I voted for Barack Obama because I want back my sense of outrage. I have been dulled to this president's despicable ways. I've glossed over articles depicting the deaths of fellow human beings in Iraq. Yawned while looking at the wreckage of car bombs on TV. Felt nothing when Bush vetoed a bill that would have banned waterboarding on prisoners in Guantamo Bay. And it all makes me sick with myself.
-- Ian Sands
Because he's smart. Because he's curious. Because he thinks about things instead of reciting talking points. Because he's run an astonishingly innovative, effective and disciplined campaign. Because his VP selection was thoroughly thought-out. Because his economic policies aim to help the people who need it most. Because he recognizes that we attacked the wrong country in 2003. Because he'll help develop alternative energy. Because his administration will be filled with decent and competent public servants. Because he'll keep the Supreme Court from tilting too far right. Because his call to national service is a way to help this country get past entrenched ideological divisions and find a common purpose again. Because his life story gives him a unique outlook on the rest of the world. Because I'm sick of the rest of the world hating us. Because we need to send a message to the rest of the world that the past eight years are not who we really are. Because those responsible for the past eight years need to be shown emphatically that they were wrong about everything, and that their chapter is closed. Because he appeals to our better selves, rather than to fear, bigotry, and xenophobia. Because he's the sort of forward-thinking president we need for the 21st century. Because he's young and compassionate and empathetic and open-minded and knows how to use the Internet and has Dylan and Jay-Z on his iPod. Because he's just inarguably the right man for the job.
-- Mike Miliard
I voted for Obama not because I'm a Democrat (I am), or because I think he's the best man for the job (I do). I voted for Obama because he is a thoughtful man of ideas who addresses complicated questions with complicated answers, because he doesn't go for the 10-word sound-byte, because he doesn't treat us like fools. He's the first candidate in my political consciousness who has challenged me to hope for what this country could be, who, in the words of the late Hunter S. Thompson, "understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like _________." McCain is not Bush, but he's no different from anyone else: diagnose an obvious problem, give us a list of what he would do, make a joke about NASCAR or steel mills or wherever he is that day, and shout "change" until the word loses all meaning. Obama is the first politician who has ever asked me to believe, and I want to, and so do legions of other young people who reached political maturity just in time for the Idiot Son to take the reins. His inexperience is a gamble, yes, but it's a calculated gamble, because even if an Obama Presidency isn't successful, I would take a chance on Obama 100 times before I'd vote for McCain once.
-- Jason O'Bryan
First, he is the kind of person we need in the White House - a smart, passionate, thoughtful, articulate person who recognizes that the world is not black-and-white. Rather, like the man himself, it's shades in between. I don't agree with Obama on everything - like warrantless wiretapping. But he's much more in my camp than McCain. And the way he thinks about issues, and the way he talks about them, make me trust him - reasoned, measured, open to options, but then decisive - and with a really good track record. And call me naïve, but I think he actually cares about - and wants to help - real, normal people who live average lives.
Second, the American position in the world is in the shitter, and we need to change that. I travel a lot, and I real a wide range of international media - including the Guardian, the New Zealand Herald, and even Al-Jazeera in English - on a daily basis. Around the world, people love Americans as individuals but hate our government. They resent our political, military, and economic influence, even as they embrace our cultures of music, film, and sports. (Sure, they love to claim they hate American culture, but when 9-year-old Nepalis living at 10,000 feet in the Himalaya are wearing Chicago Bulls singlets and Yankees baseball caps sideways, what they say isn't what matters.)
We can be world leaders again - not in a bullying, my-way-or-the-highway sort of leader, but as the quiet, strong, sensible kind of influence that once had the world looking to the United States as a symbol of something larger than itself - of an ideal in action, of a dream made real. We can be there again - we can be an immense force for good in this world, fighting poverty, hunger, and disease - both at home and abroad. To do that, we as Americans need to stand up and declare our independence of our present government - to rise and proclaim that we want something different, that we need a new direction, that we believe in the power of possibility. A vote for Obama is a vote for all of those things.
People around the world are skeptical - they believe we might talk a good game, but I don't think many of them believe we'll actually elect Obama. Whatever they may think of any of us as individuals, they think we as a group are racist, conservative, afraid of change, under the thumb of big business and big government, motivated by fear, and unable to think for ourselves. If McCain wins, their suspicions will be confirmed - Americans alone are just fine, but in any numbers we're just a bunch of lunkheads who can't get out of our own way. But I dream of hearing my friends' voices ring out with joy from around the globe when they wake to find Obama has won. Imagine if we could do that - imagine if we could change their minds - imagine if we could tell the world that America is back as a force for bettering all people's lives, wherever in the world they may live.
Imagine that, and vote for Obama. I do, and I did.
-- Jeff Inglis
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Tonight, the night of Barack Obama's acceptance speech, I'm 26 years old.
Raised by The Simpsons and taught quips by Mystery Science Theater, my generation is one that views everything through thick lenses of irony, touches everything through a heavy sheet of sarcasm. A group of friends gathered together to watch the election results ebb into CNN and throughout the night, hopeful and excited as we were, we mocked.
We mocked presenters, gaffs in speeches, graphics and a Will I. Am hologram. This was a process we had all been excited about, an election that promised nothing but hope for all in the room, something of unprecedented importance in our adult lives, and we still mocked.
Then President Elect Obama came behind the podium, and began to speak. More than that, mere minutes after he was chosen by the American people, he began to lead.
While I could tell you many things about my reaction to this - how I felt finally touched by this candidate who I'd listened to for months, how I was actually moved to tears, how amazed I felt to have a candidate who has won not instantly forget all he'd said for months - what is most telling is that for the duration of President Elect Obama's speech my friends and I sat in dead silence.
Not a word. Not a quip. No gentle teasing of someone in the crowd.
For once I feel like someone has lifted the protective veil from the people of my generation and we're allowed to feel something patriotic and genuine all at the same time.
Thank you, Mr. Obama, if for nothing else, then for that.