succumbing to peer pressure

Friday, February 01, 2008

Getting all emotional about politics (again)

In discussing the upcoming primaries (and my rapidly-approaching need to make a decision) with Eli (a long and ardent Obama supporter) I was saying how I worried that my decision may come down to a gut reaction. My grand plan is to spend the weekend reading all about both Clinton and Obama, but I feel that a) in general their policies are quite similar, and b) where they differ, they both possess potential deal breakers for me (her record on Iraq, his potential to be wrong about healthcare mandates).

But then I think about the last two Democratic debates, and am filled with this unexpected feeling - hope. Perhaps the last four years have just beaten me down more than I care to admit, perhaps I've been so brainwashed that I no longer accurately remember the Gore and Kerry campaigns, but I have been genuinely, pleasantly surprised by the language employed and topics covered by both Obama and Clinton (thanks in large part to influence on them both by Edwards). Have I really been treated over the past several weeks to political dialogue about the moral atrocity of poverty? About ideas like social justice and human dignity? While I was pounding my head against the conservative wall that has become this country, has the Democratic party really become (gasp!) progressive? Maybe I've been living in Georgia for too long, or reading too many comments over at PeachPundit, but the fact that I could live out my West Wing fantasy* of caring about a candidate, of being inspired and moved by a candidate...well, it's almost too much to hope for.

*"Because I'm tired of it: year after year after year after year having to choose between the lesser of who cares. Of trying to get myself excited about a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low, I can hardly bear to look at it. They say a good man can't get elected President. I don't believe that. Do you?"


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