Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Vote

I have cast my vote. Finally.

Hard to believe it's been four years since I heard Obama's words for the first time as a keynote speaker during Kerry's Democratic convention. I knew -- immediately -- that this was someone worth watching, not just for his amazing charisma (let's face it, Gore and Kerry had been total snoozers) but because his "One America" speech zeroed in on what had become one of the most painful aspects of politics for me... the idea that the power elite find it politically expedient to pit Americans against each other for their own political gain. He articulated perfectly what my brain had been screaming for years.

Over these past four years I've gotten to know Obama better and found him worthy of my respect and support. While I'm not confident of a win tonight, I am at least confident that I have backed the right candidate, the candidate who truly reflects my vision of America, and I am damn proud to have participated in his campaign. Even if my phone calls to South Carolina were not fruitful, I like to think the $90 we donated to the campaign bought a few hardworking staffers some pizza and cokes during an all nighter.

Obama has conducted himself and his campaign with intentional integrity... the kind of integrity one has to purposefully commit to or else succumb, as McCain did, to an escalating list of disappointing, bottom-feeder behaviors. John McCain, whose desperate, pathetic, cynical pandering to christianist James Dobson in the primaries turned out to be only the beginning of what would become a series of desperate, pathetic, cynical actions.

Fox News and the Drudge report have also behaved deplorably, lowering the level of discourse beyond what I thought most reasonable people would tolerate. It's not their right-leaning slant that's at issue... it's their intentional distortion of fact and perspective. It's a still frame from a video of Obama wiping the corners of his mouth that suddenly becomes "Obama flipping off McCain". It's a "recently uncovered" interview with Obama that's actually been posted on a newspaper's website for 11 months, easily accessible to everyone. It's a weeks-long tirade about ACORN registering Mickey Mouse when actual people are forced to wait in line for 8 hours in order to cast the vote their country asks of them. The list goes on and on.

A functional democracy depends on the ability of its citizens to weigh facts and maintain perspective. This tragic breakdown of critical thought makes me sad.

And yet there is hope, no? There's always hope.

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