Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

Words cannot truly express the magnitude of what happened last night at 8:00 PM Pacific time when Barack Obama was declared the victor of the 2008 Presidential race. I was overwhelmed with joy that he had won. We have elected the first African-American president of the United States, and that means so much to so many not only here in the U.S. but around the world.

What surprised me, though, was the sense of relief I felt that we were finally past the Bush years and all the incompetence and corruption and damage to America that they brought. It was that relief that brought me to tears, almost like I could breathe again. What that administration did to this country is unconscionable, but I truly have hope that President-elect Barack Obama can bring back our integrity and position of respect around the world. I have hope that our new President will be able to bring about the change needed to solve the enormous issues we are facing, whether it is global warming or the economic crisis or the wars we are fighting. Hope and change are what Obama represented throughout the campaign, and now he must, with all of our help, realize that change and fulfill that hope. Yes we can!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

How I Became an Obama Fan

I realized that most of my posts are about why I am against John McCain or Sarah Palin and not about why I am voting for Barack Obama. So here is my story.

I was a Hillary Clinton supporter during the primary season. When looking at the problems facing the country, I thought she would be able to hit the ground running more quickly. She is obviously extremely intelligent, has a solid grasp on the issues, and I feel truly cares about people. It didn't hurt that Bill Clinton was part of the package. As far as I was concerned, having Bill Clinton, who had overseen one of the most successful periods in recent American history, would be so beneficial in those first weeks and months of the new presidency. There would be no getting up to speed on how to navigate the White House. And it was inspiring to me that she was a woman.

Once Barack Obama became the nominee, I knew that I would support him. I am a Democrat after all, and Hillary and Barack have very similar stands on the issues. In fact, I was more aligned with Barack Obama on Iraq, having been an opponent from the start. But here were some defining moments for me.
  • Watching Barack Obama's convention speech. I had never actually sat down and watched one of his speeches before, and it made me understand how he inspired so many. He stands for the right things. He was strong in the case he made for his presidency. He said what I had been thinking for so long - that Republicans can no longer take ownership of patriotism. We are all patriots. I saw the possibilities of electing our first African-American president and what that would mean to so many people in this country - not least of which to my husband, to my children.
  • Going to Back to School Night for my first-grader. We each got a packet of work our children had done. One paper was a sentence and drawing of what the kids wanted to be when they grew up. My son had written "I want to be President." I truly believe watching Barack Obama had inspired him.
  • The economic crisis. After John McCain announced he had suspended his campaign and was calling for the debate to be postponed, I didn't know how Obama would be able to respond. I thought he was in a no-win position. But Obama came out with such a simple yet such a true statement: a president has to deal with more than one thing at a time. Wow.
Every day since, Obama has shown himself to be presidential, cool under pressure, able to see the big picture and connect the dots. I believe he has the intelligence to surround himself with the right people, to see all sides of the issues, to seek advice when he doesn't know, and to make the right decisions to lead our country out of this mess of the last eight years. He will rebuild our image abroad. He will help those who are struggling. He will engage the disenfranchised who have felt excluded for so long. He will bring this country together - white and black, young and old, red and blue.

And he will inspire a new generation of leaders to reach for their highest potential.

Oh Yeah, There Are Propositions to Vote on Too!

As I went to fill out my California sample ballot to bring with me on Tuesday, I realized there are a lot of other important issues on the ballot besides the Presidential race. Here are my thoughts on two key ones:
  • Proposition 4 - Parental Notification: I think this is the 3rd or 4th time this has been on the ballot on California. Basically, it requires parents to approve a teenager's abortion. Exception is provided if the teenager jumps through hoops and navigates the court system to get court approval. Obviously, this is an attempt to chip away at a woman's right to choose. You can't legislate good family communication. If a pregnant, teenage girl is not willing to confide in a parent, there is probably a good reason. One or both parents could be abusive or there could be a genuine fear of reprisal. A girl should be able to make this most fundamental decision themselves. I am voting NO.
  • Proposition 8 - Eliminating the rights of gays to marry: Earlier this year, California's mostly conservative Supreme Court found that there was no constitutional justification for not allowing same-sex marriage. That led to the most joyous day of the year for many gay couples who had been waiting so long to be able to enter into marriage with their partners. Some point to the civil rights that come along with marriage - hospital visitation, estate planning, benefits adoption, etc - and ask why we can't create a civil equivalent. It is deeper than that. Separate is not equal. 40 years ago, interracial marriage was banned in many states. We now realize this is totally unfair and discriminatory. Now, let's evolve even further and allow two consenting adults - regardless of gender, race, age, etc. to make that ultimate commitment to each other. Gays have the right to marry right now. Nobody's forcing churches to perform same-sex marriage or forcing teachers to teach same-sex marriage in school. My marriage is not at all effected by same-sex marriage. Let's allow happiness for everyone. I am voting NO along with Barbara Young, wife of Steve Young, famous Mormon former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.