I spent yesterday afternoon hanging around on the mall in downtown Cleveland, waiting to hear Barack Obama speak. Four years ago, I spent most of the night before the election in the same place waiting to hear John Kerry make his final pitch for the presidency. While there was a sense of deja vu to yesterday's event - thousands of democrats, Bruce Springsteen performed etc., - the differences couldn't have been more palpable.
Both crowds felt like rock concert crowds but Kerry's crowd felt like a Springsteen concert while yesterday's rock star was the candidate, Barack Obama. There were vendors wandering about selling t-shirts, buttons and rally towels. Near where I was standing, dozens of parents cheerfully boosted their children up on top of what appeared to be a very wobbly structure for a better look. I don't condone putting children in danger but it did say something about the historic nature of the event. There was a sense of this being something that we've never seen before.
I don't remember seeing a more diverse crowd at any event I've ever attended. There were old people, young people, white people, black people, Hispanics, Asians, hippies, preppies, gays, straights and even a few football fans spilling over from the Browns game. I don't believe that his ability to unite diverse groups of people is reason enough to elect Barack Obama president but I think it's a start. There has never been a president or public figure in my lifetime that has galvanized the American population in this way.
So, if not for his ability to unite diversity, why should you vote for Barack Obama? Because it's time for America to take the plunge. To put our money on the horse that has the most potential instead of the one who has been in the game the longest. A vote for John McCain is a vote in support of the politics of misdirection. We must, once and for all, repudiate the idea that half truths and outright lies are just part of a so called "tough campaign." The attempts by the McCain campaign to characterize Barack Obama as a terrorist who hates America or a Socialist are at least as repugnant as the legendary Willy Horton incident that sunk the campaign of Mike Dukakis back in 1988. The difference is that this time they don't seem to be working.
So if you haven't already voted, get to the polls early tomorrow and stand in whatever length of line you need to and cast your vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. It's time to have a president who can inspire us to actually be the greatest country in the world instead of merely mouthing those words that we've been told since childhood. Use your voice to cast a vote for leadership over cynicism, hope over fear, ideas over character assassination and hope over anger.
5 years ago