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Why I am Voting for Obama

On Facebook, my friend Dan asked me this question:

I think you know I respect you and your opinions perhaps even more than any of my friends. I've seen and talk to you about different subjects over many years and always found you insightful and intelligent. Now the meaning of intelligent is not necessarily easy to define… never-the-less I love and respect you. So tell me what is it that you know about Obama that made you decide to speak out for him?

I do weigh my right to vote as a serious responsibility, and I vote based on my moral philosophy and whatever rationality and reason I can muster. Voting on ballot initiatives, in a way, is much easier-- one is voting on the exact words. Sure, you can't always see how those words will be interpreted, but at least the ballot won't change the wording after becoming law.

In choosing a candidate, we are voting more on a expected morality than anything else. How is that person going to respond to the challenges we will face in the future. I used to have more "faith" in our entire system and felt that specific candidates couldn't do too much damage. I was really wrong on that.

So while I think long and hard about my candidates, the weight is heavier. So, let me list out some of the top reasons that influence my decision and why I've decided to vote for Obama.

  1. Limited influence from Special Interest Groups and Lobbyists. Like lots of others, I'm concerned about Washington corruption and the stomping of the rights of the majority of Americans. A good start is to stop letting SIGs, Lobbyists and Big Corporations have such a large "say" in political matters.

    As I mentioned before, even the DNC won't take such money now (also, see this op-ed piece). This act speaks volumes to me.

  2. Science-based / Evidence-based. I'm surprised that this ranks as high as it does as it shouldn't even be an issue. I expect my politicians not to trust the "voices in their heads", but instead looks for facts and evidence to base their policies. Bush's faith-based leadership started this war, and McCain's choice of running mate wants to continue it.

  3. Honesty / Integrity. After 8 years of lies that make Clinton's lies look even more paltry, I want more honesty in my leaders. Granted, I doubt any politician can function with complete integrity, and I'm under no delusion here. But, I want to at least push for it.

    And here is a big difference for me. McCain has made quite a laundry list of lies and misrepresentations. Granted, there are always gaffes and mistakes, but McCain, who in the 2000 election cycle seemed quite honest, has really soiled himself. Yes, I have gone through Obama's 50 Lies that was circulating around the internets.

  4. Cosmopolitan Perspective. The economy and the environment are global issues, not just American concerns. As such, we need to work with every one in the world to fight poverty, war, disease, famine and environmental issues. We need a leader that loves and works for America, but does so by working with other nations and treating others as equals, not pawns on a political chess game.

    In this particular case, I put both men on equal footing. Obama certainly has a cosmopolitan background and his recent world trip played favorably for me.

  5. Tolerates Diversity. America is and has always been a nation bound and based on an idea… not a culture, religion or common ancestry.

    This idea is that everyone is tolerated and has a voice in our government. So fringe groups like gays and atheists should be part of our political process.

    I suppose now my liberal-ness is showing, and my moral philosophy of compassion towards minorities leads me away from the Republican party. But this is just one data point in many.

  6. Experience. I want my leader to have experience, and here is certainly where McCain excels over Obama. I guess in politics, you never get what you really want, and you have make concessions and trade-offs.

    But one can compensate for individual experience by surrounding oneself with experts in different fields. Of course, we don't know who will be in the cabinet before the election, but we can get some indication.

    Incidentally, when Bush, Jr. took office, I had better hope for his administration based on some of the members of his cabinet. If you don't listen to dissenting voices, I suppose a good cabinet won't help.

For me, this race is quite close as I feel both men are good men who want the best for America. But weighing the options, I find Obama to be the better choice, and here is the short list of my reasons. I would love to hear your reasons and your "voting philosophy".

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I don't disagree with one thing you said, And to get into a discussion about he said, she said, they said would be useless.

What our problems might well be is believing what the spinners say. How much of what's written or what's said about each of the candidates do we really know is accurate.

Anyway for me it comes down to a principle I believe in strongly. The federal government has proven time and time again untrustworthy to handle money wisely. Yes, I agree some programs can only be handled by the federal government, but when it can be handled by the states and the counties, (locally) I believe its an easier task to run herd on small government.

It comes down to the original platform of the two parties. The Republicans being more in favor of keeping the money in the states and counties while the Democrats wanted the money in Washington where they could administer their programs.

Do I believe its working that way or that its going to change with McCain. Yes, I believe McCain is more dedicated to this concept than Obama. I believe Obama is looking to increase government spending perhaps half as much as McCain.

Here's where the discussion really can get interesting… What about healthcare, what about education, what about seniors prescriptions? Do we not care? Is the government a deep well we can just draw from as needed?




_That is exactly what this election should be about … the issues. Both candidates should put forth their proposed policies and opinions, and we should vote on that. I remember a golden age of American Politics where that was the case. However, honesty and intelligence are not a given, and is something I have to place at a high priority.

Now about the size of government, I agree. I sure do miss the Republican party. You know the party I'm referring to… the party of conservatives-- *Fiscal conservatives* . that is. Yeah, I liked the fight between Democrats with their social programs and Republicans who would say that it cost too much. We haven't had those sorts of politics since 1980. As I mentioned before , the Republicans are not about small government anymore.

But FDR set up on a course of a large federal government, and I don't see us going back to those golden days. So assuming we have to live with a big government, what is the best way of allocating our resources? Well, if it was up to me, I'd pull out of these useless wars and gut the military industrial complex. The extra money would be spent funding science and alternative energy research (especially fruit flies). But that those are the easy ones.

Let's talk about the purpose of government. One of its main principles is to manage the "common ground". We all share roads, so having the government maintain them is agreeable to most of us. Sure, private contractors could do a better job, and it would be nice to "have a choice" in the roads that we choose. But I think we all agree that is a "common" area for all of us. So regulation of the environment, water and air quality, etc. falls into this camp.

Then there is the "common interests", and this is where education, science and research comes into play. I want my neighbor's kids to be well educated, because statistically, a well educated person has a lower level of violent crimes and that can affect me. Science and research ends up benefiting many people and industries, and I want to support that as well.