Last night, I was thrilled when my sister asked me questions about Barack Obama.  Sars has always been apathetic when it comes to politics, except for the time when she stole a Kucinich sign and put it up in her room because it made her laugh.  But now she’s interested.

As for me, I am completely obsessed with and consumed by Election 2008.

Every morning when I wake up, even before my thoughts are coherent, I immediately start thinking about the election.  Lately, my first thought in the morning has been John McCain.  It used to be Kucinich.  I’ve dreamed of being Romney’s secret girlfriend and of being interrogated by Hillary.  (Literally dreamed — not wished.)

There is so much that I want to write about this election, and I could never fill this blog with all my thoughts, even if I wrote for hours every day.

For this entry, I will describe why I am voting for Obama.

As Senator Clinton said last year during one of the debates, “The differences between us are minor.  The differences between us and the Republicans are major.”  She’s right.  And in this election, I would have supported the Democratic nominee, whether it would have been Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Richardson or even Kucinich (not that crazy crackpot Gravel).

Democrats want to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, combat climate change, improve our educational system, support LGBT rights.  That’s what I believe in.  They will also appoint Supreme Court judges who will not attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Obama and Clinton are very similar, but there are areas in which I think that Obama would do better.  Here are just a few of them:

  • After going back and forth between him and Clinton, I think that he has the best and most realistic plan for healthcare.  We need to make it affordable and available to all, regardless of pre-existing conditions, before we can have it successfully mandated for all. 
  • He has always opposed the war in Iraq, and he didn’t allow the Bush Administration’s fearmongering to sway him.
  • His relative newness to Washington means that, in a nutshell, he owes fewer favors to fewer people and will be able to start his presidency without being forced into what Washington leaders think he should be.  It’s the closest thing to a clean slate that we can have.

The most important concern me in this election, however, is electing a leader who can repair our frayed relations around the world.

Obama has said that he is open to dialogue with the leaders of Cuba, Iran and other countries.  I think that this is essential, and not just because I’m dying to visit Cuba.

The Bush Administration’s policy of not talking to anyone they don’t like has given us absolutely no positive results, and it has further strained our relations with Iran.  Obviously, Iran will not be becoming an ally anytime soon, but exchanging a civil dialogue

Do people out there honestly believe that refusing to speak to certain countries will IMPROVE their relations with us?  Will that make them suddenly turn nice?  You’ve got to be kidding me.

At this time, China is emerging as a new superpower, and we can’t afford to be stagnant.  We need to be proactive and communicate with these nations.  Does this mean that we are ignoring threats of terror?  Absolutely not.  It also doesn’t mean that we will be negotiating with terrorists.  It is imperative to have a dialogue with all countries.

Obama’s background is an incredible asset as well — his living abroad has given him a perspective that has been sorely, sorely, sorely missing in the Bush Administration.  He would never have assumed that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms.  He would have known that Iraq, with its three warring ethnic groups, would not be prepared to come together to run a government.

Obama is hypnotizingly dualistic: he has experienced life as black and white, rich and poor, ignored and prominent, destined for success and destined for failure.

For those who say that Obama is too inexperienced, it’s important to note that no presidential candidate is an expert on everything, no matter what he or she says.  This is why presidents surround themselves with experts.  I’d love to see Wesley Clark (whom I initially supported in the last election) as Secretary of Defense, John Edwards in a new Cabinet role focusing on poverty, and if only Joe Biden hadn’t already refused to consider Secretary of State!  He would have been perfect!

What we need is a strong leader at the helm — a president who became president based on his merit, his intelligence, his character, his hard work, his higher calling.  Barack Obama is that leader, and his time is now.

And he inspires me.