I have always been Republican and proud of it. Granted, I consider myself to be a very liberal Republican (no overturning of Roe v. Wade on my schedule but wouldn't catch me attending a pro-choice rally either) but still, quite elephant-like in my political leanings. I guess I've always attributed Democratic qualities to slackers, twirlers (my pet name for the Deadheads & other such concert going, spinning-in-front-of-the-stage-until-I-want-to-puke-and-I'm-only-watching-them folk my husband used to hang with) and people who didn't know any better. And then came Senator Barack Obama.
The man inspires me. Listening to him speak gives me goose bumps. I listen to his speeches. The simplest of them are expansive and global yet appeal directly to the small town heart in each of us. Everyone talks about his charisma. He certainly has that. Long before the Kennedy's jumped on his band wagon I had been telling Daddy-O that Barack Obama reminded me of how everyone talked of JFK's charismatic presence. (Bah, on all that Clinton = Camelot hooey! Although the Clinton White House could certainly have used a few more chastity belts!)
Daddy-O has been skeptical and very slow to come around.
Oh, I also like the man's politics. Mostly, I love that he's a different kind of politician. I like that he thinks Americans are smart enough to be told the truth about what it takes to run a Country. And that he wants us to know that truth. And best of all, that he believes that once armed with knowledge, we Americans will make the right decisions for our Country and for ourselves.
There is a hidden benefit to that kind of empowerment. Ownership. Ownership of our political system. Ownership of our Country. Ownership of our future. Ownership of our present. Perhaps that mutual ownership is all that's needed to bridge the racial divide that splits our country? This is the only country in the world with hyphenated titles: African-American, Mexican-American, Cuban-American. I've never heard anyone call themselves a Canadian-American or an Australian-American. Perhaps when there is more Trust and Ownership in our political system everyone living here will actually feel that this is home. Maybe then we will all just be Americans.
Can one man do that? Can Barack Obama restore the people's faith in government? Can he cut through the decades of deceit and half-truths that have grown from the seeds sown during Watergate? Can he bridge the divide between the blue & the red? The elephants and the donkeys? Can he do it? I don't know. But I know that when I think of listening to him speak for the next four years as President of the United States I feel warm inside, and safe, as if all things are possible if we only believe.