Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bilbo Endorses Barack Obama For President. Sort Of...

Just about 48 hours from right now, I will vote in one of the most important and historic elections in American history.

Those of you who regularly and loyally (if in head-shaking exasperation) read my rants and grumblings know that I am hugely soured on both parties, both candidates, and the entire miserable political system which has driven us to the current perilous state of affairs. I am furious at the vast amounts of money which have been spent by both sides to smear each other...dollars which might have been spent improving education, fixing our roads and bridges, and providing health care. I am appalled at the depths the representatives of each side - official or unofficial - are willing to plumb in search of bogus, racist, and downright stupid accusations against each other, and at the willingness of many Americans to swallow this venomous swill whole. I'm tired of robo-calls and endless television ads that do nothing more than heap accusations against the other candidate, rather than explaining what their candidate will do, and why it's better. I'm tired of empty-headed endorsement of change, long after the word has lost any meaning amid the proliferation of wild, unfulfillable promises and dark, unfounded accusations.

But I'm an American. I love my country, warts and all, and I have a duty and a responsibility to express my opinion not just by whining and bitching to groups of people who probably agree with me, anyway, but by exercising my right to vote.

In this bitterly-fought and incredibly important election, I wish we had two candidates and two parties that offered me a clear and compelling choice. I wish could dance a waltz with Edyta Sliwinska, too, but that's not going to happen, either.

I have decided to vote for Barack Obama.

This is not to say that I am a wild-eyed, ardent supporter of the junior senator from Illinois. I believe he is a good and decent man with a history that is quintessentially, if not typically, American. He provides an image of steady, calm leadership at a time when such leadership is sorely needed. I wish he had some proven, tested executive experience, had traveled more, had more of a history of Senate service, or had served in the military...but he doesn't. I believe his long and unquestioning association with his openly racist pastor is a question mark against his judgment. But I think he's the better man.

I respect and admire Senator McCain. He is a true American hero who has shown leadership in the Senate, as well as an ability to take unpopular stands in the face of political pressure to do otherwise. But the longer the campaign has drawn on, the more I have come to question his readiness to be president. The selection of Governor Palin as his running mate was the final straw.

If you want to read one of the best, most nuanced and well-written political endorsements I've ever that captures my thoughts better than I probably could have captured them The Washington Post's editorial endorsing Senator Obama for president.

And so, on Tuesday morning I will walk up to the machine and cast one vote out of the tens of millions which will be cast across the nation. I will vote for the person I expect will be the first black man ever elected to the nation's highest office. I don't care that he's black. I don't care what his middle name is. My biggest concern as I vote for Senator Barack Obama is that he resists the pressures of the most extreme wings of the Democratic party to replace the stupid things the Republicans have done with the stupid things they wish to do.

The Republicans, with their economic plans that rely on elimination of regulation and tax benefits for businesses and the wealthy, have played a major role in bringing the nation to the brink of economic collapse. But it was the Democrats, with their well-intentioned but utterly stupid championing of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, that lit the fuse on the mortgage crisis bomb by pressing banks to make mortgage loans to those least able to pay them back.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I support Senator Obama as the better man for the nation's highest office, even if I can't support the full agenda of the Democratic Party.

The Republican administration of President Bush has led us into a needless war while turning away from the real threats posed by radical religious fundamentalism. It has ignored the middle class while championing benefits for big business and the wealthy and eliminating laws and regulations designed to protect the citizens and the environment. It has squandered the good will and friendship of a world horrified by the events of September 11, 2001. It has shown itself to be morally obtuse, ethically challenged, and economically bankrupt.

Can the Democrats do better?

They can, if they reject the most extreme liberal ideas and work with those Democrats and Republicans who represent the beliefs and ideals of the Great American Center.

This is not a time for wild swings of sociopolitical experimentation. It is a time for calm, steady, decisive leadership.

I believe Barack Obama is the man who can provide it.

And now it's up to him to prove me right.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



The Mistress of the Dark said...

I think you've summed up why I'm voting for him too.

John said...

Well said, Bilbo.

KKTSews said...

Risking a love-fest here...I agree completely with your comments and will also be voting for Obama. But then I'm voting for a Republican for the House in a vain attempt to keep things somewhat more balanced in Washington.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Being British, I don't get a say.

Malaise Inc said...

While I mostly agree, I feel compelled to point out that according to the Fed, in 2006, 83% of subprime loans were written by private banks not subject to the Community Reinvestment Act. The real culprit, IMO, was the banks that were bundling and securitizing the subprime loans and the rating agencies that gave those securities prime grade ratings.

fiona said...

Very well written.As always.
If I were allowed to vote I'd go with
Mr Obama too.

Mike said...

"And so, on Tuesday morning I will walk up to the machine " (after standing in line for X hours)

You forgot the hard part. Hopefully most voters will get through this part without giving up. Don't wait until the end of the day. Oh wait! I forgot. You GUBTC. (get up before the chickens)