You should not vote for Obama or McCain based on what it would prove to anyone else. Even if that someone else is our allies or our enemies. An Al Qaeda supporter recently endorsed John McCain on a known Al Qaeda website (how can we not find these guys -- how many computer terminals could there be in a cave in North Waziristan?). But who gives a damn who Al Qaeda wants you to support in their twisted mind?
And as much as I admire some of our strong allies in Western Europe or Israel or Saudi Arabia (okay, I don't really admire our allies in Saudi Arabia), I would never vote based on what they think. You should obviously make your decision based on the merits of each candidate's positions on the important issues.
Having said that, boy could we prove the rest of the world wrong (and ironically, make them happy at the same time) by electing Barack Obama? I can't tell you how many friends have called from overseas saying, "Come on, do you naïve people in America really believe Barack Obama is going to win?" One friend incredulously asked over the weekend, "Do you think there is any way that America elects a black man for president?!" Let alone one named Barack Obama?
They don't believe we have it in us. That's an important statement. They don't believe in America. They think we have fake ideals and use our purported American values as a guise to steal other people's natural resources. They think we are now -- and always have been -- run by the George W. Bush's of the world. They think John McCain is exactly that type of man and the powers that be are going to make sure he wins no matter what.
Think about that. They don't even quite believe in our democracy. So, there's one question remaining: Are we going to prove them right or wrong?
Will America be grand, majestic and real enough to elect Barack Hussein Obama seven years after 9/11 and five years after we invaded Iraq topple Saddam Hussein? Can America really be that open-minded? That magnificent?
Can we really judge someone by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin? Can we really elect a man with a Muslim sounding name in the middle of two wars we started in two Muslim countries? Can we put aside superficialities to elect the most competent man no matter what his name or race is? Are we big enough to do that?
Conservatives see this and recoil. His name must prove that he is not one of us. They view that as a reason to vote against him rather than a reason to vote for him (as I explained above, I don't think it's either). They are scared. They want to cling to the traditions, races and names of the past.
But America is better than that. The world is wrong. We always push for change and progress. We do mean what we say. Of course, we don't always live up to our best traditions (not even close), but we always push forward.
We built the United Nations. We rebuilt our enemies after World War II. We changed to give every person the right to vote. We changed to give every citizen civil rights. There are always blips along the way (some larger than others), but it is my contention that we do the right thing in the end.
Well, in this case, the end is seven days away. What will we do? Will we prove ourselves and our ideals? Or will we get scared and retreat to the past? The world is watching. Incredulously. They don't believe.
Will we make believers out of them?
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