I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been a little afraid to get political on my blog.
Years ago when I made fun of Bush and his policies that crapped all over our civil liberties, I got inundated with hateful comments and it just sort of sat with me, I guess. But that was before he bankrupted the country and his approval ratings plummeted to an all-time low.
I'm sure part of it also has to do with my profession. I make a conscious effort not express my political views in the paper. I weigh everything I do carefully to make sure both parties are equally represented.
I guess that mindset sort of translated to not discussing it at all here.
But the few of you who commented on the last post showed me that it is possible to have a thoughtful exchange of ideas without tossing insults, demoralizing someone else's views or threatening to set each other on fire.
In short, you inspired me.
Months ago when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still battling it out for the Democratic nominee, my friend Gisela said, "I'm sort of surprised you haven't endorsed a candidate yet on your blog."
Funny, I hadn't thought of that. I mean, who cares what I have to say on the subject? Like the Internet isn't already saturated with political commentaries and analysis pieces down to how much the Republican National Committee paid a hairdresser to follow Sarah Palin around the country and make her look like a polished Caribou Barbie.
But, then again, why not endorse a candidate? Without raising my own pedestal too high, I am probably more well-informed than a large majority of the voting population. I mean, my job is to scour, select and edit political stories almost every. single. night.
But before I get into why I'm voting for Obama, I'd like to take a minute to express my greatest fear -- people voting on a single issue. Namely abortion.
Yes, abortion is a big deal. Yes, the next president likely will have to appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, which could result in overturning Roe v. Wade. But is that singular issue going to affect the majority of voters? Probably not.
What about the energy crisis? What about the economy? What about foreign policy? How should we address Iran's nuclear goals? Or funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? What about health care? Gay marriage? And education?
People who vote on a singular issue are telling me that the rest of it isn't important.
Just today we had a letter to the editor in our paper from a man who said his religion forbids him to vote for a pro-choice candidate. But he felt conflicted because McCain went through a divorce. And in the eyes of God, he's living in sin.
Sure, I question his decision-making methods, but at least he was using his head a little rather than just voting the way his priest told him to.
As for Palin? Gah, where to start? I'm infuriated that a woman with no experience in Washington is being offered one of the highest positions on the global stage without climbing the rungs first. As thrilling as it is to be alive to witness the first woman named to the Republican ticket, I'm angered beyond belief that she was chosen for her gender. Sure, her far-right beliefs appeased the party's majority voting base, but McCain's campaign needed a shot in the arm before the Republican National Convention and he knew one of his Senate buddies wasn't going to cut it.
Enter winks, guns and lipstick.
(Excuse me me while I puke.)
Besides the family scandal that has swirled around Palin and her uncompromising views that terrify me, I can't get around the fact that she seems to abuse the power she already has. Troopergate. Fudging documents so the campaign will pay for her children's travel expenses.
And this woman could become president by default? Someone who hasn't ever placed a vote on the House or Senate floor? Someone who has no experience in Washington whatsoever?
That would be like throwing me into the publisher's seat of the New York Times.
By comparison, think of the job position you have. Now place yourself as the owner of that corporation. Or the superintendent of your school district. In eight days. Would you feel comfortable making that leap? How can she?
I would love nothing more than to see a woman vice president in my lifetime. Viewpoints aside, I just don't think Sarah Palin deserves it.
As for me? I won't lie. I voted for Hillary in the primary election, but when it comes to McCain or Obama, the choice wasn't hard for me.
Here's why I'm voting for Barack Obama:
- I support a woman's right to choose. Although I thoroughly disagree with his stance on late-term abortion, I think it's important that a woman is ready to take on the role of motherhood. Mistakes happen. Pills can be forgotten. Condoms break. It would be terrifying to live in a country where desperate women felt forced to take matters into their own hands in attempt to end a pregnancy.
- I am against off-shore drilling. One of the most important things the Republican party did in my opinion was make a wildlife refuge in Alaska. We need renewable energy resources. Experts have said drilling won't reduce gas prices for about 10 years. And even then it wouldn't be a permanent solution. Wind power. Solar energy. Methane gas from landfills. And all of the jobs that would come with it.
- Obama supports universal health care. Right now there are little kids who have teeth rotting out of their mouths because their parents can't afford to take them to a dentist. There are retirees living on Social Security who have to choose between heat and their prescription medications. I would be more than happy to pay higher taxes to help those people. And who knows? If I ever was unfortunate enough to lose my job, I might need that type of coverage, too.
- Obama has said he'd be willing to meet with foreign leaders who have long been shut out by the United States. Maybe opening one door would lead to some increased communication and understanding. We have to start somewhere.
- Obama supports bringing our troops home. Financially, because of the $700 billion bailout plan, analysts have said that we may have to choose which is the bigger threat -- Afghanistan or Iraq -- because we won't be able to indefinitely fund both. I don't support an immediate withdrawal, but a timetable would be nice.
- Although against gay marriage, he supports giving homosexual partners who want to enter into a lifelong committment the same rights married couples enjoy. To me, this is just a no-brainer. When you care about someone enough to stay by their side during their darkest hour, you should be able to do that in a hospital too.
- I genuinely believe that Obama wants to improve life for middle America. His hope and enthusiasm for a better tomorrow inspires me. I think many of us could use it.