I've voted in the United States Presidential Election five times now. Here are my votes by year.
- 1992: George H. W. Bush
- 1996: Bob Dole
- 2000: George W. Bush
- 2004: George W. Bush
- 2008: Barack Obama
Some of my friends (those who don't read this blog) asked me why I was voting for Obama. My simple response was always "Change." No one really knew what that meant, maybe, but anyone that knows me knows I'm pretty much universally against change of any kind. Hell, except for one crazy week in November '06, I've been at the same job since I graduated college. But as you can see in the list above, my vote for Obama is a major change. For me. And for the country. I'd spent my whole adult life voting for old, powerful white guys (and their children) and yet the eight years the not-as-old or powerful white guy who thought he was black was in office (Clinton) were far, far, far superior for my country than the eight years when Bush the Dumber was in office. It took me a while to realize that. Probably not until 2005 or so, but by the time 2008 rolled around, not only was I ready for change, there was a 0% chance I was voting for the Republican nominee, no matter who was running. McCain made it a much easier vote with his deplorable campaign and the mind-numbingly bizarre selection of a running mate, but really, my mind was made up way back during Hurricane Katrina, and nothing any Republican could do -- short of repudiating all the "conservative" ideals I'd once thought were golden -- to win my vote.
But this is not some left-wing liberal blogger glorifying the wonders of Barack Obama and his chances to change our nation. This is a once conservative, probably borderline racist and/or sexist blogger who used to put his faith in rich, old, white guys that would take care of the rest of us white guys and keep our money and our values from the "others" who would take it away from us. That's what the conservative movement is mostly about, at its core. And when you grow up during the "Reagan Revolution" and come to believe that "trickle-down economics" saved our economy from the disastrous Carter years, it takes a long time for those beliefs to be eradicated. It took me over a decade. And it took a very good presidency marred by stupid, inconsequential bedroom issues, followed by a colossally bad presidency that ruined our world standing, economy, environment and budget, and only seemed focused on stupid, inconsequential bedroom issues, to truly sway me to the other side. In the face of so much mounting evidence that the Republican way of handling foreign affairs and terrorism and war and the economy and market regulation and diplomacy and natural disasters is so very, very flawed, I can't help but admit I was wrong. I was completely and 100% wrong for many, many years.
And I'm not an "Obama Republican" or an Independent, at this point. I never really agreed with Republicans on the so-called social issues and am 100% morally opposed to the beliefs of the "moral" crusading Jesus freaks who are trying to take over the Republican party (and drive them into complete irrelevance). And now Republicans have proven either so inept or so corrupt at handling our national defense and the economy, and even the size of government (one thing I still agree with them on), there's not a single reason why I would ever vote for a Republican again -- at least not in this current iteration of the party. I don't know if I agree with everything Barack Obama believes in. But I do believe in him. I didn't know anything about him a year ago, but every single time I've seen him, heard him, listened to his beliefs and his proscriptions for our country, I couldn't help but be impressed. And I believe he will bring the change to this country that we need. I'm ecstatic that people younger than me came out to vote in droves. And I'm ecstatic that they are so excited about Obama. The older generation doesn't understand and are too nostalgic or bitter or flat-out racist to ever understand why we are so excited about this man. He may disappoint. I don't doubt that there will be more bad times ahead. But I believe in him. And if you believe in this country, even if you voted for John McCain, it's time for you to believe in him too. Barack Obama is our future. And it's time to celebrate.