Tomorrow, November 4, 2008, we will elect a new President. As I sit here on the eve of what appears to be a historical election I am realizing that for the first time I am voting for a candidate who truly inspires me to be a better citizen (and I think I'm a pretty good one to start out... I vote, I volunteer, I don't litter, I teach my children their manners and make them mind them, I obey the laws...only bending minor traffic ones... I donate to charity and my church, I pay my fair share of my taxes...).
I voted for the first time in the Presidential election of 1984. I volunteered on my college campus and I still (and probably always will) enjoy the look on people's faces when I tell them that I was a driver in President Reagan's motorcade during his last campaign stop before election day that year. (I was the driver for White House Press Secretary, Larry Speaks) (Can you IMAGINE college student being given the keys to motorcade cars NOW???) I have voted in every single election since. Every single one.
But never before has a candidate spoken to my heart and to my children's lives.
We are in difficult times. My own family faces an uncertain future. Employment is not secure. We are fortunate that we aren't upside down in our mortgage and our overall debt is manageable. But without a job that can change quickly.
In spite of that I have hope. I watched half of America feel cheated and defeated in 2000. Less than a year later we were grief stricken but we were united. We had hope amidst the destruction. We were a strong and proud nation with a world holding us up in our time of need.
I've watched that erode under the crushing weight of lies and misdirection followed by economic meltdown. Throughout the past 8 years my children have grown into teenagers with the values of their parents, their church and their God. While their leaders have lied and pillaged, they have given their time, talent and treasure to serve others. During this election season they have fought against the injustice of Proposition 8 - realizing that eliminating rights is not a Family Value nor a commandment of their God or their Savior. They know that true salvation lies in embracing all, not in hate. They have realized they can be the voice of the voiceless and that their opinions are as valuable as any other.
They will grow into adulthood under the new President. For the first time in several years, I worry less about the country they will be given. It won't be all sunshine and roses come January 2009. But it is my hope that on inauguration day, the man that takes the oath of office is the one that is looking forward with hope - not the man who cannot leave the past behind and move into a new era.
I wasn't a Kennedy Democrat - that was before my time. But I've head people speak of how he inspired them, gave them hope for the future and promised them a place in that future by "doing what (they) can do for (their) country".
Barack Obama offers that promise to my children.
It is why I have already cast my vote for him. It is why I pray for God's protection on him.
It's what makes me an Obama Democrat