Well, with the election right around the corner, I have a feeling this thing may still end up being much more of a nail biter than the media would have us believe.
I read a friend of mine's blog last night, and she talked about describing the presidential race to her little boys by way of comparison to the David and Goliath story, with, in her version, McCain being equated with David and Obama with Goliath (needless to say, my friend comes down more on the conservative side of the political spectrum than I do).
But after getting a bit of a chuckle over her anecdote, it made me stop, think, and wonder about how many other people see the race in the same way that my friend does. Even moreso, it made me think about how much this country has changed over the last couple of decades. We're now at the point where a black man with three and a half years of Senate experience is seen as a Goliath who's threatening small, heroic John McCain? McCain is a white male from a well-connected family who's been in the Senate for over 20 years and who's running on behalf of a party who's held the White House for the last 8 years and controlled the legislature for 6 of the last 8! Obama favors health plans which will insure more of the nation than McCain's, a tax plan which would benefit far more people in this country than McCain's (and yes, that includes small businesses- few of which make over the $250,000 a year necessary to bump them into a higher paying tax bracket), and economic recovery plans which give incentives to companies that keep jobs in the U.S rather than shipping them overseas (a benefit to American workers that won't be seen under McCain's plan).
Anyway, the David and Goliath thing just killed me because even though I know it was mostly a reference to the lead given to Obama in recent polling numbers, it seems to me that Obama's entire campaign has been about protecting the middle class and "the little guy", while McCain is all about tax cuts for the wealthy and for big business along with continued deregulation. McCain is still proceeding under the "ownership society", trickle down economics model, acting as though helping big corporations and the wealthy is enough to translate into a better standard of living for the rest of the country.
And there could not be a stronger refutation of these trickle down theories than the failures of the Republicans over the last eight years (as jobs have been shipped overseas and income disparities in this country have continued to grow at an alarming rate), including our current economic meltdown (note: I'm not saying that supply side economic theories have absolutely no merit, but the idea that American workers and middle class families will survive and thrive through the use of unregulated free markets and trickle down economics alone just doesn't hold much water anymore).
We need change. We need someone who will not be content to sit back and say that the American economy is strong and everything is going fine while American workers continue to contend with the outsourcing of jobs, salaries being reduced, and benefits (including insurance) being cut, all while wealth continues to "trickle up" to the wealthiest members of our society (and no- I don't hate rich people, but I just think the basic needs of workers shouldn't go unmet while the wealthiest among us get even richer, often off of the product of middle to lower class American labor).
McCain keeps launching attacks against Obama, saying that he's a socialist who wants to "spread the wealth around", but when it came time to give $700 billion of government money to Wall Street firms in order to shore up big business, McCain didn't bat an eye in handing that money out. Once again, it's not so much about the redistribution of wealth for McCain as it is about making sure that the money flows to the right places (which for McCain will always mean to big business and to the wealthy).
Even McCain's symbolic everyman, his "Joe the Plumber", is essentially a fictional character who works as a plumber and makes over $250,000 a year (the actual Joe the Plumber had never actually owned or operated a plumbing business- something like 95% of real plumbers make less than $50,000 a year and would do much better under the Obama tax plan). This is the person that John McCain claims to want to help- a fictional, run of the mill, middle class worker who makes over $250,000 a year. The real people that John McCain wants to help are big businesses and our wealthiest citizens. They make up his base, and they're who he represents- which is ok, but I just wish he would be honest about it.
Anyway, Obama is running his half hour TV spot tonight and making his "closing argument", so I guess, in a way, this is probably mine.
I think John McCain is a good man, but I think he represents policies and theories which are outmoded, and which have proven to be ineffective. I think that if he's voted in to office we're going to see the continuing growth of a radical divide in this country between the rich and the poor with a continually shrinking middle class. I think McCain will continue to extend the war in Iraq far beyond what is necessary, and in the process he will continue to spend tremendous amounts of our nation's resources in a conflict that we never should have gotten embroiled in in the first place, all at a time when we desperately need those resources for everything from healthcare to education to maintaining our national infrastructure (those levees down in New Orleans could still use a lot of work, people).
It's time to move forward with someone who will represent change, not only to the American people, but to the world. We need to regain international trust and rebuild relationships with our allies and potential allies. We need to be willing to have discussions with potentially hostile nations, but with a sense of resolve that lets them know that we are unwilling to waiver on issues of democracy, civil rights, national security, and other core beliefs. The willingness to have a discussion does not equal a showing of weakness. Discussions, in fact, can help potential enemies understand the strength and willpower of the enemy they face. The willingness to listen demonstrates judiciousness, fairness, and a lack of ethnocentrism. These are qualities that we would do well to demonstrate on the world stage at the moment.
So that's it. Vote Obama. I kind of think he's crazy for wanting the job with all of the problems our country is facing, but if he's willing to take it on, I'm willing to support the man and stand behind him.