Why I am voting for Barack Obama

In private conversations I have had with various friends I have stated my reasons for supporting Senator Barack Obama in our current Presidential campaign.  What I haven’t done is put down my reasons for supporting this candidacy.  As this is, I feel, an important election given where we are at, I’ve decided to put down my reasons for supporting Barack Obama.

Abortion
This is an issue that is deeply felt by people on both sides. I have listened to both sides, tried to study and often find myself, in the end, saddened by the whole discussion. I have watched Republican candidates, from the local level, all the way up to the Presidential level, use this issue to their advantage. They’ve talked like real pro-lifers and yet, when you look at the level of action, you’d be hard pressed to see any concrete results. As I’ve looked at McCain’s position on this incredibly controversial topic, I do not feel that this is an issue he truly cares about…outside of soundbites. His position has wavered, including, and up to his selection of VP choices. The top two candidates being vetted for this position were both pro-choice [Ridge and Lieberman]. While he did go with a candidate with strong pro-choice credentials, it seemed like he did it for reasons other than her position on abortion. Barack Obama truly holds a very liberal position on this topic. At the same time, he has talked consistently about working to reduce the number of abortions in this country. I’d rather see something done than an “all-or-nothing” policy which is what many on the pro-life side of the aisle seem to want. Obama talks about working to reduce poverty, which, is one of the primary factors in abortions today. He talks about offering viable alternatives to abortions. He talks about offering something other than “abstinence-only” education. How does that translate to real life? During the Clinton years with some of the same emphasis on poverty, education, alternatives, we saw the number of abortions go down. They have risen during the Bush years when there has been a lack of focus on reducing poverty and education that was too narrowly focused. Attempting to legislate this issue has been an abject failure. Working together though, we can reduce abortions in this country by addressing poverty, offering education that is all-encompassing and by offering viable alternatives to those who find themselves in a situation that they do not want to be in.

Economy
I have watched both candidates as we have witnessed this global economic meltdown occur. One has shown a cool, steady-handed approach, the other has “flailed” around with differing messages on different days. I have looked at both tax plans, I have listened to the “experts” and in the end came back to the one person I truly do listen to when it comes to financial advice. Warren Buffett, with a net worth of $50 Billion is at the top of the list when it comes to the acquisition of wealth. Despite that, he is a frugal man. I admire him a great deal, and I listen to what he has to say. When I hear him say that it isn’t fair for his secretary to pay more in taxes than he does, that rings true to me. We hear a lot of red-herring talk right now about socialism, marxism, communism especially as it relates to Obama and his tax plan. Except when you actually look at the plans, you find that not to be the case at all. I don’t make $250K per year. Heck, I won’t hit six figures this year. But, even if I did, I too would find it extremely unfair to find myself paying less taxes than my assistant. My layman’s review of these tax plans, coupled with Warren Buffett’s endorsement of Obama’s plan, makes this a very easy call for me.

Wars
Currently we are facing two wars. One I supported. One I did not. After the awfulness that was September 11th, I joined with all Americans in our support of the decision to hunt down, and bring to justice, the man who perpetrated this evil on us. I supported our decision to invade Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s support, comfort and aid to Osama bin Laden. Then came the drum beat from the current Administration regarding Iraq. It didn’t feel right. I listened with my gut clenched and in the end, despite what one of my heroes, Colin Powell, said, I could not support the decision. Since then I have been vindicated in my belief that we the American people were railroaded in a war carried on the back of misstatements and, in some cases, flat out lies. We have lost valuable American lives in a fight for one man’s reputation…George W. Bush. I find that scandalizing. Saddam Hussein was not a good man, but we had other, much more serious problems to contend with. Despite this talk of “victory”, it has become an elusive word that is not defined by those who use it. What is victory? Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said –

The notion of winning in Iraq is a failed way of thinking. If we frame this as win or lose, we’ll be there forever.

McCain’s strategy seems to be “more military” without much thought given to diplomatic endeavors. We’ve seen this “maverick” instinct for the last 8 years leave our reputation, even with our Allies, in total disarray. As the World Leader, we cannot lead by force alone. It doesn’t work that way. We must lead by example and, when the world sees, poorly thought out and poorly managed occupations of another sovereign country, we diminish our ability to lead.

Afghanistan needs our attention desperately. We diverted resources, funds, etc. from the original and true fight. We’ve seen those results lately with a resurrgence of the Taliban and with violence at levels almost unseen since our invasion. According to Hagel, to –

…confront the problems in Afghanistan requires an understanding of its internal politics, its narcotics trade, and its endemic corruption, as well as a regional diplomatic approach, involving Pakistan, India, and Iran. McCain thinks we just need more military.

I believe that Obama is better able to disentangle us from the debacle that is Iraq; hopefully salvaging our reputation and at least a fledgling peace. I also believe that Obama better understands what is needed in Afghanistan and, despite McCain’s promises to get bin Laden if he becomes President (what, he needs the title before he can or will do it?), will bring a lasting peace in the region. I also believe he will increase our role in tracking and bringing to justice bin Laden.

Tone
McCain promised earlier this year that he would run an honorable campaign. I believed him. I remember what he went through in the South Carolina primary when Bush’s campaign pulled some real “dirty tricks.” Then McCain hired some of the same people. Since then he’s run a race that is typical when it comes to politics. It’s not that it’s the “nastiest” but it’s just typical. I’ve grown tired of typical politics! At the DNC in 2004, a young man gave a speech in which he said –

We are not a red state America or a blue state American, we are the United States of America!

I knew then I had found someone who shared my beliefs that divided we fall. Doesn’t mean we have to be in lock-step agreement. It does mean that we are all Americans. This notion that some of us are somehow less patriotic because we didn’t support the war in Iraq hit me with full force during the lead up to the war. I was denounced as un-patriotic, an embarrassment and un-American. I am none of those things. In Obama I saw a man who said, despite our differences, we are all Americans and we should treat each other with respect. Even in our current campaign, I have witnessed Obama often taking the high road. He hasn’t slandered McCain. He hasn’t tried to tie him to silliness like “socialism” or take our eyes off the ball. He has been consistent. And he’s been tough!

In Obama I see a pattern of respectfully listening to all sides. To allowing everyone a seat at the table. There isn’t impetuousness, but real, thoughtful, debate that includes everyone. I read an interview with one of the conservative members of the Harvard Law Review who said that even though Obama was considered “liberal” he treated them fairly and with respect and listened to what they had to say. I believe that has always been his modus operondi and I expect it to continue should he be elected to the White House. To me, this counts for a lot given the past 16 years of partisan attacks.

Peripheral
Leadership in our time requires a steady hand. Requires someone who rises above the petty. Requires someone who is intelligent. Barack Obama has faced two years of constant, merciless attacks. He has shown grace and poise. He has shown strength. He has shown that he is a smart guy. I, quite frankly, don’t want to vote for a guy who was lack-luster in school and who didn’t consider his or her studies to be the most important thing they had going at the time. I am not particularly interested in voting for the guy or gal that I would like to sit and have a beer with. Being the leader of the free world requires someone who is not a dunderhead. While I don’t believe McCain is that, I do believe that Obama has an intellectual curiosity that will serve him well as Leader of the Free World. I believe that McCain’s decision to choose Gov. Palin was not well-thought-out. I believe it showed an attention to the short term and not the long term. Shortsightedness is what got us into some of the messes we currently face. I believe Gov. Palin to be an impressive person in her own right, but I don’t believe she’s ready to be President on “day one.” There was a political movement in the 1850’s called the Know Nothing movement that eventually formed into a political party (The American Party). Do we really want to “dumb” down politics? It seems that way to me when the topic becomes peripheral issues.

For those reasons, and probably more, I am voting for Barack Obama.

j.

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Categories: 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Why I am voting for Barack Obama

  1. WHY NO ONE SHOULD VOTE FOR OBAMA
    Written to convince my mother in law to not vote for Obama

    I. Moral Reasons

    It is no secret that I am a passionate, pro-life advocate. But regardless of what your views are on abortion, I bet they are not as radical as Obama’s. As I am sure you know, I am pro-life because I do not believe that it is a “women’s issue” – I believe it is a life and death issue, and choosing to end an innocent life – the life of someone that cannot speak for him/herself – is unfathomable to me. I am thankful you were pro-life when Alexis was born or she would not be in my life today. Imagine that.

    I further find it astonishing that when someone wants a baby, it’s a life. We have baby showers and buy little booties and paint the nursery – even when that baby is just a tiny image on a screen. But when the child is not wanted, or the pregnancy is unplanned, it’s a “blob” on an ultrasound or a “fetus,” but we don’t dare call it a baby.

    I also know that horrible things happen in this world – and I do not understate that. But it is a statistical fact that less than 1% of the 40,000,000 abortions performed have been to protect the life of the mother, or due to incest. Rather, 99% of abortions are done as a form of birth control. I am not attempting to explain away that those horrible things happen, but if I read my Bible and see that God creates life and knows that baby from the moment of conception – then how the conception occurred simply cannot determine whether or not that life is precious. And, while I do believe that all sins are redeemable by God – that doesn’t change that an innocent life has been taken. I would pray that a mother who has ended the life of a child finds her peace with God, and I believe that peace is possible. But the innocent life was still lost, and I can’t agree to a permission slip to continue committing the same offense over and over and over again.

    Further, those who disagree with me cite economic reasons for why abortion has to be legal – that we can’t take care of the babies that will be born. I cannot let secular, economic considerations change the truth in the Gospel. I can volunteer my time, be willing to adopt, educate on abstinence and birth control – but I will not let the current US economy dictate my belief in Scripture.

    Having said all of that, Obama goes so far as to say that this freedom of “choice” goes beyond what I, or even Roe v. Wade, ever imagined possible. Obama refused to vote for a law making it illegal to deny care to a baby who has survived a botched abortion. He believes that even if the baby could survive outside the womb, we should let it lay there unattended until it dies and then throw it in the trash, simply because the mother wanted the baby to be aborted. This is evil. A nurse at an abortion clinic testified before the senate in Illinois that when she worked in an abortion clinic, a baby survived a botched abortion, and the doctor threw the live baby in the trash. Under Illinois law, there was no protection for the baby born alive after a botched abortion (the law Obama could have voted for). The nurse instead dug the live baby out of the trash and rocked it in her arms until it died 45 minutes later. She testified to this, under oath, in front of her legislature. This should not happen in America. Obama listened to the testimony and was unmoved to change his view. So apparently it doesn’t affect him that a baby might lie in the trash and suffer alone until he/she finally dies. Obama also favors partial birth abortion, which is a procedure where the entire baby is born, except for the head. This procedure is performed up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and the baby is stabbed in the back of the skull with a pair if scissors to let the brain drain out. A dead baby is then delivered, with a collapsed skull. It’s hard to read that back and even believe it is real. What kind of a savage nation have we become? Chaffee, the issue of abortion alone should be reason enough to not vote for Obama.

    II. Economic Reasons

    Assuming that Section I may not have swayed you, there are many other reasons I cannot support Barack Obama. Obama, by his own words, is a socialist. The media gets so offended when we call a spade a spade – and they hate that we are calling him a socialist. Apparently it is perfectly permissible to refer to Sarah Palin as the “C” word – yes, I mean that one – without any outcry from the media. And apparently it’s okay to say that Sarah Palin is “one melanoma away from the presidency” because of John McCain’s age. And it’s okay for a Hollywood director to produce a movie about our CURRENT commander in chief, mocking his every move, and sell tickets. When did this happen? But it is not okay to call someone who says they want to “spread the wealth around” and take from those who have to give to those who do not a socialist. Perhaps the media should review the definition of socialism.

    Obama wants to spread Alexis’ and my hard earned money around – and the money of millions of other Americans – so that everyone can share in a piece of the pie. That is a beautiful story. Unfortunately, we are not Russia or France, and people don’t flee to America, from socialist countries all over the world, for that system. Last year, Alexis and I paid well over 1/3 of our income to the federal government. Obama wants to be the one to determine who gets what and who has too much and who should get more. This is scary to me. Who does Obama think he is to tell me when I have made too much money or who I should give my money to? He is going to try and take over the role of the church and individuals concerning helping the poor. You do not help the poor by stealing from one group of people and giving it to another group. It is a new form of welfare. Obama’s tax cuts will go to millions of people who do not pay taxes!??! His campaign keeps trying to correct that by saying that they will still pay payroll taxes. We aren’t talking about payroll taxes – we are talking about INCOME taxes. We have a duty to care for people, as stated in the Bible. And I promise you that Alexis and I do plenty of that – but we do it because our God commands it and because Scripture teaches it, not because our secular government tells us we have “too much.” Imagine a country where the incentive to achieve is taken away by the beautiful lie of equalization – which even socialism cannot achieve.

    Further, Obama wants to raise taxes on small businesses and any individual who makes over 250,000 a year. Today Biden said we should lower that to $150,000. Obama liked that idea, and is now saying $200,000. Maybe tomorrow it will be $50,000.

    Regardless, even if we assume his highest bracket, people who make $250,000 a year or more already pay close to 50% of their income in taxes. Does the word “outsourcing” mean anything to anyone? IMAGINE what will happen when the tax structure makes it harder for businesses to stay here. I didn’t think that could happen. A lot of small businesses will be hurt by Obama’s tax plan because $250,000 is not a lot when you factor in the cost of doing business and having to pay your employees, buy new equipment, and try to grow your business. I have never been employed by a poor man. Small businesses are the ONLY engine creating any new jobs. Corporations have toped out. Short of new industries and small businesses, we have no chance for growth. The government needs to let people keep their money to invest and do with it what they want. When the government gets involved too deeply in our private affairs, it always ends badly.

    Obama is also against offshore drilling and nuclear power. He prefers to remain dependent on foreign countries – countries that despise us and have already tried to kill us. It is not 1970 anymore. We know how to drill and utilize nuclear energy properly and safely, without hurting a soul – and every other civilized country in the world knows how to do it as well. He is cloaking his lack of knowledge of the energy issue in a “green” philosophy that is simply unsupportable.

    Finally, George Bush is no more responsible for the economy today than I am for what happened before me. The current president – whether he is Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan – lives with the sins of the father, so to speak – and is dealing, presently, with the economic policies that pre-dated him. The economy doesn’t respond on a dime – it takes YEARS. Ten years from now we will see if Bush’s policies were hurtful economically – but George Bush didn’t incent mortgage companies to lower their lending standards or homeowners to sell their souls or brokerage companies to lure people into homes. And George Bush didn’t raise gas prices so that we all had to cut back. And George Bush didn’t spend enough money in Congress to boggle the mind. You don’t have to have a love affair with Bush, but blaming the present on who is sitting in the big chair is a dramatic disposal of history. So when you vote on economics, don’t vote against the guy who is sitting in the chair. Vote for the guy who will sit in it, so that hopefully 10-15 years from now you can benefit from sound policy. Expecting more is unrealistic.

    III. Judgment Issues

    Obama sat in a church for the past 25 years under the Rev. Wright and listened to hate speech about how horrible America is and that the white man is the enemy and that America was responsible for 9/11. Rev. Wright states that the expression God Bless America should be revised to God Damn America. Obama says that although he went to that church for 25 years he was never present when these statements were made and that he had no idea until the media pointed it out that Rev. Wright was a racist. It is clear Obama is lying.

    Obama was and is still friendly with a terrorist by the name of William Ayers. Ayers was a leader in a radical anti-American underground movement to blow up American landmarks. Ayers bombed the Pentagon and other locations around America and said, as recently as 2001, that he has no regrets about his actions and wished he had done more bombings of his own country. Obama said he would not denounce his friend because Ayers had done these things a long time ago. Obama even held some political events in Ayers’ living room when he was announcing his candidacy for President. I prefer a President who kills terrorists, not one who pals around with them.

    Obama’s wife, Michelle, said she has never been proud of America – openly, during the primaries. Wow, America is the most generous country in the world and in no other country would she and her husband have the opportunity to run for the highest office in the world. We have come so far since the 1960’s and before – and while it is remarkable that a black man is a candidate for president, how tragic that some people will vote based on that. It is as irresponsible to vote for Obama because he is black as it is to vote against him for the same reason. But fundamentally, I am terrified of a first family that has said such frightening things about this country – the greatest country in the history of the world.

    Obama also has many other relationships with people of questionable character such as Louis Farrakhan. As you know, Farrakhan believes the white man is the devil and he hates Israel. Farrakhan has endorsed Obama, called him the “Messiah,” and also attended Wright’s church frequently. That should keep people up at night.

    The media keeps attacking conservatives for worrying about Obama’s friends. It’s apparently none of our business who he socializes with, or the type of company he keeps. But in our darkest days as a country, the number one factor that gives me solace about a candidate is his or her morals and judgment. And the evidence of Obama’s judgment is terrifying. Imagine another setting where someone could entertain such comrades without reproach. I am married to your daughter. Let’s say I start hanging out with radicals who bomb buildings, hate people because of their race, say dreadful things about spiritual issues that matter a great deal to you, etc. That would absolutely be your business. But it’s NOT our business who our potential future president bums around with? Absolutely absurd.

    So let’s talk foreign policy. Obama said he would sit down and meet, without pre-condition, with any world leader. He would sit down with any and all of our enemies, which in my mind gives them credibility. I think this shows his lack of experience in dealing with world issues. He will go to the UN for every judgment that must be made. That’s comforting. Obama also voted against the surge in Iraq, which has now been proven to work. There have been mistakes in Iraq, but how arrogant for the media to say that we have lost there. Apparently, they haven’t gone to Iraq to ask the question. They simply don’t like Bush, so the entire war is a failure. Unbelievable.

    Further, on nearly every vote that comes to the floor, Obama votes present instead of yes or no. He seems to be unable to commit to any issue with a yes or a no. He is in a continuous state of changing his mind, and as of today, we have NO idea what he stands for or believes in, except for the things above, which scare us. Interestingly, Obama was just recently, according to the New York Times, seen reading a book called “A Post America World”, which describes how much better off the world would be without America. I wouldn’t have believed this – I would have assumed it was right wing propaganda (which I usually like! ), but it was on the NEW YORK TIMES website. He could have answered that he was reading it to learn, or that he had been given the book, or a thousand other acceptable explanations for reading such a horrible treatise. But he didn’t. He dodged the question, avoided reporters, and again behaved as if he was hiding something. This, along with the fact that he refuses to release the records that all other candidates do – such as medical records, his birth certificate, college records, etc. – is a bit odd. I do not claim he is a terrorist. I have no idea what goes on in his mind. But I do know that I have seen behavior after behavior that make me unbelievably concerned about him being my commander in chief. I do not trust him, I do not trust his judgment, and I am appalled at the tidbits we do know.

    IV. Conclusion

    Obama continually cries out about change, change, change, but no one challenges him as to what that change will be – people are just so blindly excited that he is young and charismatic, and that Bush will soon be out, that they are caught up in what amounts to little more than celebrity mayhem. Perhaps the change he promises is what he’s already told us he’ll do – allow more babies to be aborted, America to be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, a new era of socialism, the allowance of infanticide, our first First Lady to openly admit her disgust with our country, questionable relationships with terrorists and known racists, out of control tax rates, and a general lack of vision or purpose for the country.

    These are the reasons I cannot vote for Obama and why I know you will make me proud and vote for morality. No, McCain is not perfect, but at least we know where he stands and he does not try to hide who he is or what his vision is for this country. We know he treasures life because of what the Bible says about it. We know we will be safe because he will have zero tolerance for the alternative. We know he respects our right to earn and care for those we feel called to care for. Despite what Obama and his wife say, such as the chorus they’ve become famous for – that “Christians are bitterly hanging on to their guns and religion,” I believe we are far better than that – I believe America is the greatest country ever and we need a leader who believes this as well.

    Mark, I understand your strong pro-life beliefs. I do not disagree with them. However, in my conversations with leaders in the pro-life movement, they say in private what they will not say in public. In private they say, the best that they can hope to happen is that Roe is overturned and sent back to the states. I was talking with my dad and he said that this would be the absolute worst possible outcome because then you have a hodge-podge of laws varying from state to state. Like I said, I would rather have someone who may be liberal on the issue (and you need to listen to his arguments as to why he voted the way he did, not just the way those votes are portrayed), and yet work diligently to reduce the number of voters than continue to be patted on the head like a child, given a piece of candy to refocus my attention and then get nothing further from them. — Jonathan

  2. Jonathan

    I don’t have time to get point by point, but there is at least one factual error I can correct in my limited time here…that being that Michelle Obama said she has never been proud of America (Your word’s actually were – “Michelle, said she has never been proud of America – openly,”). What Michelle actually said was –

    “For the first time in my adult like I’m really proud of America.”

    That’s totally different. The operative word there is “really.” I’ve been proud of my dad my whole life, but there was one point in my life, when he made an unpopular decision I was “really” proud of him. It carried extra weight for me. That’s exactly what Michelle was talking about and, to suggest that she’s never been proud of America because of the way you have twisted her words makes your argument, at least where it relates to Ms. Obama, disingenuous.

    .

  3. Mark Knapp

    Jonathan,

    I am excited that out of my entire list of reasons to not vote for Obama, the only thing you took issue with was a comment I made about his wife. Go McCain!!!!

  4. Mark Knapp

    Jonathan, concerning you theory on abortion: It is fine with me if it is turned over to the states. There would be at least 25 states where abortion would instantly become illegal and these mothers would have to pay for the crime of murdering their own children in the name of convenience. Again, abortion is evil. Period!! There is no debate in my mind as to why millions of women have sex and are dumbfounded when they end up pregnant and run to the nearest abortion clinic for a relief of their responsibilty. I don’t care why women justify murdering their babies anymore than I care why anyone tries to justify murdering anyone. It is wrong and these “mothers” should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as well as the abortion “doctors”. I am not a bleeding heart liberal. I believe in calling things what they are. Abortion is murder and there is no justification for it.

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