Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why I can't vote for Obama

I must confess, Mr. Obama, that you have eroded my already-waning faith in the American political system.

Did I rise to give you a standing ovation after watching your address at the 2004 Democratic national convention? Yes. Did I leap to my feet mid-way through your most recent debate with Senator Clinton to declare game over in your favor? I did. Did I get misty-eyed during more than one episode of your recent address in Philadelphia? Absolutely. But now, with the afterglow gone, do I feel as disenchanted with the politics of my country as at any point in the Bush years? More so.

You see, Mr. Obama, you are much better than they are, and that's why I can't get behind your campaign. You speak with so much more gravitas than our politicians; you inspire so much more empathy than our pundits. Your speeches inspire us to re-consider our perspectives, our prejudices, and our politics. For that reason, you are good for America and good for the world, but you are not good for politics. You've mixing your art with your agenda, and it risks fanning the flames on growing executive liberties and special-interest allegiances (among the criticisms your supporters have made of the Bush administration).

Your defense of America against the defeatists who say is irreparably a nation of racism and unequal opportunity crescendos in your passionate declaration of your own widespread political success as proof that America is slowly overcoming its bigotrous history, and I, with two-million other YouTube viewers felt your energy and your message. We were there with you, we felt your sentiment, we felt the pride that accompanies the acknowledgment of atrocity, and it was great, but you perverted the message and sullied our moment. You cannot deliver that message from that pulpit, Barrack. You cannot evidence the progress of our people with your political success and then ask for our vote! You have put us in an uncomfortable position, and it ruins your too-important message.

You dismiss the those who claim you're capitalizing on white voters who support you to cheaply pay off the weight of their debt to minorities (and I want to dismiss them, too, Barack, I do) but you're handing out the forgiveness notes. You have told them that their support signals the healing of America and in the same breath, asked for more support. Your decision to exploit a parallel between the racial health of America and the health of your own campaign will no doubt prove an effective one, but is no less regrettable than the politics of hate and fear you so often criticize--no matter how much more eloquently delivered.

You, too, are attempting to trick us, Mr. Obama. You are doing so no more than anyone else in politics or in the media, and you are doing a supremely more artful job of it, but you--like them--are soliciting from me my money, my attention, and my vote.

I will read your books, I will listen to your speeches, I will think about and discuss your ideas, and I will let your stories turn my emotions, but if you want that part of me, you cannot have my vote. You can drive my politics, you can drive my philosophy, and you can move my heart, or you can have my vote and execute my own ideas, but you can't have both.

No comments: