What a difference a few years makes. In the last election, 2004, I was a political animal. I spent most of every day keeping up on the latest news, and was also an activist. I was the director of the Suffolk leg of a presidential campaign, Dennis Kucinich's. Albeit, Kucinich was on the margins of the primary campaign, way in the shadow of Howard Dean, John Edwards, and the eventual nominee, John Kerry, but I believed strongly in his platform to campaign for him. I registered as a Democrat just to work for his campaign and spread the word. I voted for him in the primary, and also for myself as a delegate.
Fast forward four years later. I've long since burned out as an activist. I really miss it sometimes, but I found out something important. Just because there are people who believe in the same things that you do, that being progressive ideals and causes that you generally consider to be just and righteous, it doesn't make them good people. That was true both for the campaign I worked for and later on, when I was directing a more general organization.
I wasn't planning to vote in this year's general election. I feel that it's the same old story, that of the two major candidates being Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, along with a variety of third-party candidates who, while having a really good platform and message, don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of having even a minor impact in the election. I used to vote third-party as more of a protest vote, but I figure that just staying home and not voting at all is as strong a protest vote as any.
But over the past few days, I've been doing some thinking, and now, I'm pretty certain that I will vote in the general election, and for Obama. It's not because I like him as a candidate. I find him to be the lesser of two evils compared to McCain, and he's already wavering on things that he's previously said. However, I also realize that he is the first black candidate who has a realistic chance to win the presidency, and if he does win, it will be a very significant moment in this nation's history. And I want to be a part of that.
Also, it's nice to have a candidate who people are genuinely excited about. I don't really see what there is to be excited about, other than him being black as I just mentioned, but for whatever reason, it's a rare sight and it is nice to see it. In 2004, no one wanted John Kerry. No one could get excited about John Kerry. No one could tell you why he would be a good president, only that he wasn't the other guy. 4 years before that, no one cared whether Bush or Gore won.
I think that this election will be a landslide for Obama. Not like the Reagan landslide of '84, but still a very impressive showing. He's running against an old candidate who's running on an issue that no one cares about in this age of foreclosures and a sagging economy, and states (primarily southern ones) that have long been GOP strongholds can come into play due to record turnout of black voters. I feel that if McCain wins, there should be no more naysayers on the issue of electoral fraud, since that's the only way I see him winning at this moment.