Thursday, August 28, 2008


So in general I try and stay away from politics and religion in our blog or from promoting any particular view. We all have our own opinions and I respect that some may be different than mine and who really cares that much what I think about these issues anyway?

But I just finished watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the presidential nomination and I feel the need to write. Unfortunately, when I get this worked up and emotional about something, it's hard for me to communicate it coherently or in logical bullet points, but I'll try.

I know that politics will make the most naive and optimistic of us cynical and I understand that words are easy; actions are hard. But let me tell you why this candidate makes me feel so full of hope that it hurts.

There are 101 reasons why I happen to be a Democrat rather than a Republican (though I'm not much of a fan of either major party), but this isn't about what Obama had to say about the war in Iraq, or tax cuts, or corporations, or reproductive choice or foreign policy or any of the other areas where I happen to believe that his ideas are better for us as a country than those of John McCain. I get that we can disagree about those things.

But where I hope that we all could be inspired is the vision he has for us as a country and the faith he has as us as a people. (and I can already tell that I'm SO not going to be able to say what I'm trying to say here.....)

Basically when he talks about what his hopes are and belief in the country, it sounds like the country that I knew growing up, the one I liked living in, the one that I was proud to represent whenever I was overseas and one that did serve as an example or inspiration for others in less fortunate situations.

-- He talked about us getting back to looking out for each other and caring about our fellow citizens; that we are all our brothers' and sisters' keepers. It matters if there are those of us left behind by the economy or stuck with out health care. It's not someone else's problem; it affects all of us.
-- He talked about taking personal responsibility; that while government needs to do more to help us, we have to make choices to live more energy efficiently, or encourage our children to turn off the tv and do their homework.
-- He talked about leaving the country and the world a better place for all of our children, that that is the promise and the debt we owe to our parents.
-- He talked the need for all children to have access to strong education, and to invest in science and higher learning.
-- He talked about the need to return to the idea that we can all in this country, even if we disagree, work together toward common purposes. He rejected this increasingly virulent notion that anybody that disagrees with you is a bad person or doesn't have the best interests of the country at heart.
-- He rejected the idea of leading or speaking for a 'red' america or a 'blue' america and spoke of the commonality of the dreams of the people of a united states of america
-- He spoke of regaining our stature in the world and beginning of the hard work of rebuilding our alliances and friendships.
-- He disavowed the torture and systematic disregard for the constitution and individual rights of the past 8 years

Basically he called on the country and said, aren't we tired of playing to each other's fears and inciting divisiveness and bringing out the worst in each other? The country...our history...all of our potential is better than that. We are better than that. And the problems we face are big enough that the only way to overcome them is if we move beyond name calling and isolation and realize how much we all share and work together. But if we do move beyond the politics as usual and red state/blue state paralysis and the recriminations and distrust, we can make a change.

I want to believe in that sort of world and country again. I want to live in a place where we take care of our poor and old and sick, where everybody has an opportunity for education and for making something of themselves no matter where they start, where we celebrate science and learning at the same time as we honor blue collar workers and farmers, where we are respectful of each other's differences while celebrating our commonalities, where we actually try to work together to make something better in the future, instead of fighting to get the best advantage in the present, where we try and actually live up to the ideals in the constitution and bill of rights, and where we are responsible and respected members of the international community again. this point I'm blathering on and I know I sound like a pollyannish ninny. It's not like I think all that is easy. It's not like I think that if we elect Barack Obama all that will just *poof* happen with a snap of the fingers. We may never totally get there. And if we do, it will take years and years. But if we don't elect leaders who believe in that sort of a vision for our country and that sort of change , and who are willing to talk to us like grownups about what it's going to take to get there, then we'll never even get started down the road.



ml said...

Three Cheers!! Your "blathering" was much more coherent than I could be, and you captured the emotions that many of us felt during his speech. Here's to HOPING!

piglet said...

You know I'm a better fearer than a hoper, but if there is anything worth hoping -- and working -- for, it's getting this guy in the white house.