The fact of the matter is that I’ve had this picture sitting on my hard drive for months and I’ve just been waiting for an excuse to post it. I think what happened tonight is a fair enough reason.
Also, with this being a blog and all, I figure I’ll go ahead and ramble a bit about all of this “historic election” jazz.
We’ll start with this: I voted for Barack Obama today. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, given the overall tone of this blog over the past several weeks, not to mention the fact that I, in fact, fit into that key 18-24 demographic that turned out in record numbers to elect Obama as the 44th president of the United States. That being said, I wouldn’t be what you’d typically classify as a liberal (or a conservative, for that matter.) (Of course, to classify someone strictly as a liberal or a conservative based on a limited number of views is typically a flawed way of doing things, but let’s disregard that for the time being.) (Aren’t parentheses awesome?!)
I consider myself a libertarian, though, to be honest, I think I’m on the books as a Republican after voting for the comically pathetic Mitt Romney in the primary earlier in the year. Nevertheless, I have more often than not voted for the libertarian candidates on the ballot, particularly in local elections, over the past few years. The common argument against voting for a third-party candidate is that you’re essentially throwing your vote away. But the funny thing about that is that people generally resign themselves to doing the exact same thing with the whole “lesser of two evils” mindset. Look, if you think both candidates suck — say one’s an extremely divisive southern stumblefuck and the other’s some uninspiring stiff from the northeast who’d probably be overmatched in an election for middle school principal — why the hell would you vote for either one? (Seriously, why did I vote for either one? And particularly the one I voted for. What would ever possess me to do such a thing?) Wouldn’t you look for an alternative that you’d be satisfied with, rather than devaluing your vote further?
That, believe it or not, was my plan for ’08 election. Well, the general election anyway. (Funny aside on that dipshit Romney: I live a few blocks from the polling place, and in the time it took me to walk there, cast my vote for Mitt and walk back home, he withdrew from the Republican primary, actually ensuring that I had thrown my vote away in record time.) Still, at one point the prospect of a Mike Huckabee-Hillary Clinton election seemed possible. My, how that would’ve sucked. Naturally, I figured, “hey, Ron Paul is a libertarian, he’s playing it smart, using the Republicans to get his name out there, and then he’ll pick up the Libertarian nomination and try to make a run from there.” I was on board with this idea. Sadly, the Libertarian party (or maybe Paul) was not, and instead nominated recovering Republican Bob Barr for candidacy to the highest office in the land. Yes, in effect, even the Libertarians were trotting out more of the same bullshit. That wasn’t going to fly.
Then the worm turned, so to speak. Before long, Mac was Back and Barack Obama was gaining ground on Clinton. “Well, good,” I thought. “McCain’s the best candidate the Republicans have, and I wouldn’t have a problem voting for him.” Because he’s a maverick, you see.
Or at least he used to be. Once he got the nomination, he magically turned into the same crappy pod person that Bob Dole morphed into in 1996 when he and Jack Kemp were setting exactly zero worlds on fire as the harbingers of Republican sorrow. He made campaign stops all across the country, calling himself the maverick, talking about how he was an outsider that would bring about change in Washington and reminding us of how qualified he was to handle military issues based on his commendable history of military service. Unfortunately, he said all of these things so many times that they at best lost all meaning and at worst necessitated the hospitalization of several enterprising college students who turned McCain speeches into drinking games. (Just to be safe side, my friends, I urge you not to use the phrase “pork barrel spending” around anyone under the age of 30 for at least the next six months. This is a time of healing for our country.)
So while McCain is going around the country being generally uninspiring, his opponent, this young black Democrat whose greatest flaw is apparently thought to be his inexperience, is traveling this and other countries rallying thousands of people everywhere he goes. He’s saying all the right things — granted, he’s a politician — and promising to bring change to Washington, just as McCain is promising. But here’s the difference: McCain, God bless him, is an old, wealthy white Republican who has served his country in Washington as a Senator for years. Obama is a young black Democrat whose back story is much more identifiable to your average American — he worked his ass off to get to the point where he is today.
So I weighed these two options against each other and considered the shitstorm that #43 has gotten us into, and I thought, do I want a guy whose profile is remarkably similar to the fool that’s currently in office (generally speaking, of course — I have a lot more respect for, and frankly, faith in McCain as a politician and as a person), or do I want to let someone who pretty much fits the bill as the exact opposite of our current, unsuccessful leader have a crack at it? Was I ready to accept the status quo, or was I ready for — hey, it’s extremely late, get the cringing out now — change?
Well, we know what decision I made. And obviously, I was not alone in that choice. Look, I know I’m not going to be in agreement with all of Obama’s policies or decisions, but it’s blatantly obvious that what’s happening right now isn’t working. To begrudge the country of a change in direction because of a few disagreements over policy would be shortsighted and foolish. And so, like so many other people my age, I elected to cast my vote for the president-elect.
I’ve been nothing but impressed by Obama as a candidate since he earned the Democratic nomination, and I hope that he’ll continue to impress me as the country’s 44th president. At the risk of getting all sappy about what happened tonight — though I certainly wouldn’t be the first — what happened tonight was a monumental achievement in our nation’s history, not only for Obama but for the millions of Americans who through the democratic process chose Obama as the candidate best equipped to lead our country through the next four years. My hat is off to Obama for his victory, to the American people for making it happen, and to John McCain — the classy, honorable John McCain I would’ve voted for — for resurfacing tonight to graciously concede the election and moreover to pledge his support towards Obama for the good of the country.
God, it feels great to have your vote mean something.