I had always watched CNN with my mom, but I got really into politics during the 2000 election. We lived in Florida. I was seventeen. I'm still upset that I wasn't able to vote for Gore. In 2004, I went to a number of rallies for Kerry and Edwards and talked to everyone I knew about why I was voting for Kerry and they should, too. I attended a few meetings with the League of Women Voters. During one of these meetings I may have told the woman sitting next to me that the educational system in the state of Florida needed a massive overhaul. She agreed with me. I later learned that this woman, Yvanne Scarlet-Golden, was the mayor of Daytona Beach.
Think about that for a second. Some kid from New Jersey, raised by a single mother in Florida, who found her way to Chicago, got to sit next to the mayor of Daytona Beach and tell her exactly how she felt about the issue that mattered most to her. This, my friends, is what politics is all about.
It's about telling truth to power.
Thinking about that now-that some kid from New Jersey who grew up in Florida (and wound up in Chicago) got to sit next to the mayor and tell her exactly how I felt about the issue that matters most to me, reminds me of what politics should be. We should tell truth to power. We should tell our leaders what's wrong with our country, what's wrong with our community, and what we are personally willing and able to do to try and fix it. I believe very strongly in a woman's right to choose. I've wanted to see an end to the war before it even started. I believe everybody should be able to go to college. I believe in free health care to those who need it. I believe my grandparents should be able to live out their own lives in their own home instead of having to live with my mother because they can't afford their mortgage payments on a social security check. I believe everybody should be able to choose their own doctors. I've been unemployed for almost a year because of the job market. I've got bills to pay. Everybody does. That's why I want to be involved in this campaign. I do it for my gay friends who want equal rights for themselves and their partners, just like I do. I do it for my women friends who may someday need access to an abortion. I do it for my grandparents who have remained independent well into their 70s and want to stay that way. I do it because I don't want to ever have to bury my little brother, who is of military age. I want to help build a better world for the children I want to have someday. I don't care how hippie-dippie that sounds, it's true.
For every election cycle I've been privy to, I've heard the same thing: "We can do better, we deserve better, our children deserve better, and we will do better."
But I don't see or hear things getting better.
I know we have the resources to make universal health care possible for everybody.
I don't think I could ever get an abortion unless I was raped, but if a girlfriend needed to be driven to a clinic, I would do it. I would march on Washington for her rights, for my rights, for every woman's rights.
Marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Yes, Marriage. Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships are a step in the right direction, but are not by any means the same thing as Marriage. Phillis and Del, the first couple who married in San Francisco, had been together for fifty years on their wedding day. Del Martin died this past week. Think of what happened in those fifty years. The Civil Rights movement. The GLBT movement. Stonewall. The Women's Rights movement. These two saw it all and stayed together, no matter how the government tried to define their relationship. I'm sorry, but if even the government can't keep two people apart who truly love each other, that's not an abomination unto God. That's love, pure and simple.
I can't in good conscience vote for a man who would define marriage, define love, as between one man and one woman.
I can't in good conscience vote for a man who wants to tell me, tell the people I love, what we can and can't do with our own body.
I can't in good conscience vote for a man who agrees with Bush's economic plan that has worked out oh so well the last eight years.
Now, Obama and I disagree on a lot of things. I don't think he's the answer we're all looking for and I don't think he's a quick fix. I think it's going to take a lot of time, energy, and dedication on the part of everybody. You can't just blame the president, the government, or anyone else. But I think he's the best chance we've got to begin undoing the horrible damage the Bush Administration has done to our country, not to mention our reputation with the rest of the world.
I took a political quiz at www.selectsmart.com to see who in the 2008 race most closely matched my ideals. I got Kucinich at 91%. Surprised? Not really.
I believe a Green Party candidate and a Socialist candidate were third and fourth. Obama was fifth. Stephen Colbert, closeted pinko-liberal he is, was dead last, as he plays a neo-conservative on his show and he can't seem to give a serious answer to anything.
But I'm still voting for Obama. And you should, too.