Sunday, February 03, 2008

'Til Tuesday

Chances are your state has a primary on Tuesday, and you're eligible to vote in it. You may also be trying to make a difficult choice that I've considered carefully, so I thought I'd take a minute to explain how I'm voting and why.

I've voted in primaries since I was first able to do so, after a childhood and adolescence marked by many civil-rights and anti-war marches. I was, briefly, a poli-sci major; have held paying political jobs; and have worked on and donated to dozens of local, state and national campaigns. Yet I've never been profoundly excited about a candidate for national office – until now.

I always hoped to have a female president in my lifetime, and Hillary Clinton is smart, resourceful and highly capable. She's done a great job for New York State, and I'll be glad to support her in November if she's the Democratic candidate. But I won't be voting for her on Tuesday.

These are terrible times for the U.S. and the world. Our country is involved in a disastrous war in which nearly 4000 Americans and more than 80,000 Iraqis have died, we're in a deepening economic freefall, and our planet is suffering from our callous indifference to climate change. Nearly eight years of our current greedy, arrogant and foolish administration have brought us to this point. Most Americans agree that it's time for a significant change, and for a president we can believe in and the world can respect.

I believe that Barack Obama can be that president. His intelligence and glamour are obvious, but I also respond to the deeply held moral convictions that set him against the Iraq war from the beginning; his support for the rights of women, gays and immigrants; and his call for a new kind of inclusive politics and governance. Some have opined that he doesn't have sufficient experience, but he's actually held elective office longer than his primary opponent. His rare charisma comes from a fundamental belief in the power of hope, and we need some of that hope right now.

In the past, I've often wound up voting for the lesser of two evils. Tuesday, I'll be submitting my ballot with ebullience.

I hope my thinking has been helpful to you. (If your option is in a Republican primary, I'm sorry.) Whatever your choice, please be sure to make it – voting is not just a privilege, it's a responsibility.

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