Monday, January 28, 2008

My Quandry

The absentee ballot sits on what I call "the wolf table," a small, multi-colored, folk-arty cabinet that sits at the top of my stairs and collects keys and cell phones and loose change and assorted bits of memorabilia. It's called the wolf table because on the cabinet door is a painted metal animal that is more likely a coyote. Why it ended up being called the wolf table is lost to memory.

But fauna is not the point here. The ballot is the point. How to fill it out is the point. Specifically, which Democratic presidential candidate will get my check mark. Since Joe Biden has left the race, the person I felt was most qualified to lead the country is no longer an option. John Edwards can't win, it seems (and I never really trusted him), which leaves me choosing between Barack and Hillary.

I loved Bill Clinton. Loved having a very smart man at the helm. Loved having a savvy politician guiding his way through the murk of Washington. Even though Bill isn't the candidate, I -- like so many others -- think a vote for Hillary is also a vote for Bill. What better counselor could a first-time president have than a successful two-term president. Not only that, one you can consult even when you're in the shower or flossing your teeth.

But I don't like Hillary. I don't like the campaign she is running. And I don't like the way she and Bill dumped gay people overboard after we rowed like crazy to help bring them into port. They brought us "don't ask, don't tell," and he happily signed the odious "Defense of Marriage" Act.

That leaves me with Barack. He inspires me. He talks about the same sort of unifying politics I spoke of when I began this blog. Every time he's been given an opportunity to dip into partisanship, he seems to have taken the high road. I like what he has to say about a president's duty to inspire the country, to lift us all up and motivate us to come together to make our nation greater.

My worry is whether he has the experience to actually make his vision real. More important, my worry is whether he is too liberal from an economic point of view.

As my mom says, "I just don't like any of them."

That said, I think that ballot on the wolf table is probably going to get a mark next to Barack Obama's name. I'd rather have someone who inspires me that someone who frightens me. And I love the message we send to the world if we elect a man named Barack Hussein Obama to our highest office. That, I think, will do more to heal the wounds Bush has created over the past 7+ years than anything else I can think of. (Except maybe sending W himself to reconstruct Iraq with his own hands -- and all the money he and his cronies have stolen from the American people.

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