Why I Voted for Our President

Happy Inauguration Day!  Our school announced it would be closed just last week, so we get to stay home (second quarter grades were still due in by noon, though -- gotta love online grading, where you're always accountable.)

I watched every major speech Obama gave during his long, slow rise to power, but I didn't see any of them live.  I just never happened to be free then, or near a TV (we don't own one.)  Today I was planning to go to my parents' to watch; but when I checked the NYTimes website, it had a live feed that was quite clear and streamed through with very few hiccups.  It also had the advantage of being QUIET.  The only things I heard are things I would have heard if I had actually been there: cheering, music, polite applause, and of course the words of those on the stage.  I can only imagine how annoying it must have been to have commentators rattling off statistics about Michelle's dress and Cheney's medication levels.

As a registered Republican and someone who identifies more with the Libertarian Party than just about any other, I thought I would take a moment to defend my vote, which I cast proudly for our new President.

My reasons, in order from least to greatest, are below:

  • Protest. I voted for Bush twice.  I felt he and the Republican party behaved completely contrary to the principles of CONSERVatism.  They didn't conserve anything -- money, resources or energy.  They spent just as wastefully as Democrats do.  So, I figured, a Democrat couldn't possibly be worse!  And I enjoyed thinking about my name in the category of "Republicans who voted for Obama."  I sincerely hope my party takes the next eight years to regroup and emerges stronger and more conservative than ever, and if they do, my vote will be back in their camp.

  • The speech. He gave many great ones, but I'm speaking of the speech he gave after all that nonsense about Jeremiah Wright.  I was moved to tears several times, and for me, it was the antidote to the night I walked out of "Crash," also in tears, and thought, "Our country will never move past racism.  Never."  To hear him speak honestly and frankly about the demons in his past, on both sides of the black-white divide and beyond, was freeing, and from that moment I began to believe that with his help, we could actually heal and move forward.

  • My bishop. I was in an agony of indecision for several weeks after Obama won the nomination.  Could I really cast a vote for someone who was more pro-abortion than any candidate in history?  In the end, though, my bishop settled the question for me when he reminded us all that there is no perfect candidate, nor no "right" candidate for Christians, and that we should choose whomever we thought would be the better leader for our country.

  • Jed Bartlet. My friend Terry refers to The West Wing as "soft porn for liberals." Set in the Clinton era, it told of a president who couldn't have resembled Clinton less: principled, devout, loyal to his family and in love with his wife, cool-headed but prone to righteous indignation at only the most appropriate times.  My sister owns all 7 seasons on DVD, and as she finished one I'd borrow it and stay up all night watching the fast-paced dialogue move through crisis after crisis.  After Season 1, I started telling my friends that if Jed Bartlet ever ran for president, I'd vote for him.  Although I disagreed with him on just about every policy, I reasoned, he was a good man.  That would be enough.  A good man could do a lot.

I didn't go downtown today because, to be honest, I feared for my life between the weather and the crowds.  But now, I really wish I had gone.  At least I was one of the 8 million people who were there in spirit, basking in the cool glow of computer screens.