I cast my vote enthusiastically for Mr. Obama and as many other Democrats as possible on a sunny Central Texas Monday morning, and I recommend you do the same where you are (don’t talk to me about Nader, Barr or Cynthia freakin’ McKinney, please — we’re talking the art of the possible, the plausible and the get-real-here-able). Early voting, it’s a good thing. Yes — aware of this blog’s vast readership and the awesome responsibilities of stewardship, I officially endorse Barack Obama for president of the USA.
In a slightly more serious mode: although I consider myself reasonably politically aware and am proud to identify myself as an occasionally active progressive Democrat, my heroes have never been politicians. Some are decidedly better than others, but trust me, folks, they’ll all let you down in the end. That said, to paraphrase my friend and fellow Prog-D Jane in Massachusetts, I would love to experience the disappointment that would inevitably follow Barack Obama’s swearing in two months from today. Especially when you consider the alternative.
I’m not going to make a long political screed out of this post — far better you should read the latest Glenn Greenwald or Joan Walsh dispensations o’wisdom on Salon, or the screamin’ headlines of the moment on the HuffPo (scruffy, disheveled and a bit disreputable, but always fun). But suffice to say that McAngryOldMan, though he would make a fine toastmaster at a benefit dinner, has neither the temperament nor any clues to be able to function in these, uh, interesting times. And I take extreme offense at the suggestions by McWhatshisname’s running mate and various other figures and factotums in the GOP that a great number of U.S. Americans are not, in fact, true Americans — whatever that’s supposed to signify.
I also like the fact that Barack is one of my people — by which I mean, he’s a card-carrying member of Generation Jones. Although our backgrounds are slightly different — he’s a Kenyan-Kansan-American raised in Hawaii and Indonesia who attended top schools, wound up in the U.S. Senate and is running strong for the presidency, while I’m a German-Russian-Jewish American who moved from New York to Boston to Slovenia to Austin and is an active freelance writer and editor — it’s refreshing to vote for a candidate about my age (although he’s two years younger than me, I’m the real Generation Obama, not these college kids you hear about). Leave it to a Late Boomer to pick up the pieces after the Bill/Hillary/George generation has more than had their say (a tip of the hat to none other than Patti Smith for pointing out that it was her early-Boomer generation that gave us George W.).
A few days ago, someone actually stole the Texans for Obama sign from our front lawn; it wasn’t an isolated incident in my neighborhood. Mrs. Pogoer, duly pissed, opined on her Facebook page that local Repubs must really be running scared if they’re compelled to indulge in such petty theft. Today, right after voting for as many Dems as possible at my local early-voting polling station, I stopped by my county Dem headquarters in Round Rock and picked up a replacement Obama/Biden sign (on which Mrs. Pogoer wrote in marker, “You can steal our signs, but not our votes,” with a smiley face alongside), as well as a couple of signs for local candidates. While there, I happened to run into this candidate for state representative, and was able to tell her I voted for her that morning; she was quite congenial, and the others at HQ were obviously glad to see me and I didn’t even mind being charged $4 for the Obama sign (no wonder they’ve raised so much; if this crew can run the country half as well as they’ve engaged the populace and funded their campaign, the US has nothing to worry about).
I don’t understand why the Ree-pubs are calling Obama “the most liberal member of the Senate” (really?) — he’s a centrist Dem and a bit too eager to compromise on some things for my taste (FISA bill, cough cough), but he’s possessed of a first-class mind and combines an admirably cool temperament with an appreciation of what civil liberties mean, and knows what this country could be if it aspired to better things, like living up to the image of itself America has in its head, which has too rarely collided with reality throughout its history and perhaps especially, over the past eight years.
I do still want to know what Obama thinks about abolishing the Electoral College and having the presidency decided by direct popular vote. Last June, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) proposed a legislative package aimed at doing just that.
Given the well-documented problems of the past two presidential election cycles, I am surprised (to put it mildly) that there is not more of an outcry to do away with the Electoral College. In my opinion, it is an outdated institution (if it ever was necessary at all) that I still cannot understand the reason for, maybe because there isn’t one. That the citizens of my country cannot directly elect the president is absurd to me. Whatever your political party is, the EC is profoundly anti-small-d-democratic.
I have found nothing on Obama’s campaign website addressing the issue. When I e-mailed the campaign’s HQ, I received a canned response relating to protecting votes and reacting to voter challenges on Election Day, which is great, but it doesn’t answer my question.
Where does Barack Obama stand on abolishing the Electoral College?
If anyone knows, please drop me a line.
And do cast your vote. I’m still of the opinion that it matters, even with, you know, everything.
Especially with everything.