Why I Like Obama: Yes We Can

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we’ve been told that we’re not ready, or that we shouldn’t try, or that we can’t, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.

I really hope this guy wins the election. He seems like the only candidate who isn’t running on fear and anger.

I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting for next Tuesday, because that day more or less decides the election. If Obama can beat Hillary, I think that he’s almost certainly going to take the White House.

I would love for the U.S. to have an inspirational leader again. I’m tired of the divisiveness and the petty bickering that’s characterized the Bush presidency. I’m tired of the scare tactics and the warmongering and the bitterness.

I think that Obama can change that. I think that he could be a salve on a wounded nation. I think he could lead the country to do great things.

And so I really, really hope he wins on Tuesday.

4 thoughts on “Why I Like Obama: Yes We Can

  1. Obama is definitely a charismatic personality and a terrific speaker. And I agree that it would be great to have a real inspirational leader in the White House.

    But I’d like to know, “Yes we can…what?” Are you considering voting for Obama DESPITE his position on things like immigration, taxes, gay marriage, terrorism, or BECAUSE of it? Besides his charisma and decision not to campaign on fear and anger, which positions do you agree with?

  2. I like his position on separation of church and state.

    I like the fact that he opposes further wars in the Middle East, and that he supports rapid withdrawal from Iraq.

    I like the idea of getting universal health insurance, like civilized countries.

    His position on immigration, as stated on his website, seems imminently reasonable.

    Since I think that the government ought not to be in the business of discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation, I’m for gay marriage.

    On the other hand, I’m not a fan of his positions on gun control or abortion. But, you can’t have everything you want.

  3. J.D.,

    Thanks for the very thoughtful response. Just a few questions and comments…

    “I like his position on separation of church and state.”

    Are you familiar with the founding fathers’ views on the separation of church and state? Most of them would be vehemently opposed to our modern application of the doctrine.

    “I like the fact that he opposes further wars in the Middle East, and that he supports rapid withdrawal from Iraq.”

    If he opposes wars of imperialism, I agree. If he opposes wars of self-defense, I disagree. I’ve found that in many cases, the more liberal the politician, the more likely they are to downplay our need for a strong defense. Remember Bill Clinton and his famous “I loath the military” quote. Many politicians are “against war” and “in favor of peace.” Who wouldn’t be? But that’s a very naive position which ignores some very real threats to our freedom. As bad as war is, I’m very glad we stood up, militarily, to someone like Hitler. I believe in diplomacy, but when diplomacy fails, we need more than group hugs and kumbaya.

    “I like the idea of getting universal health insurance, like civilized countries.”

    I would love universal health insurance too, but provided by the government? No thanks. Whatever the government pays for, they control. They can tell you which doctor to go to. They can tell you when you can go to the doctor and what procedures to have. Sort of like insurance companies, but many times worse. In Canada, with their “single payer” (government) system, elective surgery means long waits, sometimes years. Every cold and flu season brings TV commercials asking people to please not go to the emergency room unless they are really sick. With the shortcomings of our health care system, it’s still the best in the world. Government health care = rationed health care.

    “His position on immigration, as stated on his website, seems imminently reasonable.”

    Including his stated support for drivers licenses for illegal aliens?

    “Since I think that the government ought not to be in the business of discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation, I’m for gay marriage.”

    If you believe that marriage comes from the government, I agree with you. If you believe marriage is an institution created by God, then I suppose He should get to make the rules.
    By the way, should the government discriminate against polygamists? Or, should it prohibit the marriage of a consenting brother and sister? Or, a mother and adult son? Or three men and a baby? All of those are illegal in the US. Should it be legal for a man to marry his favorite farm animal, as long as the farm animal agrees, of course?

    On the other hand, I’m not a fan of his positions on gun control or abortion. But, you can’t have everything you want.

    Thanks for mentioning a couple of issues we can completely agree on! :-)
    Not everyone believes that taking the life of a baby who was conceived 9 months ago, and is partly delivered and healthy, is murder, but if you do, wouldn’t it be hard to vote for someone in favor of that? Obama is a supporter of keeping partial birth abortion legal. By the way, he has also proposed banning all civilian semi-automatic weapons.

  4. Hey, thanks for commenting. I was getting worried that no one was reading this thing. :)

    RE: Separation of church and state: The positions of our founding fathers varied nearly as much as we do today. Patrick Henry was strongly Christian and for a Christian-influenced government, while Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine wanted a more secular government.

    I also think that the country is much more religiously diverse than it was in the days of the founding fathers. Even if separation of church and state, as we interpret it today, was not quite what they intended when they wrote the Constitution, I think that it’s an important and useful doctrine. The government should absolutely not be in the practice of telling the citizens what to believe about God.

    Now, I think the ACLU takes things too far. The cause of religious freedom is not harmed by a Christmas display in a public park. But I think that it’s important to say that this is a nation governed by law, not by the Bible. Having the Ten Commandments, a dual symbol of religion and justice, outside of a courthouse sends a mixed message (unless the commandments are flanked by the Code of Hammurabi and other examples of ancient justice).

    Because even if we wanted a Christian nation, governed by the Bible, you’d have to pick an interpretation of the Bible. Do we run the country under the Catholic interpretation or the Baptist one or even the Mormon one? Even then, we don’t want the government to say “This is what the citizens should believe.”

    RE: War. I do agree that a strong military is important. And there’s no question that the American military outclasses every other military in the world.

    The problem is that the military is, like most other government entities, pretty wasteful. We dedicate something like half of our federal budget to the military, and I think that if we need to cut social programs that we also need to consider cutting off the less effective programs in the military.

    Now, we could get into a debate as to whether or not Iraq was a genuine threat to our freedom. I thought it was as we went in, based on the evidence Colin Powell presented to the UN, but I’m not as sure now. Regardless, we’ve eliminated it as a potential threat, and we need to get our troops out as soon as we can without letting some Taliban-like group take over.

    I think that we use the club of the military too often. I think it’s important to use the military on real threats (e.g., Hitler), but that we need to be more careful in selecting targets. Is Iran really a threat to the United States right now? And would war really fix the problem there, or would it make things worse?

    Re: Health Insurance: I disagree. I think that corporations can be a lot worse than the government in terms of oppressiveness. As you say, the insurance industry already tells you what doctors you can see and what procedures they’ll pay for. The government is accountable to the people, at least in theory. If they’re doing a bad job with health care, then the people will remove the governors and replace them with new governors. The insurance industry is accountable to the shareholders, and then only to make more money, which they get by not paying out as many claims. The incentive structure is all wrong.

    The Canadian system is actually a nationalized health *insurance* system. Doctors are free to open practices where they want to and to do whatever procedures they need to. In fact, having only one health insurance company to deal with simplifies the doctor’s lives immensely, and they have more time to deal with patients. (Or, so I’ve been told.)

    I’ve heard good and bad about the wait times for care, but I don’t know if it’s worse than our current system.

    Re: Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens: Why not? They’re driving anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to identify them than not to? Even if the end goal is to round them all up and deport them (which I vehemently oppose on both moral and financial grounds), it would be a lot simpler if we knew who and where the illegal aliens are.

    Re: The Government and Marriage: I think that as long as all the parties are consenting adults, the government should step out of the way. This eliminates bestiality, because there is no way for an animal to consent, and it eliminates anything involving children.

    In truth, I think that the government ought not to be giving licenses for marriage at all. It’s too much of a quasi-religious issue; it’s part of my position on separation of church and state. Let people marry whomever they think is right–as long as they are consenting adults.

    Our social mores already oppose polygamy and incest. I don’t think we need the government to enforce those rules.

    Re: Abortion & Obama: I think that, as a practical matter, the only thing that’s going to completely criminalize abortion is a constitutional amendment. There is little that the President can do to prevent abortion. I mean, George W. Bush is strongly opposed to abortion, and yet it still stands legal.

    I’d rather to vote on what the candidate can affect rather than what he can’t.

    Re: Gun Control: Let me play the Devil’s Advocate: What do law-abiding civilians need with semi-automatic weapons? How many people walk down the streets of America carrying AK-47’s?

    Certainly, the criminals won’t obey the laws against semi-automatic weapons, but arming the law-abiding citizens with AK-47’s rather than with pistols seems like a way of escalating bloodshed and damage rather than keeping it down.