The surprise of this presidential election came not in October but in September, when the race ceased to be about the brick-and-mortar issues facing the country. Thus, while we are casting our vote for Sen. Barack Obama in part because we approve of his plan for withdrawal from Iraq, his thoughtful attention to the challenges facing students and his stances on gay marriage and womens rights, our support for Obama is larger than the issues at stake. It is a symbolic push for a better America.
Earlier this month, McCain himself spoke of how far America has come in the last century. There was a time when the mere invitation of an African-American citizen to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage and an insult in many corridors, he said. Its difficult for our generation to conceive of such a time. The fact that some Americans may not consider voting for Obama because of his race seems like a ridiculous notion.
Were not saying the candidates races factor into our decision. Were saying that Obama, more so than McCain, represents the continuing evolution of America. His is a story unlike any other presidential candidates in history and breaks from the dynastic, or at least overly connected, rises of presidents past.
Obamas timing couldnt be better. The country, in its state of crippled flux, is hungering for a renewal a wash of fresh ideas, attitudes and aptitudes. Obama has risen through the ranks of the political sphere because he is composed of raw merit and intelligence. In Illinois he has proven to be a strong, calm, effective leader, and throughout this dramatic, seemingly eternal campaign, he has exhibited the same even keel and steady demeanor. He is unflappable. He remains grounded in the face of disaster and crisis; he approaches problems with formidable analysis rather than impetuous reactionism.
Obama has given us no reason to doubt his ability to lead this country from the befuddled darkness in which it currently tries to function. If these last 18 months speak to anything, its that Barack Obama is not just a sign of change we can believe in. He is change we can count on.