Friday, October 24, 2008

Wax Politic

Update: Here are Evan's thoughts on the issue

I’m slightly uneasy about tackling politics here, but this is something that’s been so much on my mind and in the press that I feel a need to vent. I will say, however, that I’m not going to talk about policy. Lately, what’s been on my mind is personality.

I have long said that one of my most important characteristics for a president is, well, character. But, I’m not so delusional as to believe that I can really know the truth about these candidates. Just about everything we know about them is spun, one way or another. So, to be honest, I’d mostly given up on voting for a president whose character I believed in.

Following this election from overseas has certainly been interesting. The editors of the New Yorker begin their eloquent endorsement of Obama with these sentences:
Never in living memory has an election been more critical than the one fast approaching—that’s the quadrennial cliché, as expected as the balloons and the bombast. And yet when has it ever felt so urgently true? When have so many Americans had so clear a sense that a Presidency has—at the levels of competence, vision, and integrity—undermined the country and its ideals?

I can’t speak for you guys on the home front, but this presidential election feels remarkably urgent. You’ve heard the reasons time and time again: the economic crisis, the wars, the way the rest of the world views us right now, energy, the environment, etc…These are serious times.

It’s hard to deny that Obama is inspiring our generation. Young voter registration is at record levels, and turnout at his events has been remarkable. I find myself wanting to (metaphorically) join the throngs, the wave. But I hold back, I’m hesitant. I’m afraid because it seems too good to be true.

Can Obama really be as well-tempered, as remarkable, as good as he seems?

After 8 years of decline, it’s hard to hope. It’s too…(wait for it) audacious. Is change really possible? Or is this just a pipe dream?

The level of support that Obama has garnered has brought him to near Messianic-levels. As if he alone can save our nation. McCain’s campaign even poked fun at this with their shameless web ad, "The One", where they compare Obama to Moses.

Stories like this one about Obama helping pay the extra baggage fees for a complete stranger in front of him in line, or this playful column where Rick Reilly from ESPN teams up with Obama for a week of fantasy football. They give me hope that maybe, just maybe, Obama is the real deal. Even if those two articles are just the work of brilliant spin doctors or campaign advisers, which I doubt, he has repeatedly shown his ability to rise above the games and the barbs and run a campaign with a sense of nobility and honor.

At the very least, the fact that Obama has made it this close to the White House does bolster my faith in America and democracy. Call me overdramatic, but America’s presidential candidates have, by and large, come from the same small section of society. Whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard not to admit that Obama is certainly something new for the American political scene. That alone should be cause for hope.

So what is this rambling post? Well, I’m not really sure. I’m not trying to endorse Obama, or sway those of you who don’t support him. It’s just that every so often, as I follow the digital campaign trails, I find myself wondering out loud. Desperately wanting to hope, to believe in someone, but afraid of being let-down, afraid of getting my hopes up, only to realize I’ve been taken for a spin, so to speak.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If I’ve riled up any McCain supporters, feel free to write me a response. I’ll post it.


Anonymous said...

yeah obama does seem very hopeful and since this is my first election im voting for obama in the primaries it was between obama, richardson, paul, and huckabee. he was the only one who came out of that so im crossing my fingers and hoping for integrity and intellect, but in all this i can't help but think how much worse can it get

Anonymous said...

oh yeah by the way this is joe

evan said...

great thoughts Jorge. i'm linking to you, and will add a few more thoughts to my post this evening. thanks for linking to me, too.

i will say here, and in a revision to my blog post, that I would probably be voting for Obama if he didn't love abortion so much. Shame on him, and Lord, have mercy on our likely next president.