Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack Obama For President: An Endorsement, For Your Consideration

I've always believed that anyone with an opinion and a platform should make themselves heard. Through the last few years here at Bazookaluca, I've certainly expressed opinions on anything and everything, from the trivial (An Open Letter To Ethnic Food Marketers) to the ultra-trivial (Musings On Anti Monkey Butt Powder), while never masking or diluting the nuggets of truth that I often find in the absurd.

And while the current presidential campaign season (all 22 months of it!) has been rife with absurd moments, the culmination of it will certainly be anything but trivial. And it is because of this circumstantial gravity that I want to take advantage of my platform to endorse Barack Obama for president in 2008.

Through his lengthy campaign, Obama has proved to be the steady, calm voice of reason while often faced with unreasonable accusations, never straying from his message or compromising his integrity. He's been a study in complexity, caution and calculation, all critical traits for a world leader.

Perhaps what's impressed me the most about Obama is that, despite the focus on his message of hope and reform, he is no idealist, he is pragmatic and empirical in his approach. From his time as Illinois Senator to executing his unprecedented presidential campaign with meticulous professionalism, he has always tempered a progressive agenda with a cold dash of realism and sober judgement-- the antithesis of the Rovian Bush years which were (and still are) entirely defined by empty, dogmatic rhetoric with no redeeming value or concrete results.

Obama has shown his strength of will, character and intellect consistently throughout this campaign.

By contrast, John McCain has proved erratic and out of touch; his campaign plagued by knee-jerk decisions and inconsistent, contradictory messages-- perhaps best exemplified by his puzzling vice presidential choice of Sara Palin, whose nomination is a slap to the face of reasonable and rational people everywhere.

Furthermore, his approach over the last month of the campaign is best described as a systematic organization of hatreds, honing in on politics of fear, division and character assassination which are not only the lowest form of political discourse, but also dramatically polarize the electorate, which in turn, makes subsequent governing nearly impossible.

This is perhaps Obama's biggest challenge, and one that, luckily, he's best suited to tackle. After all, at the end of a long, bitter campaign which pitted him first against the previously unbeaten Clintons and then the equally invincible Karl Rove protégé, Steve Schmidt, Obama has emerged with the highest pre-election favorability rating of any candidate, ever (62%). A figure that, I suspect, will win him the White House and give him a clear mandate to reform from the voters.

This speaks volumes, not only to the utter failure of the Bush presidency and the conservative agenda whose irresponsible policies have left this country in the worst condition since the Great Depression, but also to Obama's ability to transcend old political smear tactics that pit people against one another and still stay true to communicating his vision of the American dream-- one that includes and serves and benefits every American.

A true candidate for the 21st Century and for those of us who still think we can do better.

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