Let me get this right out there: today I am voting for Barack Obama. I hope that you won’t stop reading if you’re a McCain supporter because I am not about to try and influence your vote. Nor I am about to defend my vote. I only ask that you will respect my decision. Because lately I’m feeling downright disrespected.
I don’t talk about it much on the blog but I am a political junkie. I listen to talk radio, I read political blogs, I talk about politics with my family and friends a lot. I make my decisions based on issues that matter to me and on values that I support. I do my research and I pick my sides. And I get mad and passionate and fierce when I have to defend my beliefs.
In the last few weeks I have been called anti-American. I have been called an over-educated liberal from New England. I have been called stupid and I have been accused of drinking the Kool Aid. The other day someone actually said to me, “Go on ahead and vote for the black guy just so you can feel good about yourself. But if you have a mortgage and bills to pay then you’re going to vote for John McCain.” I was pretty furious and I lashed out. I said that of course I have a mortgage and bills to pay. And I said my vote for Obama has nothing to do with having a mortgage. My vote for Obama has to do with the issues I deem important. Because the things that matter to me most – a strong economy, paying fair taxes, universal health care, a woman’s right to choose – most closely match with Obama’s views.
My choice has absolutely nothing to do with the color of Obama’s skin – I’d vote for him if he was purple. My choice isn’t because I distrust John McCain or feel Sarah Palin is unqualified. It isn’t because of 8 years of George Bush or Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. It’s not about the war in Iraq or the No Banker Left Behind Act. Do those things factor into my decision? To quote Sarah Palin, “you betcha!” But are they the overriding factors? Absolutely not.
And here’s the bottom line: my choice is my choice. Just as your choice is your choice. And I will defend your choice just as fiercely as I defend my own. All I ask is that we discuss things with mutual respect and understanding. I have several close friends who are voting for McCain and we have had many conversations about this election. We don’t agree but we listen to each other. And then we let it go. And we talk about knitting or restaurants or television shows. We talk about our kids and our home improvement projects and our mutual friends. We all have much more we agree about than we disagree about.
Other than the obvious – a clear and decisive victory for Obama – I have one other thing I’d like to see happen when this election is over. I’d like to see us all move forward and let go of the anger. No more name calling, no more finger pointing, no more hatred. Even if we don’t all agree on how to get there we all want what’s best for America. Right?
So go out there and vote. Watch the returns. Root for your candidate. Celebrate if he wins. Cry if he loses. And then move on. Tomorrow morning we’ll still all be Americans. And this will go back to being a knitting blog.