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52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #47, I'm a Democrat

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Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

OK, I admit it. I'm a partisan. One hundred percent Democrat, through and through. I've only voted for one Republican my whole life -- Rudy Giuliani for mayor of New York, the second time around. And boy did I live to regret it! I'm not making that mistake again. I bleed blue and I love donkeys. Obama, I'm yours.

But it wasn't always this way. Back when I was a little kid, I was a Republican, like my father. From the time I was five years old, I was obsessed with politics and with Richard Nixon. I remember my dad going to the '72 inauguration; I wanted to go so badly. I must have flipped through that little blue program he brought back a hundred times.

Fast-forward to 1976. I had a big poster of Gerald Ford hanging on my bedroom door. I was ten years old. Sitting on the floor beside my folks, I kept track of the delegate counts during the state-by-state roll call as I watched both conventions. I remember the brief excitement in the hall when it was rumored that Reagan would be on the ticket.

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Then suddenly, everything changed. It was January 20, 1977, Inauguration Day, and we watched from a balcony as President Jimmy Carter walked down Pennsylvania Avenue that crisp winter afternoon. In that moment, everything started to make sense. My political consciousness was born. I remember arguing politics with my great-uncle Sam a year or two later. "Bernie," he said. "Just wait till you get older; then you'll become a Republican." Sorry Uncle Sam, not a chance.

I found growing up as a teenager under Ronald Reagan oppressive. At seventeen I ran as a Gary Hart delegate, and went on to manage a big volunteer operation for Walter Mondale during my first semester at Brown. I was so naïve I thought he actually might pull off an upset. Courtesy of a classmate whose father was running for president, I spent winter break of my senior year in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Five months later I started working full-time for the Dukakis campaign. When Bush won later that year, I kept my promise to leave the country, and signed up for the Peace Corps, serving for two years in Senegal.

When I returned, in the summer of '91, I had already decided to support Bill Clinton, a little-known governor who I had heard speak (for a long time, I might add) at the 1988 Democratic convention. I was fortunate enough to work for him from just after the fall of Congress in 1994 through the end of his term, as well as on Hillary Clinton's first run for the Senate in 2000 and the early part of Gore's presidential campaign. An ardent Hillary supporter, I took to the airwaves in 2008 to argue her case, and when Obama triumphed, I quickly took up his cause and have been advocating for him ever since.

Somewhere along the way I even managed to convince my father to switch sides, at least most of the time. Now I've just got to work on my son.

I encourage you to join in the conversation and share your thoughts on Reason #47 or your own reasons by visiting 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama on Facebook... I'd love to hear from you!

To purchase a copy of 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama, visit Amazon.