This Year’s Election

Hope Leaf

Ever since the general election in 2004, I became much more interested in politics, as I imagine being the case for many young Americans.  It was interesting to see the ideologies of my friends and co-workers clashing as election day drew closer.  As an independent, with a mix of both conservative and liberal views, I was looking at the election as an important job interview for the highest office in the land, not a culture war, and while neither candidate was an ideal choice for the role, I did feel we were putting the wrong guy in the post.

Flash forward four years and while the Bush administration has proven to be as incompetent as many believed, I do look back at that election and believe that America made the right decision.  This is something a lot of my friends give me grief about, asking me how I could possibly believe this to be true.  My stance now is that you should make decisions based on what you believe, not to make fear-based decisions in a reactionary manner.  In 2004, a vote for the Democrat was more a vote against Bush than a vote for Kerry, and I would posit that most people who voted for Bush were voting for him and what he believed in, rather than against what the other side was about.  Consider that the mistakes made during Bush’s first term were nearly irreversible, and should Kerry have been president, his administration would have taken the fall.  Being a reactionary administration (as his campaign showed themselves to be, and as the Democratic congress has also proven to be), they likely would have flailed, suggesting results that would be as bad as they are now, or worse.  The mistake wasn’t made in 2004.  It happened in 2000, when people weren’t paying attention.

Before Barack Obama decided to run for the presidency, I had read his books, or rather listened to his audio books, listened to his speeches and interviews, and for the first time in my life I remember thinking “this man should be president some day.”  He really piqued my curiosity, so I started tracking his activities and quietly hoped he would announce he was running.  At the time, I remember thinking if he ran he would win, but I was a little torn because Hillary Clinton seemed a good choice too.  During the primary, his decision to run proved to be a wiser choice than I first gave him credit for.  Research on politics over the last two decades will show that it was with the Clinton administration and their campaign strategies where the manufactured personality and culture war style politics were really kicked into high gear.  Essentially, if JFK were The Beatles, then the Clintons were The Backstreet Boys (not saying their music is bad, it’s good, but very studied and manufactured), and it began distracting the voters in a way that governance became secondary to whether or not the voter could identify with the candidate, which has led us to where we are now.  It is this awareness for how things play out in the long term that makes Barack Obama a significant leader.

In November, I will proudly be voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden because I believe in them, and not because I hate or am afraid of the other side.  I will be casting my vote because I believe they are fully qualified to make good decisions based on faith and solid intelligence and not out of fear.  Any time I have had even a shred of doubt about the Obama campaign’s decision-making, he and his campaign have proven the wisdom of their judgment.  I am confident that not only will the Obama and Biden administration be among the greatest in the history of this country, but that they will inspire many younger people to eventually step up and help take their place.  This year, like 2004, I implore people to vote for a candidate out of faith, and not against them out of fear.  Just as they did in 2004, I do believe that Americans will make the right choice for their country and for their children’s future.

The painting above was done for an Obama fundraiser taking place tomorrow.  It seems to be invite-only, but if you would like to purchase it in exchange for a sizable Obama campaign contribution, please send me an email at kazu (at) and I will forward it to the event organizer.  You will likely be entering an auction.  I have given several hundred dollars to the campaign so far, and I encourage folks to help the campaign push through these last few weeks so we can begin getting things back on track.

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