01 October 2008

 

Remembering Why

I made my choice to support Senator Obama in this election a little less than a year ago. The blog post about that choice is here.

Most of my thinking then, ignorning what comes across as just plain silly towards the end, still holds. Two key ideas, I believe, remain important today: Building a winning and governing constituency, and bringing to the conversation even those you disagree with.
[A]t least he is building a constituency. The very nature of his candidacy is of being for something, and should he win the Presidency, he will have built a pool of good will and political capital on which to draw....
It was probably inevitable that the perception on building something more than a 50.1% majority would fall to the wayside after the major parties picked their nominees: the inability to influence the media to a sufficient extent to what is something other than either Bush/Clinton squeak-by or McCain man-bites-dog, but also because of having to put together enough electoral votes to win and not having infinite resources to pursue a true fifty-state strategy. But the appeal to our better but not clueless natures is a component of Senator Obama's approach. It's not naivete to argue we actually can do better, both at home and abroad.
Obama brings the quality of actually listening to others, of encouraging the participation of those you thoughtfully disagree with (see Donnie McClurkin), of listening to those you thoughtfully disagree with. I'm sure some of my colleagues on the LGBT-side of the universe will have a difficult time accepting that you have to treat those who don't treat you like a human being like a human being, that you have to listen if you expect to be listened to, but everything in my heart tells me that Obama is right about this.
The other aspect of actually listening to people you disagree with is something that almost seem foreign to the political culture in Washington and in the punditocracy. The claim, bought into by Senator McCain, that having a conversation with foreign leaders we disagree with legitimizes their, admittedly sometimes awful, positions is a bunch of bunk. That the same approach is practiced on the wide-but-small scale to such a degree that all too often we turn those we disagree with into outright enemies in our minds isn't the approach we need to build a better world.
Not just a place at the table, but a table at which all are truly welcome, even those you disagree with.
Early voting is already beginning, otherwise I'd wait until the night before Election Day to make this post. But in the remote event you're still thinking about voting for Senator McCain, please reconsider. I think our collective best interests are served by electing Senator Obama.

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