I don't know about where you all live, but where I live here in Juneau, Alaska there is a huge excitement about this election. In the past few days I don't remember anyone talking about anything but the election. On one hand I'm a bit tired of the campaign and ready for it to be over, but for the most part I'm really excited that by the end of the day on Tuesday we will likely know who our next president is going to be.
The good news is that it's not going to be George W. Bush.
The polls of course all look very good for Obama and for large Democratic gains in the House and Senate. In fact of the 159 polls taken in the last 6 weeks John McCain has led in exactly zero of them. The actual vote is the only poll that matters though so get out and vote. If you're an Obama supporter don't take anything for granted. If you're a McCain supporter it doesn't look good, but it's only going to be worse if you don't vote.
Me? I voted early for Obama and this is by far the most excited I've ever been about a presidential candidate. I think Obama has a chance to be a very effective president, but more than that I think an Obama presidency has a chance to almost over night make us a stronger nation than we have been in a long time. In my mind the strength of our nation has very little to do with our economy or our military. Certainly it is important for us to have a strong economy and, for the time being, a strong military, but in many ways these are self-perpetuating "needs". The stronger our economy and our military become the more their strength is needed. At some point one needs to come to the realization that building up more financial wealth and a stronger military only leads to more enemies throughout the world and thus more need for money and power to protect ourselves from these enemies.
The real strength of our nation lies in the tolerance, optimism, equality, freedom, and opportunity to thrive that we have always liked to pretend every American is born with. An Obama victory would be a message to our country, and perhaps more importantly, to the world that we really do have an interest in these ideals which have been pushed to the back burner for a huge portion of our nation's history (and likely never more so than the past 8 years). For a more clear, more well written version of what I'm trying to say I highly recommend checking out this column.
Of course there is more (a lot more) to being president than simply inspiring hope in people, but when you see that the candidate who happens to be inspiring (arguably) more hope in people at home and abroad than any candidate we've had in over 40 years is also the candidate who actually talks about his specific plans rather than only talking almost entirely about the faults of his opponents plans. I don't agree with everything that Obama wants to do, but at least he's willing to talk with people about what he wants to do. I think maybe if John McCain had made his campaign a little more about himself and what he can do to help the people of this country and a LOT less about Barack Obama and why we should be afraid of him, he might not find himself in a position of needing a miracle today.
This bullshit about "real America" and "who is the real Barack Obama" and questions about Obama being a terrorist that McCain (and even more often Sarah Palin) have been peddling for several weeks now is completely ridiculous and should have on some level offended anyone who takes the time to think about the implications of comments like these. I don't necessarily think that McCain or Palin believe most of these things themselves, but I do think that they have tried to excite their supporters by making comments that have fueled the underlying bigotry and racism that many of their supporters have. I stop short of labelling either of them racist, but how much of a difference is there between being racist and using the racist tendencies of others to better your cause? Thankfully in this case it appears to have hurt their cause. If this election plays out the way that almost all polls and pundits are predicting I would suspect that those of us that McCain and Palin have essentially labelled as "fake America" might suddenly feel a lot more real to them.