It appears that over the past few months I have neglected to forcefully voice my opinion on who I think is the best candidate for the presidency of the United States. This lead the pundits, who are not used to me being silent, to speculate that I was keeping quiet because I have become a republican. I now feel compelled to set the record straight; I am not republican, not that there is anything wrong with it, but I am not. I actually respect people’s choice to become republican, and I support their right to civil unions.
Not only will I respond to the most recent negative campaign ad against me, but I will also explain to you part of my vote’s evolution.
September 24th, a vote was born. After ten long years in the US (yeah, you probably are feeling guilty now for missing Fayyad’s Day), an immigration agent finally slipped and approved my citizenship application; I registered to vote the following morning. It immediately became clear to me that my decision on who to vote for was not as clear as I had thought. Perhaps I had begun to consider my vote “more seriously” now, that I would have to cast it.
I know I can entertain you by listing some of the reasons why the republican ticket was not even an option, but in the interest of time, I’ll move on to the more plausibly choices. I should say however, McCain’s stock rose with me when one of my colleagues alerted to an interesting observation: He thought Bush’s preemption doctrine, Patriot Act, and the bail out package among other things where conscious efforts by the closet Texas libertarian to destroy the federal government as he ideologically did not believe in it. I must admit, at the time, I thought I might be willing to give it another four or eight years. But I digress.
I lived in Illinois when Obama first burst on to the seen, I have to say that I was impressed by his person, I had friends who new him first hand and would attest to his genuineness, and my little reverse orientalist way, I thought it was long over due for a positive black roll model, who is not an athlete or a rapper.
But by the time I became a citizen, I had witnessed countless acts of masterful pander by the democratic candidate, I had read the news about him appeasing the pro-Israel lobby through promises that do not pass ethical muster, and run diametrically opposed to his views before he burst on the national scene. I had also heard him respond to the charges of being “Muslim” or “Arab” as if they actually were smear words and heard of his staff preventing headscarf-wearing women from standing behind him during a speech so they don’t taint his image. Voting for him would be painful, if I could do it at all.
But there were Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney. One who I admire as an activist and advocate, and have supported and canvassed for in 2000, actually, even went beyond what a non-US citizen could legally contribute. The second is an advocate of Palestinian rights, a firm opponent of the invasion of Iraq, and George Bush’s doctrine of world hegemony. So I had those to choices to ponder, for a protest vote of course… one that would make me feel more satisfied, because at the end of the day, I would not have voted for the president who would make a decision I disagree with.
For a good couple of weeks, I was leaning the Nader-McKinney way, yes, I know, they are not on one ticket. But after several conversation with coworkers, and other republican-leaning random individuals in two major swing states, as well as following the ongoing debate on KABOBfest, I decided that I perhaps should sacrifice some self indulgence and gratification and actually make a consequential choice. Because after all, selling out, in various degrees, seems to be inherent to reaching a position of influenece. Not to mention that I would have loved that the two tried a bit harder to ask for my vote, get on my ballot, or at least unite efforts.
The US electoral system is by no means perfect or free; on the contrary, it is rigged, manipulated, paid for by special interest and corporations, and monopolized by two parties that differ from each other on only a hand of full of policies that would carry long term impact, especially after they both have deviated from the principles of conservatism and liberalism respectively as they were defined when morals and ethics factored into their form. For that, it is only a matter of realism and practicality to view your vote as a better than, as opposed to great. I have been disappointed enough times in my short life that I know good things do not happen in droves, rather in small increments of often overlooked silver linings.
So I will vote for Obama, not only because I think him in the White House is far less damaging than McCain: On judicial and cabinet appointment, foreign policy and likelihood of starting another war, economy regulation and taxation, environment and funding for science, and of what would happen should the same team from the last eight years remain in Washington, but because of those conversations I had in Ohio and Pennsylvania over the past few weeks. It’s because of the people who are afraid of the black man (although we know he has passed the political establishment test) of becoming president because they think all black people would start making six-figures on welfare. It’s because of those who think the US tax code before 2000 is a form of socialism that inhibits prosperity. It’s because of the voters in Nevada and Mississippi who responded “that nigger” when they received a call from an Obama campaign volunteer.
I am voting for Obama because America will be better with him as a president. I don’t look for him or his policies to make America better, I am only confident America will be better. I think, and hope, many Americans will come to pass the barrier of race that is now blinding them beyond reason, and those who can’t cope with it will perhaps have heart attacks, who knows, I’m just speculating. But America will come in the next four years further than it has in the last 40 years, to move beyond her prejudice, will not be complete, just another step, and it is my hope, that this will extend outside its border, and Americans as a whole, begin regarding their opponents as humans with differing views and customs, not as subhuman things that can be killed off just like in another episode of The Lord of the Rings.
So yes, I’m voting for Obama because he is black, but that is not why he is winning. The man who I thought in 2006 was the long over due role model for the African American youth, is actually the long over due role model for America.
For congress though, this is the man who will get my vote tomorrow. I discovered him only tonight when this video ad aired on my TV, and I nearly decided to vote for him before I read his platform and learned he was Green