Sunday, March 30, 2008

the ballot box

Last night, it struck me - quite forcefully: I have to actually decide which candidate will get my vote in May.

I've been following the election, obviously, but it's been largely with the slightly detached and disinterested eye of someone who will have to teach it one of these days. Oh, I would go to the polls in May and squint at the silly electronic screens, but I would do it simply because I can rather than because it would have any meaning in the long term vis a vis the selection of a candidate. Surely by May the race would be down to one person for each ticket...

Apparently Indiana is going to be a big battleground state for Obama and Clinton. Indiana? Who would have thought it??! I am stunned. Chelsea Clinton did a big university speaking tour here and Bill has been spotted all over the place. Meanwhile I saw the first ad I think I have EVER seen in all of my years living in Indiana for a presidential candidate during primary season (Obama.)

In all honesty, I am not wild about either of my options - Obama and Clinton both bring odd bits of baggage and their own myopic views and weaknesses. Both seem to be quite passionate about public service and to truly believe that change is actually possible. Whichever way I vote, it will be a historic vote as cast by moi. I am only one citizen but damnit, that's the point.

(No, McCain isn't an option. His embrace of GWB creates serious problems in my mind, not to mention that we disagree on some issues that are of vital importance to me as a voter. I might have voted for him in 2000, but not in 2008.)

So anyway, I am slowly shifting from detached cynicism to trying to make a decision. I'm trying to weed out the "I landed upder sniper fire" and "he's a Muslim" stories and actually pare down to their ideas, their ability to connect with others and their overall enthusiasm.

If nothing else, "Hillary" "Barack" and "John" all pass my "Prayers of the People" test.


John B. said...

I will say this... true leaders take risks, even if they are calculated political risks. OBama's speech on religion a couple of weeks ago was a risk, it could have backfired, could have become a negative, but it was a topic that he had to discuss, had to bring out into the open.

I can't see any of our past few presidents taking this type of risk, most politiciana would hav avoided the topic, not hit it head on.

That is why he will get my vote.

Dan said...

Of course, in Indiana, we also have to decide in which races we wish to participate. In Tippecanoe County, all of the local races are in the GOP primary, with weak or no opposition on the Dem ticket in the fall. So, I can vote in a presidential race now, but then lose my chance to affect local elections.

Ron Griggs said...

I must agree that Obama's speech on religion and race was a risk--but it gave me (at least) a tremendously better sense of him. I can't say that it won my vote--no decisions yet--but I admire this courageous man more than ever.

That said, I have to say that McCain's recent foreign policy speech felt the same. It was a risk; it laid out a view of the world that our current president doesn't seem to grasp at all. It was a great political risk, I think, because it lays him open for much criticism in detail over this and that. But in the end, I was--reassured, I think.

So now, will Hilary give that defining speech? Is it in her? I've been waiting a long (long) time for a politician to help articulate a course to navigate the long American tension between the powerful yet amoral engine of free enterprise and the social contract--the ethical obligations of individuals and society. We can't survive in the laissez faire, caveat emptor market dream of the robber barons of Republican-Business complex. Nor do any of us, I suspect, really desire a European-style soul-deadening hive socialism. Clinton might just be the best candidate to take this on. (So if you are reading this, Hilary, you know what to do...)

Jim Wetzel said...

In my as-always humble opinion ... "it just don't matter."