O Me of Little Faith

Here’s Part 2 of my 14 reasons why I’m voting for Obama in November. You can scroll down to read Reasons 1-7.

#8: Obama recognizes that the key to reducing abortions isn’t to repeal Roe v. Wade, but to work to increase education and contraception use and adoptions. I’m pro-life when it comes to abortion, but I think making abortion illegal will not reduce the number of aborted babies. That number will stay the same, only more potential mothers will die trying to end their own pregnancies in back rooms or on their own. When we say we’re pro-life, does it apply only to the aborted babies? Are we willing to save them but lose the moms? Are we so pro-life that we’ll personally adopt the unwanted babies that don’t get aborted? I’m not hearing any Christians ask or answer those questions while they wave the “Repeal Roe vs. Wade” signs. I personally hate abortion, but I don’t see making it illegal as something that’s helpful at this point. The issue is way more complex than that. Don’t change the law. Change the thinking. And continue working to reduce the number of abortions.

#9: Obama is smart. Way smarter than me. I don’t want a president I could drink a beer with (as was often cited as a reason to vote for Bush). I don’t want a regular person having the job of President, and I don’t pretend that a regular person would be a good president. I personally would make a horrible president. No, I want a president who is smarter and much more capable than me, and Obama is definitely that. McCain is smarter than me, too. And considerably tougher. But every single time I hear Obama speak — whether to a crowd or to a single reporter — I am impressed by his logic and the complexity of his thoughts. Whether or not he’s so intelligent he gets bogged down by uncertainties and contingencies remains to be seen, but we’ve seen what happens when a president goes with his “gut” rather than his intellect. It’s not good.

#10: Obama is offering real, thoughtful solutions to the issues our country is dealing with, from economics and fuel dependency to terrorism. McCain, in picking Palin — who wasn’t his first choice by a long shot (she’s on record as having disagreed with two of his main selling points: the surge and climate change) — is pandering to the religious culture warriors, and putting their culture war front and center in his administration. And I’m a religious person with cultural concerns, but the biggest problem our country has these days isn’t defending traditional marriage. We have much greater things to tackle. (And you know what? Two years ago, McCain would have said exactly the same thing.)

#11: Obama appeals to and practices unity, while the McCain campaign continues to move further along the line of divisiveness. (And further away from the bridge-building “maverick” McCain used to be.) It’s been suggested that he’s doing it only to get elected, and he’ll move back to the center once he becomes president. I guess that’s, um, a positive thing (eventually), but how much time will he have to spend repairing the damage? And what does it say about voters if we’re OK with this?

#12: Obama is right about Afghanistan. He was originally against the Iraq War on the basis that we hadn’t finished another war yet — the one in Afghanistan with the intent to find Osama bin Laden. Seven years after 9/11, we still don’t have bin Laden. That’s incredible to me, the rough terrain of Afghanistan and Pakistan notwithstanding. I appreciate that Obama continues to say that we aren’t doing enough to pressure Pakistan on this issue — he’s been saying this since last summer — and I completely agree (see below). And since Obama first raised the issue and gave it traction, McCain has started talking about pursuing bin Laden “to the gates of hell.” But he’s only come around on this recently. Why did he wait seven years to make this a priority? Why wasn’t it important to him before?

#13: Obama is increasingly right about foreign policy in general. First, I’ll admit he was wrong about the surge, and that was a big wrong. But consider the other places he’s been right. Not just about the question of whether we should have gone to war with Iraq in the first place, but about the need to shift troops to Afghanistan (way before Bush decided to do it); the need to take on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan even without Pakistan’s approval (which McCain ridiculed as “naive” but which the Bush administration is now doing…will McCain now denounce Bush as “naive,” too?); the need to develop a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq (which Bush is now discussing). People have questions about Obama’s leadership and experience when it comes to foreign policy, but so far he’s been right most of the time — and the Bush administration is giving credence to this by slowly implementing the things he has suggested.

#14: Obama’s energy plan to ween the U.S. off its dependence on foreign oil — placing great emphasis on the development of alternative energy sources — makes far more sense than the inexplicable “Drill, Baby, Drill” cries coming out of the McCain/Palin rallies. I’m not against offshore drilling, but I’m against drilling being the single most important answer to the question of energy dependence. It’s not the solution, it is not going to solve our oil problem, and I don’t want to focus on it to the point that we forget to pursue alternative energy sources. That’s where the future is, and that’s where our money and creativity need to be channeled. Granted, some look at drilling as a short-term solution while we pursue other answers, but it’s hardly even short-term: even if we already had the refineries in place and started drilling right this moment, it would be years before the oil actually began to flow. And the resulting product would hardly decrease gas prices at all. If we’re going to invest money in reducing our oil dependence, the place to spend the money is not on new wells, but on alternative energy. It’s a long-term solution, it leads to more jobs, it’s better for the environment, and it’s by far the more thoughtful and revolutionary approach.

Here’s the deal: N
either candidate is perfect, and Obama has definitely made some statements along the way that have disappointed me. But McCain has disappointed me at every turn. Other than his ad during the DNC, I haven’t heard anything at all from his campaign that gives me a reason to vote for him.

Say what you will about his liberalness or classic Democrat platform, but Obama’s politics represent for me a third way, not attached to traditionally blue or red ideologies but to what works in a practical sense. Of course, one time I thought the same about George Bush and his compassionate conservatism, which is why I voted for him in 2000. I was wrong. And about a year ago, I thought the same about John McCain, for whom I was once hoping to vote. Turns out I was wrong on that one, too.

So I could totally be wrong on Obama. We’ll see. But at this point, he has my vote.


Agree? Disagree? What are your reasons for or against?

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