Gobama! The Lions’ Den Makes an Endorsement

This ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on February 5, 2008.

As a member of the California Green Party I will not be choosing between casting a vote for an African American candidate or a woman candidate when I participate in the great civic event that will be Super Tuesday. I will be voting for Cynthia McKinney, a former member of congress from Georgia who happens to be both African American and a woman. She is the most experienced and the most inspirational candidate on the Green ballot.

For weeks now I’ve been planning to write a column on the eve of Super Tuesday extolling the virtues of membership in a “third party.” I joined the Green Party when Bill Clinton was president. It seemed to me then—as now—that the Democrats had become too beholden to corporate interests, too much like the Republicans in their willingness to sell their corporate soul for the sake of a positive cash flow. Too often, choosing between Democrats and the Republicans is like choosing between Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee. Between the two coffee chains there are some very real differences in substance and style, but in the end they’re both nameless, faceless corporate behemoths, and I prefer to patronize locally owned coffee shops. In coffee as in politics, I like real choice. Two political parties, like two major coffee chains, is not much of a choice. I want to live in an America and to participate in a political system with more options.

But in the last few weeks Barack Obama has changed my mind. I won’t be leaving the Green Party, but I do wish that for one day I was still a Democrat so that I could vote for Barak Obama in California’s primary. There are two reasons for this.

First, if two parties are bad for America, two families are worse. I remember the last time there was an election in which neither a Clinton nor a Bush was on the ticket for either President or for Vice-President. I, who will be forty when the next President takes the oath of office, was in the third grade.

Like several of the Framers of the US Constitution, I am a Calvinist. As such, I share a distrust of and a dislike for the idea of royalty. Ours is a fiercely egalitarian spiritual tradition, and while I am, in theory, happiest when religion and politics are separated, in practice I am glad that America’s founding documents were Calvinist enough to declare that “All men [and women] are created equal.” It is a doctrine that frowns upon the suggestion that it is OK for two families to exercise control over the executive branch for more than ten percent of our nation’s history.

Secondly, I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States because the America he represents is an America that includes my family. His parents were born on two continents and were of two different races; my children were born on two continents and are of two different races.

On the face of it, having a personal affinity may seem like a trite and selfish reason to support a candidate, but consider this: the America of Barack Obama and the Daniel family is a beautiful place. It is an America in which families come in lots of different colors, in which some families are multi-colored and blended. It is an America of greater equality, where power is shared across geographical, economic, and racial lines. It is an America whose time has come.

So Barack Obama gets the endorsement of this Green preacher from Silicon Valley. It’s not exactly the endorsement of a Kennedy or Winfrey, but since my Green Party vote will do nothing to fight the establishment of a Bush/Clinton oligarchy or to usher in an America that looks like my family, this endorsement is all I have to offer.

Gobama!

7 thoughts on “Gobama! The Lions’ Den Makes an Endorsement

  1. Unfortunately I can’t vote for Obama…last month I voted for the Democratic candidate that most
    projected my philosophy…John Edward! I might as well have been a registered Green for all that will count now.

  2. My vote for Obama in the Florida primary also counted for nothing, but it felt good anyway. Ben, you forgot another reason to vote for Obama: he is an Oxy alum (sort of).

  3. For once in many years people are excited about voting, there were many candidates to look at. I have a friend in her 40’s life long New Hamphirite, former peace corps member who had never voted in a primary. She voted in her first primary this year. She was excited about Edwards. For some they feel by moving the primaries up it has created chaos. This is a democracy. It is not always neat and tidy. At this point things still feel like they are up for grabs. Obama or Clinton. McCain or Romney. Last election year primary I had a choice of Kerry who was the shoe in, Edwards or Kucinich. This year I have Clinton or Obama(is Mike Gravel still in this) and my vote could make a difference.
    I have a friend who supported Bush. He is planning to vote for Obama today. That makes me very happy a candidate that can draw independent voters.
    I will support the democratic candidate whoever she is.

  4. Harry,

    You are one of several people with whom I’ve spoken who now regret their mail-in ballot. Some voted for candidates like Edwards or Thompson, others which they could change their minds.

    Tom,

    I would be really upset if I were a Florida Democrat. It’s almost as if some Cosmic Something doesn’t want Floridian Democrats’ votes to count.

    Marty,

    I agree. This is a hopeful election cycle no matter who wins. While I was voting this morning two young men came in and mentioned that they were voting for the first time. Our church is being used as a poling place and the traffic in and out seems both congested and young. Which is great.

    Tom and Marty, it strikes me that we’re halfway to a Santo Domingo AFS Gringo ’84-’85 online reunion. Someone go get Cindy, Pam and Vinicio to to leave a post!

    Ben

  5. As a new citizen of this country, I am very honored to be able to vote in the next Presidential election. I am especially glad and grateful that I am voting in a country where there is integrity in the voting process. That is not so where I came from. Where I came from, whoever wins gets accused of cheating. No one trusts the process. That’s sad. I don’t know yet for whom I’m going to vote. Regardless, I’m grateful that my vote will count no matter what. Thank God for that.

  6. Ben-
    I was excited to see that you had borrowed my favorite chant of late on your blog,…. and happy to hear the endorsement.

    You know, this is the first time in my life that my mother, my father, and I all agreed on a candidate. It is amazing to me to see how broadly a message of hope and of change can travel, reaching beyond age, gender, and race to unite rather than divide people. I know the criticisms of Obama, but I also know that I want something different; that if it is the sort of experience represented by most of the individuals running in this race that has brought us to where we are, then I for one prefer a candidate who lacks that sort of experience.

    Look forward to seeing you in a few weeks.
    Take care.

  7. Sarah,

    While I didn’t know you were using GOOOOOBama for your blog, I did create a link to the Will.i.am video on your blog. Great stuff.

    I have heard Obama’s virtues extolled by an Evangelical preacher, an eighty year old grandma, and a host of old hippies, not to mention your average, earnest liberals like me.

    Jay,

    You are the newest Gringa and the newest face of America. We’re better because you’re with us.

    Ben

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