Indiana sits in an unusual position for this historic election. Its votes are being courted by both parties, and both parties have a viable chance of carrying the state, thus winning Indiana's 11 electoral votes.
While I did not start out as a supporter of Barack Obama, (I held out hope for Al Gore entering the race for an inordinate period of time, even after I had begun to support Obama), I feel his election and the change it promises for this nation is critical. On one level, Obama's election offers some absolution for our nation's Original Sin, slavery. As Lincoln said in his Second Innaugural Address, that we were engaged in the Civil War to unwind the divine plan which might dictate that the war "continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword".
De facto slavery has vanished from the land thanks to the sacrifices of our forefathers. Today the slave master is replaced by corporate hucksters who sell the American Dream, but deliver instead a lifetime of involuntary servitude to debt dealers, health insurance peddlars, fearmongering agents of the Military Industrial Complex Eisenhower warned against, and an unhealthy alliance of commercial interests that add up to serial rapists of the environment.
Despite the plague these parties represent to our nation, as a white American I can take smug comfort in the fact that I am better off financially than the vast majority of black Americans; these citizens made a huge mistake: being born black. The disparities between the two dominant races of our land are striking. Whites, live longer, earn more, have more education, accumulate more wealth, have better access to health coverage and suffer less per capita illness, than Blacks.
Enter, Barack Obama. This man represents the true embodiment of the American Dream. He has played the hand he was dealt and turned it into an example for us all. Regardless of how the election turns out, he has placed racism further out on the fringe of our society. My attention to race is likely a reflection my age. I barely remember legal segregation but I see the continued shadow of inequality today in the disparities mentioned above and as I drive through "black" sections of Louisville and witness who rides the bus and who owns and drives the cars. Those younger than I, came into awareness during a time when race was less an overt factor. Perhaps for them, my observations tend toward fogeyism. But the state of the economy now has knocked us all down, or likely will, a peg. Those farther down the economic ladder are disproportionately affected by the downturn.
Obama's policies offer a brighter day by focusing on a retooling of the economy with an emphasis on green industries. The steps toward a green economy are ones that will, as a matter of course, lead to local jobs spread across the land. A reasonable prescription for economic revival would be a Keynesian infusion of government ivestment into our long-neglected infrastructure. As a nation, are we more likely to find sustainable prosperity in laying track for new railroads to connect cities or tax-cut trickles? Obama is more likely to opt for sustainability. McCain is more likely to funnel money into the building of a fortress and call it economic stimulus.
These are perilous economic times, and God knows I don't have the answers to our problems. Barack Obama has offered some suggestions of how we might get out of this mess. As he has offered solutions, McCain and his on-deck have slung mud. Obama wants a moritorium on forclosures. McCain wants to conjure the cloak of otherness and place it on Obama. Obama offers a break from the policies of Bushism. McCain is simply the third act of the same ridiculous play we've been watching for what seems like the past century or two. Obama has vision and offers a plausible chance of implementing that vision. McCain, deep in his soul, may have the capacity to dream a vision, but his soul was sold back in 2000 in some heinous pact with Bush which resulted in Karl Rove, author of the 2000 attacks against McCain in South Carolina, now joining the McCain campaign to question Obama's legitimacy.
Obama offers hope: Hope for a move into a more colorblind tomorrow, Hope for a return to a world stage where the U.S. can be a force for good rather than simply a force for force, Hope for universal medical coverage that equals the rest of the developed world in its inclusiveness and affordability, Hope for a rebirth of American ingenuity built on the priciples of sustainability, Hope for a foreign policy based on truth not lies, Hope for an economy that recognizes capitalism flows from democracy rather than democracy flowing from capitalism, Hope for government of the people, by the people and for the people, rather than government of the corporation, by the corporation and for the corporation, Hope for a restored balance on the Supreme Court, Hope for a return of constitutional principles abrogated by the Bush regime. Obama offers hope of a brighter tomorrow free of the shadow of fear which is really the only thing Bush has ever brought us.
If you can see the hope Obama offers, don't think you need to wait until Election Day, November 4, between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM to cast your vote. The best laid plans etc. etc...
You can go to the Floyd County Clerk's office on the second floor of the City/County Building Monday through Friday 8 AM- 4 PM, two Saturdays will also offer early voting, October 25 and November 1, Saturday hours are from 9 AM -3 PM.
This election is too important to pass up. No one has an excuse to miss voting. If you miss it, you're just hopeless.