Sunday, November 02, 2008

That's why they call 'em secret ballots...

Okay, here's the deal. Here at _holm, I try to make a point of not explicitly talking politics, because this is a blog about writing, and for me at least, the two rarely intersect. But lately, I've had a serious case of election-brain, and it's been messing with my writing output something fierce, so I figure that makes it fair game.

So anyways, here's my pitch. This Tuesday, I urge all of you (Democrats, Republicans, and everyone in between) to vote for Barack Obama for President. Now, I know all of you have heard that a thousand times over from folks smarter or prettier or famouser than I, and you're probably wondering why in the hell you should listen to me. The fact is, you shouldn't. But you should listen to what your gut is telling you, and I think if you strip away the labels, the hype, and the attempts of the pundits to drive wedge after wedge between us, the choice is clear.

Our nation stands on the edge of a precipice. That's not a partisan opinion, it's simply a fact. Our economy is in shambles. Our military is overextended. People are afraid: afraid for their safety, afraid for their jobs, afraid for the future of their children. And make no mistake, that fear has been sewn by the party in office, not because Republicans are evil, but because fear has proven a powerful motivator, and the folks in office were canny enough -- not to mention immoral enough -- to exploit it. I have to admit, it was a pretty smart play; after all, their policies have all been abject failures, and their fringe ideology has dragged the Republican party so far afield from the core beliefs of Federalism and personal responsibility that it would be unrecognizable to the historical paragons they pay lip-service to in their speeches.

John McCain has, to my great surprise, proven willing -- eager, even -- to exploit that fear himself. You can hear it in his incendiary rhetoric, and in the rhetoric of his running-mate. They attack. They smear. They sew division wherever they can, without a care as to the damage they are doing. I think it's time to say "Enough."

So on Tuesday, when you go into the voting booth, stop and think about the kind of world you want to live in. Stop and think about how these last eight years have gone. I know there are some who say Obama is untested, that he's nothing more than a bunch of flowery words, and although I disagree, I understand where they're coming from. The thing is, the other side has been tested, and by any metric, they have failed. Obama could truly do no worse. And here's the thing: what if this guy is for real? What if he does possess the intellect, the steel, the integrity that Powell and Buckley and a whole host of others not ideologically aligned with him have recognized and responded to? What if he really has what it takes to unite this great nation, and you pull the lever for the other guy out of some misplaced sense of party loyalty, or even worse, out of fear?

I think that our choices this election are clearer than they've ever been. The decision we're faced with transcends party values. It's about the kind of nation we want to be. One that faces the future with confidence and resolve, or one that clings to the past out of fear. Whatever your political leanings, I urge you to consider that before you click the button, pull the lever, or check the box. And remember, once you leave the booth behind, no one ever has to know.