Monday, September 1, 2008

Not a politico

I am not, nor have I ever been, a politico. For the most part, I have been content to let the politicians do their thing and not interfere with the process. I could definitely live without CSpan. But when I had a daughter, things like that seemed to take on more importance. When I hear conversations over the cubicle wall discussing how frightening a particular presidential candidate is because of a particular racial makeup and name, I seethe. These are the same people who wanted all the people not born in the United States to go back to wherever they came from...apparently not realizing that would include my daughter, so I suppose I should not be surprized by that.
I would not presume to tell anybody what to think or feel about a political candidate. I have no problem with disliking a candidate because of a voting record, or political positions, or whatever. But I am excited about this upcoming election. I actually watched primary results come in and parts of the Democratic National Convention. Because this time around, I actually like one of the candidates. I liked Hilary too, but I happened to like this one more, this time around. And I for one, never thought I would live to see the day that a woman would be so close to running for president and I would not vote for that woman.
It has been said that this particular candidate gives a good speech, but doesn't say anything specific. He says he will make change, but doesn't specify how. But from what I see, he already has. He has done so by inspiring many of us to take an interest in the process for the first time, to take part in the process in big and small ways. I know two people who are actively volunteering for campaigns. And I think this ability to inspire action is perhaps the best quality a leader could bring to the presidency at this time. This is a time for change. So many of us need changes for the better. Maybe I'm getting that idealistic view, but I think things can improve.
But sitting around waiting for change and hoping for change does not bring about change. Only if people are moved to act will change happen. I saw a sign once, sometime after 9/11, when "God bless America" was everywhere. Driving past a little church out in the country, I saw a sign that said "Go Bless America." Ever since, I've pondered whether that's how the sign was posted, or if it was a fallen D. But can you imagine if everyone assumed it meant "Go out and do something positive for someone else, right now?" Things will change if we each do our part to make things better. We have to be the change that we want to see. Each of us has the power to make a change, some big, some small. If we have a leader that inspires each of us to that, well, that's a whole new ball game.
The president can't possibly know every single thing there is to know about every single thing about running the country. Be realistic. There is too much involved for that. The president really should know how to choose people by merit to fill important advisory positions and heads of government agencies. It would be nice if that could happen without undue influence from lobbyists and owed favors. The president should know how to ask the right questions of the right people and come to an appropriate decision based on the information given. Not that I think the political process in itself gets in the way of a functional government or anything, which is perhaps why I refrained from voting for so long. I feel guilty about that. My great grandmomther voted in every presidential election after women won the right to vote until she died in 2001.
But I will vote this year. I will vote for the candidate who gives me hope for a better future, who has provoked me to watch Cspan (although not regularly), and who has inspired so many of us as a people to say "Yes, we can!"

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