Paul here…. One of the intriguing benefits of being an ex-pat is that you have to figure out how to register as an absentee voter. I’ve never voted absentee before because I like the ritual of going to the polls. After figuring out which form to fill out and where to mail it, a couple of months ago we sent in our registration. Our ballots came in the mail two weeks ago, filled with the typical crazy voters’ initiatives and arcane County Charter amendments. Despite persistent rumors that no one counts absentee ballots unless the election is close, we’re excited to participate in this historic election.

Last week, in Atlanta on a trip for work, I mailed in our ballots.


Living in Europe for a while now, it is jarring to see how far America has fallen in the world’s esteem. It is sad to see the old guard better deliver upon the premise of the American project than America, that old refrain so memorably articulated by the last great president from Illinois, now smeared as “socialism” by Fox News: government of the people, by the people, for the people. So, it was exciting to see two hundred thousand non-Americans cheering America and waving our flag instead of burning it, rooting for us to once again become respectful citizens of the world rather than continuing to be dangerous scofflaws.

Tonight, while feeding my obsession with the state of the election, mixed in with some crazy You Tube surfing, I ran across this will.i.am video which lead me to this speech and then this one that I had heard before, which reminded me why I am (we are) voting for Barack Obama.

Unlike McCain who has made this election about personal bitterness, or Palin who preaches fundamentalist fascism, or the coldly calculating Clinton, this is a man who speaks with an inspiring clarity of moral vision unlike any other national leader since Martin Luther King. This is a man who understands what America is about. Or rather, what America is supposed to be about.

Listen to Obama’s words

We’re up against the belief that it’s all right for lobbyists to dominate our government….

We’re up against decades of bitter partisanship that cause politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming together….

We’re up against the idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election….

We’re also up against forces that are not the fault of any one campaign, but feed the habits that prevent us from being who we want to be as a nation. It’s the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon, a politics that tells us that we have to think, act and even vote within the confines of the categories that supposedly define us….

We are here tonight to say that that is not the America we believe in.

So understand this … The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old. And it is not about black versus white.

This election is about the past versus the future.

It’s about whether we settle for the same divisions and distractions and drama that passes for politics today or whether we reach for a politics of common sense and innovation, a politics of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.

So, if you are voting Obama this year, thank you for voting in the hope that America can be a better country–that we can together be a better people–than we have become through years of willful neglect and self-centeredness.

And if you’re not, well, we hope that you’ll participate in this future anyway.


4 Responses to Hope-mongers

  1. jen lemen says:

    paul, i couldn’t say it better myself.
    i think this is definitely one of those elections where you want to be on the side of making history, if only to be able to tell your grandchildren that you were there when. (especially if you’ll also have to explain why you voted for bush! 🙂

    we’re excited about an obama presidency.

  2. Lindell says:

    He is Joshua leading us into King’s promised land. It is time for us to claim God’s gift of a new society. Not retreat back into the comfortable wilderness of cynicism and enlightened self-interest.

  3. Jim says:

    I am voting for Obama as well Paul. I’m sure that some will question your faith due to the fact that they have become accustomed to Christianity and Republicanism = the same thing. O they’ll deny it because who could admit it and still be faithful to scripture. But being faithful to scripture has really never been that high of a priority for evangelicals anyway – I mean we (yes I am one myself) have made it possible to completely ignore The Beatiitudes by spiritualizing them away. As all of us insiders have come to know now due to our brilliant scholarship – Jesus didnt really mean that we should be peacemakers as in bring peace to the actual world we are living in. No, he meant something like bring inner peace (the one “we” all share in and) if they dont want it – then baptize your government as “Christian” appeal to Romans 13 and kill whoever doesnt want your inner peace.

    You have obviously become caught up in the spirit of compromise due to your proximity to socialst 10 nation common market Europe (whose euro is strangely gaining in value against our In God We Trust currency).

    All you can do at this point is hope that Luther was wrong and Purgatory does in fact exist ( it does if you read Maccabees but what do Catholics know) because having spent time in godless Denmark and now voting for a black man to be president of the US -Purgatory might be your best bet.

    Your partner in people against fundamentalism – Jim

  4. Susan Young says:

    Paul-y! Nice to hear you sent in your ballots. Of course, WA state doesn’t usually count for much, right?!

    I didn’t know you were an election news junky. It’s a bit thick here. I’m so glad it’s next week! Much love, Susan

    P.S. be sure to give Rachelle lots of birthday hugs for us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: