was reversed within the first year he was in office - mostly before 9/11. I hope that my faith here is not misplaced. But he seems like a man of values - someone with vision and integrity. Someone who believes in something and is willing to make a stand for what's right. I've lived through too many years of subterfuge of the principles of the Constitution and it's time for a change.
I'll provide more detailed analysis of his other positions in future posts.
Check out his website for yourself. I hope that you'll take the two minutes to watch this video. It's really good.
And yes, I am aware that he purportedly doesn't salute the flag. I'll address that as well.
"And that's why I'm voting for Osama in '08. What no comeback? Ya burnt!"