Last night I had the privilege of attending a Barack Obama rally held at Texas State University. I went with two of my great friends, Hannah's parents, while Nick stayed home to study and watch the sleeping children (what a great husband!).
What an amazing experience. I have been really excited about this presidential election because for the first time in my life, I have the opportunity to vote for someone I believe in. For once, I am not choosing the lesser of two evils. I am casting a vote for a person who I think can best lead this country towards the changes that we need to make to be a better people, a better nation. I am so excited to vote in the Texas primary for Barack Obama.
He spoke movingly, powerfully last night. He didn't incite the crowd with empty rhetoric, he clearly laid out his stance on such powerful issues as education, energy, the economy, diplomacy, safety, employment, taxes and health care. He defined his stance, and provided concrete examples of what he wanted to do. I believe him.
A year ago I read "The Audacity of Hope" and thought it was an interesting book. Now, I know that it is written by not a politician looking to shore up votes, but it is written by a man who wants to explain how he arrived at the beliefs he has today, a man who uses his experiences to learn, grow and change.
I get tired of people patting me on the head and stating that I am too idealistic, that as I grow up I will learn more, and not rely on hope to guide my decisions. I do not want that day to come. I am with Barack Obama, when he states that he doesn't want to lose his hope. I believe that we can change, and I believe that Barack Obama is the person to lead us.
Nick wrote a great e-mail to his parents outlining his political beliefs. I just want to share some of it:
I'm voting for Obama because he gives me hope. I honestly believe the things that he says in his speeches about change. I believe that this country is ripe for change. I believe that we can start today to build a world where equality is a reality, where one family does not live in poverty because the system prevents them from advancing because of their race. I believe that men and women can come together in spite of differences in religion, philosophy, or ideology. I believe that a language of discourse exists in which the children of our God can communicate and work for change. I believe that God is no respector of persons. Why should we?
Why should one man be able to come to this country with his family and two generations later his descendants are recognized without question as "Americans" while some of my classmates' families have been in this country for over a hundred years and live everyday in the shadow of inequality?
We live in a democratic republic. The government is by the people, of the people, for the people. These words may seem idealistic. They may seem unreasonable in the face of what you have seen and experienced growing up in this country. I realize that there is an entire generation who sang the songs of peace and equality, only to slowly have those dreams dashed by the reality of bureaucracy and short-sighted politicians. I do not know what it was like to be drafted, to be in America during the cold war. But I believe that in many ways we are standing on the shoulders of that generation, your generation, just as you and your generation stood on the shoulders of the previous.
While I realize that some day the world will come to an end, and as a result, there will be an erosion of culture and civilization that must preclude it. I do not believe that moment is now. I believe that hope is the language of progress. I believe that change is closer than it has ever been, but it will never come if members of the church sit in silence and hold on to what's theirs. We must speak out for justice and equality. We who have been blessed of the lord to know truth, must speak. We must come to the town square as Romney alluded to in his speech. We must be the light unto the world.
For too long have we as a group thought that chastity and family integrity are the only doctrines worth sharing with the world. If we reflect on our Savior's we will find that we should give of our substance, feed and clothe the poor. The reality is that we as individuals do not have the time and often the resources to make this happen.
Yet a group of people. A nation, can and should take care of its own. It should respect other nations and not make financial gain its only objective. Too long have we allowed the rich and the mighty control foreign policy. Too long have we waged war for that which rusts and corrupts. We must be willing to sit with our friends and enemies compromise where we can and should and work for peace in the world. Even if it means that I pay more taxes. Even if it means I have to work a little harder to "get ahead". I don't want get ahead on the backs and shoulders and heads of the poor and oppressed, I don't want to look back on life and as Jacob Marley in "A Christmas Carol" reflect on the chains I forged in life by my greed and selfishness.
You have spoken of my idealism in the past as though it were a folly of youth, something to be grown out of.
God make me humble enough to ever see the good in mankind, to hope and shout out the hope and light and truth that God has promised all. This nation was consecrated by the hand of God to bring forth the gospel to all the world. It as of yet has not been shouted from every housetop or heard in every ear, so we as Americans, as ambassadors of God's will should be filled with hope. Our governments should be filled with those who are not devoid of hope. I listen to the other two candidates who still have a shot and I see a man and a woman devoid of hope. Two craftsmen who will work their craft in the political arena, lying a little crushing the poor and afflicted all in the name of gamesmanship. I can not with good conscience vote for either of them.
I agree with Nick, and I think he said it better than I can.
A few resources for you to turn to:
This is a great breakdown and comparison of Barack and Hillary's voting record from 2007. I highly recommend looking at it.
The official website of Barack Obama.
No matter what your vote, please just do it. Vote.