Here's why I'm voting for Barack Obama. I see him introducing Politics 2.0, in word and in deed, an end to the partisan bickering and gridlock.
Just wait until he introduces Government 2.0.
A quote from his second book "The Audacity of Hope:"
Maybe the critics are right. Maybe there's no escaping our great political divide, an endless clash of armies, where any attempt to alter the rules of engagement is futile.
Or maybe the trivialization of politics has reached a point of no return, so that most people see it as just one more diversion, a sport, with politicians as our paunch-bellied gladiators, and those who bother to pay attention, just fans on the sidelines. We paint our faces red or blue and cheer our side and boo their side, and if it takes a late hit or cheap shot to beat the other team -- so be it. For winning is all that matters.
But I don't think so.
They are out there, I think to myself, those ordinary citizens who've grown up in the midst of all the political and cultural battles but who've found a way, in their own lives at least, to make peace with their neighbors. And themselves.
I imagine the white southerner, who, growing up, heard his dad talk about niggers this and niggers that, but has struck up a friendship with the black guys at the office and is trying to teach his own son different; who thinks that discrimination is wrong, but doesn't see how the son of a black doctor should get admitted into law school ahead of his own son.
Or the former Black Panther, who decided to go into real estate, bought a few buildings in the neighborhood, and is just as tired of the drug dealers in front of those buildings as he is of the bankers who won't give him a loan to expand his business.
There's the middle-age feminist who still mourns her abortion, and the Christian woman who paid for her teenager's abortion, and the millions of waitresses, and temp secretaries and nurses' assistants and Wal-Mart associates who hold their breath every single month in the hope that they'll have enough money to support the children that they did bring into the world.
I imagine that they are waiting for a politics with the maturity to balance idealism and realism, to distinguish between what can and what cannot be compromised, to admit the possibility that the other side might sometimes have a point. They don't always understand the arguments between right and left, conservative and liberal, but they recognize the difference between dogma and common sense, responsibility and irresponsibility. Between those things that last, and those that are fleeting.
They are out there, I think, waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.