This election cycle has been both dispiriting and inspiring. Dispiriting for the negative tone of the McCain campaign, along with the rumors and innuendo and lies and outright racism on the part of many ignorant conservatives. Inspiring for the support of Obama's uplifting message of hope and populist redemption, along with a long-needed support of the middle class.
I started this campaign with much respect for McCain, who even if he didn't align with me on all the issues, at least seemed to have an independent integrity. I've lost all that respect for McCain since then, due to his opportunistic flip-flopping on key issues, embrace of the nut-wing social conservative right, selection of the extremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate, and overall willingness to do practically anything to get elected. It's one thing to have the ambition, another to pursue that ambition in an honorable manner. The John McCain of the 2008 campaign is not an honorable man.
Then there's Palin. What was going through his mind (or his advisers' minds) with that selection? At first blush, the woman seemed like another petty small-town politician, not too far removed from the mayor of Burnsville, Minnesota, my new home town. (For whom I will not be voting next week.) But Palin's a petty small-town politician with big ambitions -- and the ability to fire up a crowd of ignorant, small-minded racist trash. She's like the cheerleader from hell, no ideas of her own beyond advancing to the next level, by whatever means necessary. It's kind of like George Bush in a skirt, but amped up a couple of levels. I would fear for our nation if she were in any position of power.
The hero of this campaign is Barack Obama. His is an inspiring story, a rags to riches climb from impoverished childhood with a single mother to editor of the Harvard Law Review to United States Senator and hopefully to President. He didn't come from a four-star military background or an Ivy League family; like his equally inspiring running mate, Obama is one of us who made good. It really pisses me off when the blathering right tries to paint him as an elitist; he's really the culmination of the American dream.
That he's done all he's done is even more remarkable when you consider his race and his name. A black man has to work twice as hard in America to achieve any level of success; having a Muslim-sounding name certainly didn't help, either. But Obama overcame all his disadvantages and is now poised to claim the highest office in the land. Remarkable.
That's assuming that he actually wins on Tuesday. The polls all say he will, but there's still a lot that can go wrong -- from a racist backlash to the Republicans outright stealing the thing via election fraud, suppressed votes, and easily tampered-with electronic voting machines. It's not over till it's over, which is why all Obama supporters must keep up their efforts until every last vote is counted.
And here's one more thing I like about Obama: He's made it cool to be smart. With the Republicans pandering to those with little education and even less ambition, and society seemingly being prejudiced against smart people, Obama's education and intelligence is a shining light. We need to admire and reward intelligence, the way other countries do, instead of celebrating ignorance and lack of accomplishment. Here's hoping that Obama can lead by example and make our country just a little bit smarter.
So make sure you get off your ass and get out and vote on November 4th. My vote will go to Obama and Biden, and I hope yours will too; I earnestly believe that they represent the voice of change this country dearly needs.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.