Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election of '08

Now I have tried to keep my politics off of my blog. Today, (and the quick one last night) I felt that I have to write about my feelings regarding the election of Barack Obama.

First, some history. I grew up on a Wisconsin farm. High school, I was a supporter of Goldwater. In the late 60s, I wanted a draft-deferred job out of college. That went by the wayside when I was drafted and served a tour in Viet Nam.

I was a Reagan-Republican. While not happy with the social issue view of Reagan, I thought it was easier to work for social change than it is to change fiscal change. The first big change for me was during the Clinton campaign and presidency – I sat out by voting for Perot.

When the Evangelical Right took over the Republican Party, I started looking for a political party home. I was looking at McCain (back in the 2000 campaign). Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the last straw. I started working for Democrats and changed my registration.

I wanted to work to defeat George W. Bush. Not that I want a Gore or Kerry Presidency – I wanted to defeat Bush.

Over the last 4 years, I have watched John Edwards and decided to support his candidacy. I had heard of Obama, but liked Edwards’ platform (did not know much about Obama). And, I thought enough of the Clintons. But, my basic motivation for working with the campaign was to defeat the Republicans and ideals of Bush.
I was an Us v. Them person. Bush and the Republicans were the enemy.

When Edwards dropped out of the race – I changed to supporting Obama. By now, I could see that he is where I wanted our country to go from here. As I heard more and worked more for the Obama candidacy, I felt a transformation.

His acceptance speech at the Convention was inspiring. The first time in many years that a political speech brought tears to my eyes.

Contemplating last night on my way home from the local Obama Victory Party, I realized that I, too, have changed. My view of the political landscape has changed. I was not working to defeat the policies of Bush – I was working for the “change we need”.

I hope those that try to divide us, learned their lessons – the vicious attacks did not work. The Rovian tactics do not work. Enough of blue states and red states.

Yes, there is lots of work to heal our country. But, as the chant started at the Grant Park Rally – YES WE CAN.

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