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Why I Voted for Barack Obama

Last week I broke my policy of not talking politics on this blog and to my surprise in the last few days I have been feeling a tug to do so again. Through the process leading up to this election I have kept quiet about my views and had no intention of sharing them. However, as we’ve got closer to election day, my passion and excitement has been growing, and over the weekend through the course of some self-reflection I arrived at a different stance.

This truly is the most important election of my lifetime and a lot is at stake. Although initially I thought the election had no place on this blog because it is not related to theme of holistic living, I realized over the last couple days that really isn’t true.

Those of us who live a holistic or natural health lifestyle are constantly faced with a variety of political issues that have a powerful impact on our choices now and in the future. For example, the FDA is controlled by the pharmaceutical companies and they are constantly trying to take away our rights to use nutritional supplements and herbs. The EPA and the FDA are controlled by the chemical industry and they continue to allow us to be exposed to toxic environmental hazards in our food, air, water etc. on a daily basis and then, of course, there is global warming and all the devastation that it entails.

First and foremost, I will say that I am a firm Democrat with strong Democratic values, so voting Republican is just not an option for me, no matter what. To be completely honest, before the presidential debates, my heart was not truly behind our candidate, Barack Obama, and I felt I had to vote for him for lack of a better choice and commitment to my party and values.

I had some serious concerns and doubts about his experience and character. I’m ashamed to say, that to some degree I was influenced by some of the half-truths and blatant lies that have floated around the Internet and I felt a sense of mistrust. I wasn’t sure he had the skill and competency to lead our country. During the primaries I was uncomfortable with his style, because it felt like he was preaching to us instead of talking to us.

However, in the last month, all of that has changed and all of my fears and doubts have been put to rest. When I cast my ballot for Barack Obama last week, I did so with pride and confidence in my choice. After the first presidential debate, I realized I had made a hasty decision about Barack Obama without getting to know him or having all the facts. I was totally impressed with the man I saw before me. He is clearly strong, competent, wise, thoughtful and reflective in regard to all the issues we face as a nation and in the manner in which he approaches the job. I watched each debate with increasing excitement for our candidate and by the end I felt he demonstrated great leadership skills, integrity and impressive character. He has handled himself and his campaign with style and grace.

John McCain, on the other hand, demonstrated the exact opposite. With his eye rolling, smirking and rude interruptions in every debate, he came across as childish, lacking in self-control and unprofessional. Even if we put his political views aside, this is not presidential material. He almost came across less presidential than George Bush, and that’s pretty hard to accomplish.

Before this presidential campaign, I respected John McCain, and felt that if a republican had to win, I would rather it be him than anyone else. However, that is no longer the case. I think the way he has handled himself throughout this campaign, the messages he carries and his choice for a vice presidential candidate are shameful. His position and proposed solutions on all the issues that we face clearly demonstrate that he is the one who doesn’t “understand.” He has exercised poor judgment, an inability to see the issues clearly and impulsiveness in every area of this campaign.

Barack Obama, on the other hand has a strong grasp on reality and what needs to be done. As the Anchorage Daily News ,who endorsed him, put so beautifully “he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand.”

Yes, as a woman, it would be great to have a woman hold such a powerful and influential position, however Sarah Palin is not the woman for the job; she would be a step backwards for all that women have fought so hard to achieve. Her behavior is an embarrassment to women like myself. Being attractive, charming, dressing pretty, wearing lipstick, winking at the audience, using your sex appeal on camera, being a hockey mom, having a son in the military and having a special needs child does not make you qualified for the second highest position in our country. It’s an insult to intelligent American women and exhibits blatant disrespect from the republican party towards women. Sarah Palin consciously allowed herself to be used by the republican party on the status of her gender alone. Although, we can’t know her reasoning for certain, we can only assume the she did so because it would catapult her political career. However, that seems to have backfired as it has become undeniably clear that she is in way over her head and now many of us are even questioning whether she is qualified to even be a governor, let alone the vice president.

Again, to be completely honest, as a passionate subscriber to green living and natural health, I don’t see the awareness I think we need to see to address these issues adequately in any potential presidential candidate, except perhaps Al Gore. However, Senator Obama is at least on the right trail in some respects and knowing that he is a man of intelligence, character and integrity, who gives each issue thoughtful analysis, I think our chances of having him in our corner more often and seeing improvement in this area are very good. The ignorance that John McCain and Sarah Palin display on the issue of the environment is not only frightening, but appalling. John McCain and Sarah Palin would be detrimental and dangerous not only to our environment, but to women and our country in every way.

Our country is a real mess in many ways, I don’t know that anyone can fix it completely, however, I feel Barack Obama has the ability to achieve the transformation we need that will enable us to make great progress and certainly won’t drive us any further into the hole that the current administration has dug. He has a sincere and honest heart and will listen to the people and work with us. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like the presidential candidate was on the “we” level instead of the “me” level.

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