Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Vote Today if you can – my vote is for Obama

Posted by shannonclark on February 5, 2008

I am not a Democrat. Nor am I a Republican. I have been a registered Independent since I moved to CA, while I was in Illinois I didn’t have to registered as a member of either party and I did not, though living in Chicago meant that generally the Democratic primary was the most important so I tended to vote in that (since few if any Republicans even ran for many positions from Chicago).

But this year I have a clear choice – I have been and am strongly supporting Barack Obama for President. Not only because he taught law at the University of Chicago (where I attended The College) and lives in my old neighborhood of Hyde Park, though both are positive factors in my support. My primary reason for supporting Obama is that I agree with his positions (more so than any other candidate of either party) and even more I respect how he goes about governance – what he focuses on, how he listens to and respects alternative positions and viewpoints, including those of members of the other party – yet at the same time how he has now many times over shown an ability to run a very efficient and masterful organization and shows planning and foresight for the long term.

For example, in both the Illinois Senate and at the US Senate Barack Obama has championed, sponsored and gotten passed a number of ethics reforms many of which share a common trait of focusing on transparency and accountability. He has pledged even more such steps when he is elected. Here I think is an example of simple, very hard to argue against steps which will go a long way to major reform of the government – and which take full advantage of our modern, digital age.

He also has shown a willingness to not shirk from his views or positions even when they might not go over well with a given audience he is addressing – notably he championed merit pay for teachers even while addressing a large teachers union (not known for supporting that position – which is one that I also strongly share). He has also frequently addressed gay and lesbian rights – again even when not addressing “friendly” audiences. I’m straight, but countless of my friends are not – and even were that not the case I deeply respect his giving gay rights a prominent place in his campaign and speeches (and unlike certain presidents he has not shown any unwillingness to even say the word “gay”).

On foreign policy I also strongly support his positions and approach. I was not anti-war – though I respect those who were – I do think there are times when we should act militarily, though to be blunt I think the time probably was during the first Gulf War or later on when there was an uprising in Iraq which we had initially supported but then did not follow through with that support. At that time we had a large (and real) coalition and a much clearer reason for acting (invading and taking over a neighboring state is a very clear and immediate cause for military action – much more so than the we now know fictitious reasons for the current conflict).

Obama’s position before the war was and is a very smart one – he was opposed to “dumb wars” – not the knee jerk, sometimes head-in-the-sand “all wars” but he recognized that Iraq was a dumb war. He has since followed up on that position and insight with opposition to further dumb bills – all while also being very active in veteran’s rights (he serves on some relevent committees in the Senate).

In short I think that Barack Obama is the best candidate for President I have had the chance to vote for in my lifetime. This will be my 5th presidential election (I’m 33) – and though like all previous elections in my lifetime a Bush or a Clinton (or both) are involved, I hope that is only the case for a few more weeks during the Primaries.

If you are not in a state voting today, I encourage you to contact and reach out to all your friends who are in states which vote today – and if your state has not yet voted making sure you are registered to vote and when the time comes vote. While I hope, like myself, you will be voting for Barack Obama, even more I hope you will vote and participate. This year we are seeing record participation levels in every primary – and overall I think this more than almost anything else is a positive sign for the country.

So please go Vote. Use the League of Women Voter’s SmartVoter site to locate your polling place and view a full sample ballot.

and

Yes. We. Can!

Update – check out the comments on this Talking Point Memo post for another great Obama related post

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