Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It all started in a place called Hope.

I love Election Day. Anytime, anywhere, all throughout the year.

Today was no exception. Knowing that my vote would actually matter today, I had to make the best decision for myself. I was supporting John Edwards up until the very end and found it difficult to choose between Obama and Clinton.

As I said before, I agreed with and believed in everything John Edwards said and believed in; and there are many things I like about Hillary and Barack. I'm so thrilled to actually have had a choice between three intellectual and amazing candidates this year.

I disagree with Obama on a few issues: health care, illegal immigrants, and his troop withdrawal plan in Iraq.

I disagree with Clinton on a few issues: tax cut and government reform.

I now believe that Hillary or Barack can beat whoever the Republicans decide to nominate. Both will be great candidates and both represent the Democratic Party and America very well.

I inquired with many of my friends why they were supporting Hillary or Barack. I noticed a few interesting things. First, my older friends (those close to or older than me) are all supporting Hillary and that my younger friends are all supporting Obama. Second, when I asked my friends why they were supporting one over the other, I found that Obama supporters were not substantively able to tell my WHY they were supporting him. They talked about "change" and "justice"--values that I find admirable--but that wasn't enough for me. My Hillary supporting friends talked to me about her vast experience and her policies on a few key issues. This difference was striking to me.

I know that my decision is going to cause my friends heartburn one way or another. But this decision isn't for them. It's for me. And it's for McKenna.

As some of you know, she is supporting Hillary. She didn't get this idea from me, but rather from her daycare teacher. When people asked her why she was supporting Hillary, McKenna (8-years-old, mind you) would state: "Because we've never had a girl President before and she'd be the first one." As I've thought about my decision, my thoughts always go back to this simple statement. I wonder, how can I teach my daughter to be a strong-willed, independent woman and that women are just as equal as men in every regard and NOT be willing to show her that by voting for Hillary? I'm much more worried about her opinion of me--and of herself--than I am of my friends. I think back to when I was her age and how I dreamed of being the first female President and how much I have shown that I am just as equal to men in local politics. Would I be a hypocrite for voting for Obama?

I've been very critical of Obama's message of hope. I am moved by his words and commercials. I was there in Boston in 2004 and listened to his "Audacity of Hope" speech. He talks so eloquently about change. And he's right, the top two Democratic candidates are a black man and a woman--that's quite a change! I see Obama's supporters and see how he has revived political interest in many people--especially young people. During college, I spent most of my time increasing civic engagement among my peers. I don't understand how anyone can not be interested in politics and believe that Howard Dean in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 have inspired thousands of new voters--young and old.

Part of this inspiration has to do with the fact so many people are pissed off with the government. They're tired of what's been going on in Washington for far too long. They're tired of spending billions of dollars on a war they did not want and did not ask for. They're tired of being lied to.

Throughout the course of my decision since Edwards dropped out, I've gone back and forth on Clinton and Obama. I started strongly supporting Hillary then over the weekend slowly moved towards Barack. Reading through their policies one last time before I went to sleep, I moved back to Hillary. I disagreed with Obama on way too many issues and felt that Hillary was the right choice.

But the thing that made me finalize my decision was when I thought about all of my hard work within the local Democratic Party here over the last 8 years. I have worked hard to build a party that I am proud to be a part of and I just can't let this work be for nothing.

Something is wrong with our Government. It is broken and people do not trust it. Part of this is because of the vast corruption and the thought of "same ol', same ol'." Hillary Clinton is a part of this and I fear that if she is elected, it would be the same thing all over again. Hillary, if nominated, would hurt the Utah Democratic Party and all of our candidates this year, I believe. As soon as she's the nominee, the 50 state plan, The State Party Project, implemented by Gov. Howard Dean would cease to exist as she would require all that money to be forwarded to her campaign.

While I may disagree with how the state party has run the State Party Project here, I know that without it, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton would have had a viable grassroots campaign force here. Without the local work done over the past 5 years, there would not be such a huge movement of Utah Democrats voting for a Democratic Presidential candidate.

I agree with Hillary on more substantive issues. But today, that wasn't enough for me.

Today, I voted for me. I voted for my daughter. I voted for the future of the party and country I love so much.

I voted for Barack Obama.


eleka nahmen said...

Seriously, amazing amazing post. And not just because I support Barack - I'd say the same if you had concluded you voted for Hillary.

Anonymous said...

boooo you sell out!

hahaha kidding... or am I?

Anne said...

I just thought I'd let you know that I saw 3 people standing on the streets of NYC today with Obama signs. And 2 in store window signs (Latios for Obama...Si se pueda!) Cool huh...anyway...I like Obama too. It is the war in Iraq thing. I think it took pussy to put in a NO vote when everyone else put in a YES vote -- especially as a newbie. We need the power of the pussy in office.

Weston said...

Wahoo! I knew you'd come to the dark side! Congratulations - it was a historic day no matter who you voted for. It felt AWESOME!