Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why Obama/Which Change Do We Need?

Election Day is coming up pretty fast and as a guy who gets teary over Starbuck's new Pro-Democracy ads, I've been looking forward to this day for sometime. Not just because I have not been pleased with Bush's terms, but also because it is my first time voting during a Presidential election. My excitement has led me to follow election news compulsively. Right now about a third of the websites on my Google Reader are election coverage. One thing that I've been hearing more and more about is Democrats for John McCain, a increasingly large group of Democratics unhappy about their party's nomination who have decided to actively campaign for McCain, particularly in Pennsylvania. Being originally a Clinton supporter, I would like to talk about why I am now a strong supporter of Obama.

When talking about Democrats for John McCain with my friends, many of them where surprised and angry. Name calling ensued. In a way such reactions make sense, why would a person go from supporting a Democrat like Hillary Clinton to supporting a Republican like John McCain? Well, they both are experienced, they both have demonstrated adherence to their personal values, and they both would use their experience and drive to change our nation's policies. Say what you will about how many times McCain has voted with Bush, McCain is still very much for change.

So even though Clinton and McCain differ on many topics, there is still an overall connection: they both would undo some of the bad done by Bush. This very reason was why I support Clinton early on in this election. She could actually change the government. She could change policy. However over time I became less sure that policy change was what our nation needs most.

I have not enjoyed Bush's terms, and Clinton (and now McCain) was a solution to that. But the bigger issue, for me, is that we as a nation elected Bush twice. Even after the first four years we collectively decided to keep him in office. This worries me more than his policy. Therefore I shifted by support to Obama. One of the ongoing criticisms of Obama is that he is a marketing fad. That he won't be able to actually change our government due to lack of knowledge and experience. In a way this is a nonissue for me, or even a good selling point because I feel that the bigger problem is our nation's identity and attitude, and Obama can change that. I believe that in office, he will be a far more effective figurehead than a policy former, but I also believe that a revolutionary figurehead is what we need. I'm not voting for Obama because of his agenda or policy. I'm voting for Obama because of him.

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