If you were going to write a musical about Barack Obama, it would probably sound a lot like "Evita" but with less prostitution and tango-ing. I have been an unrepentant Obama fan since he announced he was running for President, but I have a confession to make: up until last Thursday, I wasn't entirely sure he could win it. My support of him felt more like my teenage declarations that I was a communist (just to irritate my patriotic history teacher)than any actual belief that he would win the nomination and go on to lead us into a bright new future.
Only, having openly declared my loyalty, I decided to get serious about Obama, taking the time to read his speeches, follow his campaign, learn about his history and his family, and I've genuinely transformed into an Obama fan. Last Thursday I watched the Iowa caucus as avidly as the rest of the nation watches the Superbowl, and I was shocked, delighted and scared when Obama won the nomination there. Not just won, but won handily, with a huge lead over his fellow Dems and GOP alike. Now, I'm stuck here in Illinois, a liberal state in Obama's hometown, so I'm sure that the things I'm seeing and hearing are a little biased. I'll also be paying close attention when he finally get south of the Mason-Dixon line. But I'm so excited and genuinely thrilled that this man could be president. One step at a time.
Now Salon has this article on him--about why Obama is so appealing to the masses--and I had to post it here, if for no other reason to make fun of their graphic which is part Harry Potter poster, part Hindu religious icon. A lot of what the author says sounds familiar. Like the generic Americans in the article, I too was angry and mad at President Bush, at his warmongering cabinet, at the "rightwing extremists" who have hijacked MY COUNTRY, which I LOVE--but like the author, I'm tired of it. Bush is on his way out--his advisors have fled, Republicans who try to voice Angry Rhetoric find themselves down in the polls--and like the author, I'm ready for a change. I'm tired of politicians "fighting" over control of the government, when America was designed and built to be governed by everyone, not steered for a few years by one group before another group wrests the wheel away and takes us for a U-turn. The author makes a good point saying that Obama's message of change doesn't necessarily mean he is the best person for the job, with little to no real experience in some major areas, but for me--that's half of his appeal. He's never sat down with the leader of a foreign country and banged out a trade agreement? Neither have I! And, having never done it, I would probably err on the side of politeness and respect, and I hope Obama does the same. Will he make mistakes? Yes. Mistakes like leading our country into war? Magic 8-ball says probably no. Will he work for bipartisan unity and lead the whole country, not just the people who voted for him?
Yes. Yes, yes and yes. Because, more than anything, I believe Obama when he says he loves this country and he wants to be our president because he believes he can change us for the better. And it's not some political line put out by his advisors--that is what he genuinely believes. And I like him because he loves this country the same way I do, despite of and because of its flaws, with all its history and its potential.
On Obama's website, he has this quote, which I think perfectly captures why I love him and why I'll be voting for him as much as possible. As I'm writing this, New Hampshire has gone to the polls in the primaries, and it will be interesting to see which way the wind blows. I thought I heard a change in the night a few weeks back--but only time will tell if that change is permanent.
"I'm asking you to believe.
Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington.
I'm asking you to believe in yours."