It’s time to write the diary it feels like I’ve waited a lifetime to write.
This story requires an introduction and an explanation, and there’s no better place to start than the beginning. I grew up fascinated with the presidency, reading every book I could get my hands on and memorizing my “President’s Cards”, which are essentially the least sexy trading cards on this earth. Despite idolizing Bill Clinton, it always seemed like there was something missing that I had seen in both the deeds and the perceptions from the Lincoln’s, Kennedy’s, and Roosevelt’s of the past. Like most youth, I became more cynical and eventually took the step which inevitably leads to losing faith in the process: becoming a Political Science major. Between that and George W Bush, it’s amazing there is any faith left.
For many reasons, Senator Barack Hussein Obama is the human embodiment of why that hope can (and should) be able to soar. Not only is he the best candidate in this election, he is the Democrat most likely to win the White House and actually make the changes that America so desperately needs.
1. Obama the uniter
Having studied the politics of the past thirty years in painful detail, there is one thing that is abundantly clear: the only way to make meaningful change in this country is to expand the base and have closer to universal support for the future steps down the line. There are countless examples of where divisive politics have failed the American people recently, and I’ll mention two: the collapse of the potential health care policy in the Clinton years and the hatchet job that happened to John McCain in the primaries in 2000. Both of these events showed the callousness and self-interested nature of many politicians, and I am wholly convinced that Hillary Rodham Clinton will follow the divisive past of her husband and she has already shown these tendencies. Barack Obama is not that type of politician, and reaching across the aisle and trying to connect with those who are disillusioned by the deplorable Bush Administration rather than isolating them is simply put the only way for the left to hold any meaningful control over this country.
2. Obama the steward of America
People will take different things away from this campaign no matter how it goes, but the thing that stands out to me is Senator Obama’s speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on Martin Luther King Day. This is not because it was a phenomenal speech that galvanized those in attendance (and those who watched it over the internet), but because he was willing to bring the truth of the black communities’ treatment of homosexuals and Jewish people over time, which to put it simply is an insanely difficult thing to do. It is that type of integrity that the President of the United States of America needs to embody, rather than emulate. The Commander-in-Chief needs to lead by word and deed, and Senator Obama is the most capable of doing that. While his hands are not totally clean, he has been the most upfront about the times he has transgressed and has not “flip-flopped” on issues like Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards have on the War in Iraq. Furthermore, he has avoided the lies and deceit that plague bad campaigns and the bad people that run them. The appalling way that Senator Clinton and her campaign has handled Senator Obama’s “present” votes in the Illinois state legislature by relying on information asymmetry to mislead the American public both in the debate and on her website is not what America needs in a President. Regime change starts at home, and no one could do it better than Barack Obama.
3. Obama the electable candidate
There is the well-founded view that a black man cannot be elected right now in this country, and honestly, there still may be some truth to that. However, Senator Obama is still the most electable candidate on the Democratic side. He is the only candidate that can stand toe-to-toe with John McCain on national security and make a credible argument. Why would someone who cares about national security side with Hillary over McCain? The only way to fight someone on their main issue is to have someone who can take them on fairly, strongly, and honestly. What’s more, we can all see the power of the youth vote in this election, and no one will get the kids out like Senator Obama. Today in South Carolina, Obama took a majority of the youth vote. Many will say that the youth vote is insignificant because of previous turnout. However, there has not been a candidate worth fighting and voting for…until now. Also, Obama’s message brings independents and minorities (specifically blacks given his limited Latino support right now) to the Democratic side, which not only helps him win the election, but it produces a wave effect which could bring more Democratic seats in Congress, which is another key foothold for meaningful long-term change in this country.
4. Obama the individual
A year ago, I was a cynical college student who had lost faith in the people and the process. Found out through the grapevine that Senator Obama was going to speak in Los Angeles and decided to see what he was about. Through a miscommunication with the UCLA Democratic group, I arrived at the event an hour earlier than most and got separated from the people I was going to volunteer with. At first, this led to a little alone time, but I eventually connected with the people around me and ended up in the front row of the non-volunteers. I went in to the speech as an uncommitted voter and was immediately consumed with the power Mr. Obama has. He is a wordsmith of the highest caliber and has a level of emotion and belief that simply cannot be quantified. Having never experienced anything like it, I was overcome with emotion.
Coincidentally, after he finished speaking, the volunteers filed out of their section and Senator Obama came around shaking hands. Blown away, I told him “You’re going to do this” and without hesitation he looked me straight in the eyes and said “No, we’re going to do this” with unmatched conviction.
Barack Obama is not only the candidate most likely to win the Presidency on the Democratic side if nominated; he will be the type of President who restores belief in the system both here and abroad in a time when that level of hope and conviction is so desperately needed.