Last night, as I tried to explain the two candidates to Mrs. TAE, it dawned on me that I had a rather easy decision to make.
The problem I have been having is that I see Sen. McCain as a fairly moderate Republican and Sen. Obama as a fairly moderate Democrat. It was hard for me to identify a single issue I considered important on which they diverged that could polarize me to vote one way or another.
But last night it finally dawned on me (when I was trying to explain "Joe the Plumber" and McCain's tax plan vs. Obama's tax plan) that there is a simple way to separate them.
Mr McCain is genuinely looking out for all Americans as individuals. Mr. Obama is genuinely looking out for Americans as a collective unit.
The way I see it, Sen. Obama's tax plan may hurt some people's pocketbooks more than Senator McCain's tax plan will. But by and large, it seems to me that the ideology of Sen. Obama is one of good for all Americans in general, not individually. Senator Obama wants the country as a whole to be a better place, while Senator McCain's ideology seems to be that he wants as many individual Americans as possible to have a better life.*
For me, that made the decision easy. If my instincts on the two men are correct, then a person in my situation (that is, an undecided voter 4 days before the election) would be voting for McCain out of selfishness, and not patriotism. The choice to vote for Obama, though I do not make it lightly, nor especially happily, has become the most logical choice.
There is another thought, however, that arose in me this morning. The idea that my 1 year old daughter could become an adult in a world where a black President was completely normal is an enticing idea for me. My parents grew up in a country that had just erased segregation around the time they were born, and if, in 50 years, we've gone from there to a black President, maybe I can be little more optimistic about this country.
As a parent, I have quickly stopped worrying about things that happen during my lifetime, and instead have instinctively begun focusing on things that will happen during the lifetime of my children.
The idea that my daughter wouldn't be able to understand what life was like before we had a black President warms my heart. It gives me hope that maybe my granddaughter won't be able to understand what life was like when we had cancer. It gives me hope that my great-granddaughter will wonder what life was like when we had war. It gives me hope that my progeny, many generations down the road, will wonder what life was like when people lived on Earth.
It would be such an ironic twist that the Bush Legacy might not be Iraq, or Katrina, or The Bailout, or any number of failures. The Bush Legacy could very well be that his incompetence, his consistent bullheaded ignorance of the will of the people, and especially his (and his friends') arrogance pushed this country so far to the left that he has paved the way for the single most radical act of my lifetime. I saw footage on FoxNews of elderly black women standing in line to vote for Senator Obama and laughing and giving each other "high-five." I can't imagine raising my daughter in a world without moments like that.
When I look into the face of my daughter I realize I absolutely must vote for Senator Obama.