I have to admit I'm pretty stressed out right now. We're coming down to the last few weeks of this election and it's still a tight race. On top of that, the economy is on the brink of collapse (or is collapsing) and we're still largely talking about silly stuff. On the one hand, I am disgusted by politics, while on the other hand, I find myself obsessed by politics. I have often wondered why anyone would want to be President. Some very smart men and men of integrity wouldn't take the job (or at least wouldn't put themselves through what it takes to get it. Colin Powell's name immediately leaps to mind. We treat the Presidency like it's some sort of prize. The candidates are competing for our votes like it's a Miss America contest. We act as though we're going them a great favor by giving them our votes. But, particularly this quadrennial, with two shooting wars going on, the makings of another Cold War brewing, the economy in the toilet and a crisis of confidence in our Congress and our President, I wonder all the more why we declare the guy who gets the job the "winner". Perhaps we should consider sending a "Thank You" card to whoever wins and showing them a little gratitude for taking the job. The next President I think could very easily be a one term President. He'll face a Herculean task trying to turn us around and I think will either be hugely popular or hugely unpopular. Big time risk.
I am encouraged that I see what seems to me to be a lot of people looking past partisanship this time around. I see people deciding not based on who they want to "give" their vote to but on who they think will be best for America. I know life long Republicans who are voting for Obama and who are doing everything in their power to make sure he gets elected. I know life long Republicans who are still on the fence; but, they are giving Obama a shot. And, I know one life long Democrat who is switching over to vote for McCain because he thinks McCain is much more likely to start a war with Iran (a war he thinks we should already be fighting).
The last few days, the endorsements for Senator Obama are coming in hot and heavy. Some are glowing endorsements, like the one from the The New Yorker that is the longest and most eloquent endorsement I've ever read. But, what is amazing is the number and the caliber of Conservatives/Republicans who are either endorsing Obama, abandoning McCain or both. Check out this video clip:
In this stampede there might be a certain element of rats off a sinking ship going on here. Maybe because Obama is inching ahead in the polls, they want history to show they were on the winning side. But, I'd like to believe these are people who realize they cannot maintain their integrity and their intellectual honesty and say that John McCain is the best man to run America right now. Some of these people speaking up are doing it at great political and social peril.
I have to give Kathleen Parker credit for writing standing up and writing this blog post before people started abandoning Sarah Palin in droves. That took guts. Christopher Hitchens gave Obama less than a glowing endorsement. But, he just could not keep silent about the lack of leadership he has seen from John McCain and the behavior of Sarah Palin. Christopher Buckley just resigned his job at the National Review (founded by his father and part-owned by him) over an endorsement he wrote for Obama on another site. He is yet another Conservative who has read Obama's books, watched his temperament and judgment over the last several months and decided to go with Obama even though he disagrees with some of his politics.
There are some whispers now that this election may be a landslide for Obama. I have to admit, in a sense, I would hope it is. But, not in the same sense as I like to see the Buckeyes handing a defeat to that team up North (Michigan for the uninitiated). Wouldn't it be cool to have a President with a true mandate? Wouldn't it be cool if we could all (or at least most of us) come together behind a President and give him support and have him lead us through these trouble times? Wouldn't it be cool to send a resounding message to the people who have dug us into this mess over the last 8 years that there are serious consequences to pay? That's why I'd love to see a clear message sent to Washington in the next few weeks.
As we come down to the last few weeks of this fascinating campaign, I'd like to encourage you to do this. Take a good honest look at both men, their plans, their judgment, their character. Ask yourself that, G-d forbid, if anything should happen to them do you feel their Vice Presidential candidate would be up to the task? Then, don't vote for Barack Obama. Don't vote for John McCain. Don't vote for the Democrat. Don't vote for the Republican. Vote for America. Vote for the world.
p.s.- I am reading Senator Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" right now. I never, ever thought I would read a book about politics. But, the book is brilliant. Whether you're an Obama fan or not, if he wins the election, I highly recommend picking up the book. It's a great insight into how he thinks, how much he understands politics, history and people and how much he cares about serving.