Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hail primary, full of race...

Continuing Super Week (and, boy, has it been!), today is Super Tuesday. If you live in any of the 24 states holding primaries today, GET OUT AND VOTE! And, please, don't vote stupidly.

Today is a milestone for me; not only is this my first-ever Super Tuesday vote, it is my first primary vote ever. Having spent my first eight voting years in Louisiana, I was not eligible to vote in the state's closed primaries because I never registered for any party. Because Missouri does not register voters by party, however, I am free to choose any ballot I wish: Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. And while the prospect of splitting the GOP ballot with a vote for some long-gone candidate (or, even better, "Uncommitted") is tempting indeed, I will - as should others voting in open primaries - avoid such games and chalk one up for my chosen hopeful.

Typically, Super Tuesday is the time when people can vote most honestly, even if said choice is someone not likely to make it to the general election. This rings true for tomorrow's Republican race, where John McCain may (or may not) see any opposition from Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION. After Tuesday's tally, several GOP camps may very well call it quits.

This is definitely not the case for Democrats, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama continue to duel furiously and may not slide to home plate anytime soon. If Super Tuesday looks to be as decisive as the 1984 election for Republicans, the Democrats' side will likely resemble that magic month of teeth-grinding at the end of 2000. Of course, I'll be doing my part to advance this decision by casting my vote for Barack Obama.

I realize that this could be the only chance I get to vote for Obama. But I hope it isn't. I refuse to believe, as an increasing number of people and pundits are concluding, that this race will inevitably come down to Clinton vs. McCain. Says who? Do you mean to tell me that this once-in-a-lifetime, wide-open race can yield no better result than two of our most established, opportunistic politicians?

In past cycles, Clinton vs. McCain might have been an exciting (or, at worst, inevitable) race. That was before both of them rented their souls to the Bush machine - Hillary with her unapologetic support of the Iraq war, and McCain by inexplicably cozying up to the very man who destroyed his 2000 bid with the dirtiest tricks in Karl Rove's book. This time is supposed to be different, a time when every citizen who has spent their entire adulthood complaining about "the establishment" on both sides finally has an opportunity to infuse fresh blood. Let's not waste it, please?

Perhaps most surprising of all is that anyone is still pondering candidates who have been major political players in the past seven years. How can Barack Obama's relative lack of senatorial experience possibly work against him, when the "experienced" senators have wrought some of the worst legislation in American history? How can anyone seriously consider McCain as he lusts for war in Iran, using most of the same wrong arguments used for the Iraq invasion? How can anyone bypass Obama amid concerns that he can't unify Americans, opting instead to vote for one of the most divisive Democrats in recent memory, Hillary Clinton? Yes, she would bring one of our best presidents with her, Bill Clinton. But that's a double-edged sword probably not worth unsheathing.

Barack Obama is a candidate for all the right reasons (if you lean GOP, much of these traits could also be said about Huckabee or PAUL). As an orator, he inspires his followers. Though he is far from perfect and plays the political game as all candidates must, there is an earnestness about him that resonates with myself and millions of other Americans. His life story is one of diversity, adversity, travel and fighting for the common man. He has openly admitted his mistakes in life ("I thought that was the point," he said of inhaling pot) and used them to his advantage. His idea of "change" is not about replacing one side with another, but about recreating an America of which those of all persuasions can be proud. His positions on defense, religion, health care and other substantial issues are progressive, without being reactionary or overly calculative.

Also telling is the right wing's reaction to Obama - the best they can do is circulate smear e-mails about how he is a closet smoker and a terrorist, and that (horrors!) his middle name is Hussein. I discredited the terrorist ties in two seconds. Even the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth propaganda took some effort to debunk.

But all of the above aside, the main reason I like Obama is because he is not inevitable. I am not supporting him - as I admit to doing with others in the past - because I think he has the best shot at winning; I do so because Obama represents the future, and the future can't come fast enough. (And no, Barack Obama did not approve this message. Which is precisely why you should heed it.)

Those of you reading this may think otherwise. You may think, as many do, that I am being overly naive and idealistic. Divorced from reality, as usual. That the system is stacked and I'm on the wrong side of it. That I should just accept the reality that Clinton and McCain are going to duel it out, because that's just the way it is, and that change will come only when it's damn well ready.

All I can say to the naysayers is this: My naive, idealistic self is heading to the polls today. Are you?

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)


Shimmy said...

Karl Rove sings like a locust and chews his matted hair. Breezes through harrowing suburbs until his cheeks cave in.

pudding-monkey said...

I'm not 100% sure who I want to be the Democratic presidential candidate, of the two most likely. But I'm pretty excited to find who it will be, and I'm not even American!

Ragin-Cajun said...

Hey bud. It's been a while and I see you've moved. If Louisiana participated in Super Tuesday (better known as Mardi Gras this year), Jim Beam would win hands down (receiving both votes cast, statewide)!

gg said...

I've never been able to vote in a Super Tuesday. I actually feel like my vote counts this time.

When you live in a state that is overwhelmingly one party, and you're in the other, you vote really doesn't count. The same is true when it's already down to two candidates when your primary comes around. That's what I'm used to. It's nice to cast a vote that means something.

Given that Obama narrowly beat Clinton in Missouri, you vote counted. Congratulations.

Nick said...

Actually, Jim Beam (from Lake Charles) is my favorite Louisiana columnist.