The Endorsement

In anticipation of this year's elections, I "read" the audiobook version of Hillary Clinton's Living History during my travels. I already knew much of my politics aligned with Clinton, just as I knew they also pretty much aligned with Barack Obama's before I recently started reading his Audacity of Hope. What I found in reading Clinton's story, though, was a woman who still bristled at the letters "GOP". Although I had intended on voting for her, after reading all 592 pages (23 hours), I came away with more misgivings than assurances.

Comparatively within the first 100 pages of Audacity of Hope, I knew Obama had won me over. Take page 68:

I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush's eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him. That's what empathy does—it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal, the powerful and the powerless, the oppressed and the oppressor. We are all shaken out of our complacency. We are all forced beyond our limited vision. No one is exempt from the call to find common ground.

And take page 92-93:

...the process of making law in America compels us to entertain the possibility that we are not always right and to sometimes change our minds; it challenges us to examine our motives and our interests constantly, and suggests that both our individual and collective judgments are once legitimate and highly fallible.

And also page 97:

...I can't summarily dismiss those possessed of similar certainty today—the antiabortion activist who pickets my town hall meeting, or the animal rights activist who raids a laboratory—no matter how deeply I disagree with their views. I am robbed even of the certainty of uncertainty, for sometimes absolute truths may well be absolute.

Sure, I want a president that supports the same causes I do. But I also want a president that has examined the other sides of those causes and admits that his opponents have a valid point, he just chooses to disagree with them.

Last Wednesday I saw Obama at a rally in Phoenix (you can read about the first time I saw Obama and shook his hand here). To my right was a Black single mother; next to her was a Latina; next to her was a woman of Korean descent; next to her was an elderly couple; next to them was a trio of Latinas; and a few rows in front of me was a group of 20-something Muslim girls in their hijabs, waving their posters and posing excitedly for group shots for their point-and-shoot cameras. It was as if a cross-section of America had turned out. And if that's the following that Obama attracts, that's whom I want to throw my weight (and my vote) behind.

I'm no Oprah or Scarlett or Caroline. But for what it counts, I'm endorsing Barack Obama.

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