Matt's opinion

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I'm all in

Folks, I'm about to do something I've never done before. I am giving my full and unwavering support to the jr. Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, for the office of president of The United States in 2008. I would encourage everyone to listen to what Sen. Obama's comments regarding the exploratory committee and his future plans by clicking on the link below.

Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because this is the first time I feel so strongly that a particular candidate can not only win the election, but be a great president. In 2004 I paid attention to the primary races but did not get involved because I didn't really see profound policy differences in any of the viable candidates and when Kerry was nominated I only gave half-hearted support because (let's face it) he was a pompous idiot. This time around is completely different.

What makes Obama presidential material? Well, a lot of things, but I want to focus specifically on his sound judgment and real world grounding. I was really impressed with the description in his book on how he carefully approaches issues, finds the underlying problems creating a particular issue, and then his approach to policy or other changes he believes necessary to address the issue. This kind of straightforward yet thoughtful process to decision making is something that is currently lacking right now in how we approach politics now a days. Obama's approach to politics could actually start a thought provoking national conversation on hard issues like abortion, poverty, race, and faith in spite of the current trend of divisiveness and talking heads shouting at each other until everyone simply changes the channel. I think his thought process is in large part due to circumstances and issues he dealt with as an organizer and civil rights lawyer on the South side of Chicago. He's been through the hard knocks of life, just like anybody else, and was able to stay humble throughout his previous campaigns in and service for the people of Illinois.

Beyond all the politics and excitement of the moment I'm supporting Obama for a far more personal reason. Obama's life story so far is one I identify with on a personal level. There are a few parallels, like his parents splitting while he was young (although my father was around one night a week and every other weekend);and his moving to several different locations throughout his early years (I lived in 3 states and at least 5 different homes before graduating high school, but I never made it to Africa or Indonesia). But more importantly his life so far exemplifies what I think I want mine to be. To be able to make a difference in the world and yet still have a close knit family and social network keeping my moral compass straight. We can all be idealists right? At least in the blog-o-sphere anyway.

Link to Obama's statement: http://www.barackobama.com/video/youtube/index.php

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