I have to admit that I was hesitant at first. I was concerned that if I said that I supported Barack Obama, then the response would be something akin to, "of course you do." Let me make this clear, I am happy to say that I support Obama, and not because he is African American (though that certainly caught my attention).
First and foremost, I love the fact that Obama is in an entirely different generation than all of the other candidates for POTUS. I am weary of the discussions about who did what in the 1960s. I am bored of the Vietnam and service questions. Second, I really like Michelle Obama. There is something about her that is simultaneously familiar and transcendent. It is as though she is the embodiment of "keeping it real." I would be quite comfortable with her as First Lady, something that rarely crossed my mind since I've been voting in POTUS elections (the 1988 election was my first). Third, Obama is post-Civil Rights. His world is familiar to me. It's one filled with a range of friends (racially, ethnically, politically, et. al), experiences, and expectations of excellence. No one can accuse Obama of being a racial huckster, and we have moved beyond the time for that (we never needed a time for it). Finally, Obama is substantive. His approach to a number of the issues that are important and relevant is measured and well thought out. There is no cowboy there.
The Obamas are adults. Who cares if HRC is manly or womanly enough to be POTUS? How about being an adult? How about displaying an actual range of emotions in front of a camera? I had the pleasure of meeting HRC in Brooklyn, NY back in 2005, and it was great. She was personable and funny. She was engaging, and she seemed genuinely interested in the work that I do (historic preservation), and understanding of the need for the preservation movement to be more diverse. Yet, when she stood at that podium a few minutes after that meeting, it was as though the person I'd just met retreated. The change was subtle, evident and disappointing. Adults have a range of emotions that do not require cameras or audiences to determine which one to display on call. Barack Obama strikes me as an individual who is both tough and sensative, just like an adult.
Each of the position papers that Obama has presented are well researched, reasoned and understandable considering the disparate nature of the various issues our country faces. I am ready for an intellectual to be at the helm. I am ready for an adult to run the country.
I would be lying if I didn't say that it does give me a huge sense of pride that an African American is seriously in the race for POTUS. That is not to diss Jackson or Sharpton, but they were never my cup of tea. I think it speaks volumes for our nation. It makes me proud all over again to be an American.
I look forward to an exciting primary season. I want Obama to step up his game. The HRC inevitability factor needs to be challenged heartily. But in the end, I am just glad that I lived to see the day when one of the major parties in the United States actually reflected the aspects of the diversity of this nation in its POTUS candidates. That is a part of the reason why I am a former member of the GOP (and don't fret, it was a single semester membership).
Obama in '08.