I got an unexpected invitation to a Barack Obama fundraiser on Sunday. It was a couple thousand people, sweating like crazy and straining to hear through the suffering sound system, packed SRO in a classic, old theater in downtown Denver. It was a refreshingly diverse crowd and the whole thing had a very grassroots feel. Unfortunately, after the local color guard band got us all whooped up with anticipation, the star was tardy, and it was so hot with all of us crammed in there that one woman fainted in front of me. But enough with the non-essentials.
I’ll spare you the highlights of the speech because you and I both know that what politicians say before they are elected means very little in the long run. Here’s what I like about his history: he is from a multiracial family, he has been a civil rights activist, he has a record in his state of effectively reaching out to folks outside his demographic and getting both sides of the aisle to play together, he is open about the role drugs have played in his life, and his process around his religious choices show that he can think independently and has found a way for religion to coexist with critical thinking. He is campaigning on hope and empowerment of people rather than scaring people into empowering a fascist, elite cabal. This country is in dire need of what he offers and he has the charisma to pull us along with him into revivification of the kind of values and behavior that makes us proud to be American. The short of it is that I like the guy and feel like I could trust him.
I haven’t made up my mind yet who I will vote for in February. But that’s because we’ve just got some damned good choices this time and don’t have to limit ourselves to who we think the right-leaning independents would put up with. (As an aside, my main hesitation about Clinton is that, if elected, we’d have 20+ years of dynasties and that’s not what I want our country to become. That said, she deserves a look because she isn’t a puppet on a string. What would be equally exciting is if we actually could elect someone, like Edwards, who doesn’t stay so quiet on controversial issues and openly admits he would tax the rich.) If there’s any silver lining to the last 6 years, it’s that the country is ready to elect someone who can restore American values (not just rich guy, lobbyist values) and it’s so damned urgent to do so that the person’s age, race, or sex is pretty irrelevant.
The next two years should be pretty exciting.