Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Proud to be an American

what's playing: "Yeah (Crass Version)" by LCD Soundsystem

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time writing letters and contacting friends and family in Indiana to make sure they were getting out to vote for Barack Obama. I've been more interested, excited and involved in this race than just about anything else that's happening right now. Crazy. At the moment, politics is more exciting than movies (though I can't WAIT for The Dark Knight --c'mon, c'mon, c'mon July 18th!).

It was a tight race in Indiana, and even though Obama lost by a narrow margin, most of the news outlets this morning were leading with some variation of Tim Russert's quote: “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it.” (New York Times via MSNBC)

That made me happy. But something that made me even happier was all the responses I got from friends and family from the MidWest regarding what was going on. One mother of two wrote:
As I listened to Michelle Obama speak about her husband, her role, her family and their convictions I was truy moved that people of this caliber would seek the office of President. I'm inspired by Obama. I've been involved in getting word out to vote here in Anderson. [. . .] I'm praying tonight for this vote. I look at my two daughters and know that I must do something to change the way things are. I'm voting for my daughters tomorrow! I'll be at the poles first thing in the morning.
Another Clinton fan wrote to let me know that while she hadn't changed her mind, she would take the time to take another look at what Obama was all about. When was the last time people were actually "taking a look" instead of just heading to the poles armed with sound bytes and general ideas? I love it.

Someone very close to me wrote and let me know:
My dad (usually a strong Republican) and my mom (usually a split ballot) both voted for Obama today. Both said they were "tired of the Republicans", and feel Obama is the first candidate in a long time they believe in! So exciting that he is crossing generational and political gaps!!
If you knew the dad, you would better know the miracle of Barack Obama. I love that even in Indiana, older, white Republicans are voting Barack because of hope for a better future.

SUCK IT, McCAIN!!! [smile]

But I think the MVP e-mail response goes to my good friend Mike Jenkins.

Before I get to his e-mail, I want to say, the reason that I want Barack Obama for President is that I sincerely believe he will do more to make this country a better place than any President in my life time. But Mike reminds me of how lucky are we to live in this country in the first place. I usually kind of cringe when I see the "Proud to Be an American" slogan plastered everywhere, but I do feel that sentiment immensely (all the time), I just think the language needs to be rearranged a little, maybe something like: "I Appreciate My American Privilege," because man do I appreciate the fact that I was born into the privilege and ease of living in this great place. And I soooo appreciate those who have made it possible, though in the future, I think we need to be a little more careful and thoughtful about disregarding the rights of the people we ignore and quash in the process (again, this is why I believe Obama will be such a fantastic President).

Without further ado, the words of Mike:

Final thoughts from Indiana-

The way I see it is that Obama is my candidate of choice, but if Hillary gets the nod from the Party, then she becomes my candidate. It was inspiring to see how many people actually gave a crud enough to came out and vote. That was very refreshing.

I was very moved yesterday when I revisited my voting experience in my mind. Many ancestors ago, our countrymen (and women) had the collective forethought to say that elections free from persecution and intimidation were worth dying for. Many lost loved ones forever so that I may stroll in with Starbucks in hand, joke with the volunteers and press a few buttons. There is an ironic yet comforting beauty in how such a complex and historic concept that people sacrificed their existence for has filtered through later generations’ technology to the ultimate in simplification of pushing a button. Merely pushing a button can have national impact. Other than being a role model for my kids, I don’t know if I have any other opportunities to have that kind of an impact during my time here. When I walked in the building and there were no army people. No guns, no extremist conservatives in disgusting togas and grizzly beards threatening me, no machete wielding warlords, no sinking feeling that my vote does not matter since the elections will be corrupted anyway. True, no elections are fool proof, but we have the best model to date.

I was moved… I walked in unencumbered and unafraid and FREELY exercised my granted right as a citizen to influence my community/my nation with my thoughts on how we should structure a government whose influence will be felt by my children for the next 4+ years. Obama won Hamilton County which is where I live and helped him gather 61% of the vote. I am forever blessed to be born into this. I love our country and remain unabashedly optimistic in our chances this year.

I Appreciate My American Privilege


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